New In Leather Bags

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The team at Scaramanga have been working extremely hard to create new bags for everyone to enjoy, and we think it is about time to introduce you to them. Whether you are looking... READ MORE

Autumn Look Book with Concrete Catwalk

| |

We had the pleasure of working with the team at Concrete Catwalk last week to create an Autumn look book. We decided to leave our favourite Autumn bags in the hands of the... READ MORE

New In Leather Bags

New In Leather bags

The team at Scaramanga have been working extremely hard to create new bags for everyone to enjoy, and we think it is about time to introduce you to them. Whether you are looking for a leather bag for work or your next adventure, we have a wide range of new leather bags that we know you will love!

Leather vintage flight bag

Starting with the antique leather flight bag, we wanted to create a bag that had a perfect blend of vintage style and modern practicality. This leather bag has all of the fantastic qualities of our previous flight bag designs with an added-extra antique twist. The multi-coloured leather is combined with antique brass hardware, combining all of the bold colours beautifully.

The leather travel bag displays a large zipped compartment at the front of the bag, allowing you to store your much-loved essentials in a memorable place. We have added to attractive pockets underneath this zip, giving you all of the extra storage you need.

leather drawstring backpack

The drawstring backpack is a new design for Scaramanga. We wanted to take a traditional drawstring backpack design, and take it to the next level.

We used a new soft leather with a slight shine to it, creating a sleek and fresh style. The leather bag is unique to our other bags which tend to be distressed. The delicious milk chocolate colour makes this bag a must-have all year round.

The small internal compartment takes the traditional drawstring backpack to the next level. This allows you to keep your smartphone and keys in a place that is easy to access. Whether you are on a daytime adventure or an exciting travelling trip, this bag will add fun and practicality to your experience.

wide leather briefcase

Our new travel briefcase has a classic and functional style that will allow you to travel to work with style and ease. It can be frustrating when you are juggling all of your work equipment while rushing to work, this bag allows you to keep everything in one place.

This leather bag has multi-purposes, allowing you to also use it as a spacious overnight bag or for a last-minute adventure.

We have added internal compartments to this leather briefcase, allowing you to organise your essentials in a stress-free way. The wide briefcase contains a large zipped compartment inside. You can place your important documents in this compartment, reducing the risk of losing important files.

Leather Fold Over bag

A contemporary take on a traditional tote is what makes our new fold over bag pretty incredible. This leather bag introduces our new California tan leather which ages fantastically and represents vintage Scaramanga beautifully. The rich chestnut colour makes a strong statement of elegance.

The practicality and timeless elements of this leather bag represents the highly desired qualities of a tote bag with a modern addition of the fold over top, creating a truly unique leather bag that every woman deserves to add to their collection.

new leather saddle bag

The new saddle bag is a cross body bag that defines effortless style. This is a simpler and more classic version of our original saddle bag. We also made this leather bag larger than the original to allow you to fit more of your belongings, making this bag perfect for everyday use.

This leather bag features our original hunter leather, pairing raw texture with iconic style. This practical handbag can be carried cross-body or on your shoulder with its adjustable vintage strap.

leather cross-body bag

Team Scaramanga are very excited about our brand new dual zip cross-body bag. Similar to the new saddle bag, our distinctive hunter leather meets our new practical design. The two zipped compartments will keep your daily belongings perfectly organised so you know where everything is.

Casual and classic, this women’s leather bag is just what you’ve been looking for.

 

From the modern update with our antique flight bag to the distinctive and practical cross-body design, we have designed these fabulous bags with everyone in mind. We hope that you love these new additions as much as we do!

Indian Planes, Trains and Automobiles: A Tour Of Rajasthan and Gujarat

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

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I spends a fair amount of time visiting India and thought he would share my experiences of a 16-day family trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat, with his wife, Emma and their two children Josh, 9 and Ella 7 it was the children’s first visit. We visited several ancient cities and did four different safari trips. We travelled by train, plane, car and camel. Booking hotels, tours and trips was pretty straight forward and can be done online. There’s a huge amount to keep kids busy. Read about how we explored ancient desert forts, majastic lake palaces, saw wild lions in the and tracked tigers in the jungle then chilled on the island beaches of Diu. Josh and Ella reveal their favourites for each stop along the way. It was a great opportunity for us to meet the families of the people who work with us.

Arrived in Delhi two days before Christmas day, in the early hours and caught up on a few hours sleep in the Aero city, the hotel area just a few minutes from the airport. In the early afternoon we took a short flight to Jodhpur.

bst Jodhpur is best seen on foot. Ththis is the old paort of the city east of the fort.

Jodhpur – The Blue City

We landed in Jodhpur an old walled city, also known as the blue city, just on the edge of the Great Thar Desert. It’s famed for its beautiful old blue houses and the towering Meghreb fort, we only had a day in the city, we we would return in 3 days to stay longer (we wanted to get to Jaisalmer for Christmas day, but didn’t want to attempt the journey there in a day after 13 hours on a flight), so we headed for the fort where we spent half a day roaming the enormous palace and its elaborately decorated rooms viewing: mirrored reception rooms fearsome armour and weapons, courtyards and ramparts

giant ron cooking pots at the fort in Jodhpur
These have got tobe  some of the largest cooking pots in the world.

Top Tip: Don’t do what 99% of the visitors to the fort do and head back to the city the way you arrived. Instead stroll down behind the fort through the wonderful walled gardens to the bluest part of the old city several roads wind round to Sadar Market: exiting Fateh Pol follow Fateh Pol Rd, Ada Bazaar Rd, walk along Catla Chowk, Clock Tower Rd to the Clock Tower around which Sadar Market is laid out. The walk takes around 90-minutes and is pretty much downhill. Don’t rush it. Take in all the sights, sounds and smells as you pass through spice merchants, fruit and flower sellers, jewellery makers, cobblers and hardware peddlars. Stop for a bottle of ‘Fruit Beer’ as one of the many small shops, we weren’t too sure what it was. The glass bottles clear state: ‘No fruit content. No alcohol.’ But it tasted good.

 

Very exciting riding around Jodhpur in an auto rickshaw
Very exciting riding around Jodhpur in an auto rickshaw

A little hidden gem is Shri Mishrilal Hotel an unassuming small sweet shop, selling its famed Makhaniya lassi, delicious curd mixed with cardamom and saffron, topped with thick cream. It’s tucked away in the corner of one of the gates south of the clock tower. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Clocktower.

We stayed at Devi Bhawan a small family run hotel on the outskirts of the city. the room are set around a beautiful garden – we paid £43/night for a huge room with three beds and a shaded terrace. The staff are exceptionally dedicated and friendly.

Pool at Devi Bhawan
Pool at Devi Bhawan

Josh and Ella’s favourite: riding in an auto-rickshaw, choosing the most menacing battle weapons in the palace’s armoury and swimming in the hotel’s pool.

 

Jaisalmer – Desert Adventure

Onto Jaisalmer another walled city famed for its hill-top sandstone fort. A taxi, from Jodhpur, will do the journey in 4.5 hours for around £45. But there are local buses that will take 5 hrs or the train rumbles into the city in 6 hours early at 6am and in the mid-afternoon. We stayed in the fort at Paradise Hotel for £30 a night, I have been staying here since my first trip to India in 1998. It’s run by Mr Chandra (aka Captain) whose camel once won ‘most beautiful camel’ in the annual Desert Festival. The rooms are beautifully painted in the local style. The best thing to do is to try to get yourself lost in the maze of narrow streets and alley ways at the top of the fort. You really won’t be lost for long as it’s quite small.

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When you think you’ve seen the views of the surrounding city from the ramparts stroll down to the lake and take a boat trip to see the lakeside temples. Josh and Ella’s highlight was feeding the catfish. We met Laxmi who makes our sari and cotton bags and visited the museum he curates. The Thar Desert Museum shows local traditional life and folklore around Jaisalmer through displays, photos and stories. It’s a small, but Laxmi has a real passion for the heritage for the people of the Thar desert. Scaramanga sources textiles, cotton and sari bags from Jaisalmer. Laxmi distributes cotton and sari to women in small communities around the city and they work from home to make the dust bags for our leather bags. There is a very good puppet show at the cultural centre just off the road between the fort and lake close to the lake every evening at 7pm

view from our room, whch was part of the fort wall
view from our room, whch was part of the fort wall

We spent our second day, Christmas Day, in Jaisalmer and it was excitingly different to spend it in the desert. Laxmi helped us organise an afternoon riding camels a short distance from the fort, ‘camel safaris’ or trips can be as long or as short as you want. Hotels can help organise them as can the many travel agents in town. We had Christmas day at Trio a fabulous open aired roof-top restaurant overlooking a havali and the fort.

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We had tea with the camel driver’s family in their traditional house. Then spent a couple of hours on camels roaming the sand dunes.

Josh and Ella’s favourite part: riding camels in the desert and jamming with the traditional band at Trio restaurant.

 

Jodhpur – the return

Bishnoi desert safari to see traditional rrural life and wildlife

We returned to Jodhpur Emma, Ella and Josh spent the day on a village safari visiting the Bishnoi, a traditional rural community just outside the city. They saw weaving, pottery and an opium drinking ceremony as well as deer and lots of birds. While Carl visited our regular suppliers to buy furniture and interiors. We booked the trip through Jaggi owner of Govind hotel ( http://www.govindhotel.com/ ). Josh and Ella joined in the vintage furniture buying after their trip.

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Udaipur – Lake Palaces and Melas

We moved onto Udaipur arguably one of the most romantic settings in India, the ancient white city is set around a series of shimmering lakes. City palace is a complex of 11 palaces, terraced gardens and temples perched high on a hill and needs a half a day to explore.

Chilling with a shadhu on the steps of Jagdish temple Udaipur, Rajasthan
Chilling with a shadhu on the steps of Jagdish temple Udaipur, Rajasthan

The Jagdish temple which is reached by a steep, elephant-flanked flight of steps, just 200m from the entrance to City palace and at the junction of several roads in the old city. Hitesh has been making our journals for 11 years and his store and workshop is just 20 second stroll from Jagdish Chowk. Everything can be done on foot. Like all bustling ancient cities, the best things to explore and see where you end up. My favourite area are the streets north of Gadiya Deeva Marg. Along the small winding streets are numerous jewellery makers workshops. If you have time stop and watch the jewellers making intricate pieces from gold, silver and precious stones. There’s a popular evening traditional dance show at the Bagore Ki haveli.

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Hitesh has been making  our handmade leather journals since we started in 2006. Josh and Ella we very excited at being able to take son, Chiki, to Shilpgram a model village with 20+ replica houses from across Rajasthan and Gujarat, where a mela (festival) was in full swing with hundreds and hundreds of performers from all over India. The highlight was watching the traditional dancers from Rajasthan.

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We stayed at the Jaiwana Haveli £50/night for a very large 3rd floor room with a huge terrace overlooking the lake (which the children were not allowed onto as it had a scarily low wall on both sides.   I have been staying here for 11 years and visit at least once a year. Owners Yash and Yogi are very welcoming hosts. Definitely one of the best lake views in the city, the rooms are immaculate and the service probably the best I’ve experienced in India.

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View of the City Palace from Jagmandir Island

 

Boats then continue onto Jagmandir Island, part of the royal palaces with imposing stone elephants, 17th-century towers and beautiful ornate gardens where you can stay for as long as you like before taking a boat back to the City Palace. The views of the city from the island at sunset are amazing. We left just before sunset, which depart just before sunset.

Josh and Ella’s highlights: The mela at Shilpgram and watching the classic bond film Octopussy, which was filmed in the city (many hotels and restaurants show it everynight).

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Sasan Gir – Lion Safari

We left Udaipur, early and headed to Sasan Gir, in Gujarat the home of Asia’s last remaining wild lions. It was a long road trip across the state border and across to western Gujarat. Being so far west and away from the main tourist centres means it does not get many western tourists and so people are surprised to hear there are still wild lions in India. The bumpy roads, dust and getting lost in several cities on the way were worth it when we entered the cool dense forests and jungle surrounding the national park.

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We woke just before dawn on New Year’s Day to start our safari with our driver and guide Manish. Although the lion population is growing their habitat is huge and safaris are strictly controlled to minimise their impact on the environment. Luckily, we were very lucky to see three lions drinking water from a pool mid-morning. The lions are in a very natural habitat that includes local villages with traditional buffalo and cow herders. Were told that lions have never killed any humans! Definitely at the top of our list of hidden India.

Three Asatic lions at Sasan Gir National Park

We stayed at United Vanvasco, for around £42 a night, in a jungle style cabin. It’s on the banks of the Hiran river just 10 minutes from the main town. We enjoyed a fabulous Indian New Year’s eve buffet.

Josh and Ella’s favourite: seeing the lions

Diu – Island getaway and deserted beaches

We left the lush jungle for 3 days of chilling on the sandy beaches of Diu just 2 hours from the lions. We were booked into Magico Do Mer ( http://www.magicodomar.com/ ) just yards from the beach. Just 10 traditional Gujarati style cottages nestle amongst the coconut palms and tropical trees. Diu, a tiny former Portuguese island colony, until 1971 is a real hidden gem due it its location on the east coast of Gujarat it tends to get missed as tourists travel between Mumbai and Rajasthan. It’s super chilled out. Fantastic deserted beaches, amazing colonial Portuguese architecture, freshly caught seafood and chilled Kingfisher beers. A perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan.

beaches of Diu  - Magico Do Mer

 

Highlights of Diu include: the c16th Portuguese fort, part of which is strangely still a work prison! , wandering the old streets in Diu town amongst the faded pastel coloured colonial Portuguese buildings, fish curries and bottles of Kingfisher beer!

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The beaches are just amazing especially those of Ghoghola beach; which although part of the territory of Diu is on the mainland. Beautiful deserted sandy beaches stretch for miles and miles. The Christmas Mela (fair) was on and we spent every evening on the rides and eating Diu street food.

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Josh and Ella’s favourite: Eating fish and seafood curries and playing on the beaches. Try Apana on the Fort road. I first ate here 18 years ago and have been back several times. They also have rooms: http://www.apanahoteldiu.com/

Ranthambore  – Sleeper train to the tigers

After the beach we took our first sleeper from Mumbai to Sawai Madhopur, back in Rajasthan. A sleeper is a must if you have the time. It’s one of the best ways to really see India. We boarded in the evening, having booked our berths in 3AC class. We I tried you needed an Indian credit card and mobile number to register and book (we asked an Indian friend to book the tickets). We all had curry dinners brought to our carriage as part of the ticket price. Then settled down into our berths. 3AC meant three vertical berths on each side of a small screened section of a compartment. The AC refers to the carriage being heated in winter and cooled in the heat of summer. You also get blankets and bed linen. Tickets cost around £20 each for a 12-hour trip. Fellow Indian travellers are always keen to talk to you. It’s a great opportunity to talk to locals about India.

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Take an intercity sleeper train and watch India slip past from the comfort of your berth and chat to Indians about your experiences in India and their view of life. Book well in advance and ensure you have confirmed ticket. Bookings can be made online.

Sawai is the nearest village to Ranthambore National Park, a large wildlife reserve. It’s a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Its landmarks include the imposing 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, on a hilltop, and the Ganesh Mandir temple.

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We had a trip booked for our 2nd day, so spent the 1st day exploring the hill Fort and the temple. Allow at least 3-4 hours. Both are in the park grounds and we saw lots of deer, crocodiles, monkeys and birds driving in and out. It’s a steep climb, but worth it. We were rewarded with fantastic views and lots of old temples. The next day we were up early and were picked up by our guide and driver in an open top jeep. After registering at the park gates we drove in and followed our designated route. Despite the expertise of our guide we didn’t see a tiger, but did hear a leopard very close by, saw several bears, crocs and deer again and so many birds. Josh and Ella were not too disappointed.

The cloest we got to seeing a tiger!
The cloest we got to seeing a tiger!

We stayed at the excellent Anuraga Palace Hotel (£70/ night), they managed the booking for the safari. We were given a large room for 4 as soon as we arrived at 6am. They serve a mighty breakfast which you’ll need if before of after the morning and mid-day safaris. They also serve an unexpected afternoon tea and biscuits around 4pm. Despite my best efforts it was too hard to book the safari myself. It seems that all the bookings are snapped up by the hotels, travel agents as soon as allocations are released. This meant we paid a hefty premium.

Josh and Ella’s favourite: sleeping on a train and seeing wild bears and crocodiles

Top Tip: if booking a tiger safari trip book through a reputable agent / hotel, check for reviews on Trip Adviser. Opt for an early morning trip as there’s a better chance of seeing tigers. If seeing a tiger is a must then book several trips over several days.

Delhi Delights

We rose early again the next day for our last trip into Delhi by train on the Hazrat Nizamuddin Jan Shatabdi Express, the super-fast intercity train service. Our last few hours were spent shopping in Delhi and seeing some of the sights of New Delhi.

If, like us, you have a very limited amount of shopping time in Delhi then here are three options:

  1. Pahar Ganj – the backpacker’s favourite haunt. Small shops line the main bazaar with dozens of small lanes lead off which are jammed packed with hundreds more even smaller shops. Definitely for the lower budget.
  2. Connaught Place aka CP, an old Victorian era circular parade of shops. These are pretty much all global and Indian branded fashion shops and restaurants. Nike, Apple, Polo Assn (a good store selling polo inspired clothes. CP has been given a new lease of life recently and is very popular with younger Indians, especially on a Sunday. Winter sales are on between December and February and prices are generally 50% lower than the UK.
  3. Khan Market – It’s very upmarket, with homewares stores like: Fab India, Anokhi, Vera Moda, Enfield Motorcycles and fashion stores too. It’s close to Sujan Singh Park, Delhi’s 1st apartment block. It has a fantastic array of restaurants and bars. Not to be confused with Khana Market (a huge market in Old Delhi).

Josh and Ella’s favourites: street food

Sari seller in a traditional Rajasthani market

Top 5 Hidden India

You don’t need to go off the beaten track to find hidden gems in India. Here are Carl’s

  1. Roaming the back-streets of Jodhpur as we walked back from the fort through the lower gates on the east side of the fort onto Danvir Shri Nathoji Marg, Fateh Pol Rd, Ada Bazaar Rd, then onto Clock Tower Rd.
  2. Who knew there were wild lions in India? (and always have been). Sasan Gir is the only place to see Asiatic lions in their natural habitat.
  3. Definitely off the tourist trail is a small former Portuguese colonial island of Diu. It has a quaint town centre and miles and miles of empty sandy beaches. It’s probably what Goa was like 30 years ago. A perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of other parts of India.
  4. Tucked just off the road that winds around the base of the fort in Jaisalmer is the Thar Heritage Museum near Gandhi Chowk, curated by Laxmi Khatri, who owns the Handicraft Emporium very close by. Laxmi is passionate about recording and documenting the groups in and around Jaisalmer and has been doing so for 30 years. Laxmi was one of our first suppliers and 11 years later is still making bags for us. He has a treasure trove of old and new local textiles, rugs and antiques from the surrounding area.
  5. Shri Mishrilal Hotel makers of the probably the best lassi in Rajasthan, if not all India! The lassi shop is tiny and easily missed. They do not seem to serve anything except its famed Makhaniya lassi. An essential rest stop from the desert heat. We visited after walking back from the fort.
  6. Visiting the Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir really was an experience of a lifetime. They cannot be seen anywhere else in Asia. Trips can be easily booked online.

Jodhpur also known as the blue city. Get lost in the winding streets and lanes below the fort

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Autumn Look Book with Concrete Catwalk

Scaramanga concrete catwalk autumn lookbook

We had the pleasure of working with the team at Concrete Catwalk last week to create an Autumn look book. We decided to leave our favourite Autumn bags in the hands of the team at Concrete Catwalk, and we are glad that we did! The Medium Messenger bag, the Large Backpack, the Britt Tote, and our brand new Drawstring Backpack made an appearance in this collaboration, with every bag bringing a unique quality to the autumn ambiance.

leather messenger bag

The Leather messenger bag is a fantastic accessory for Autumn. You can access all of your essentials for work or university, and look on-trend at the same time. This bag is made from our unique distressed buffalo brown leather, giving the bag a lovely distressed style (a distressed look never gets boring). The team at Concrete Catwalk have styled this with neutral colours, allowing the bag to showcase its natural characteristics. You are able to fit up to a 15 inch laptop or Mac Pro, and have space for files and lots more.

leather Tote Bag

The Britt Tote is a must have this Autumn! The rich colours mirror the beautiful tones of Autumn that we all know and love. The strong handles on the bag allows you to feel comfortable when wrapped up for the cold weather. The size of the leather bag makes it practical for carrying your daily essentials when shopping or out with friends. It is also a handy tool for traveling to work or university, allowing you to carry your laptop and documents in an organised and compact way. The Britt tote looked fabulous around the streets of St. Andrews, due to its classic style.

Large Leather Backpack

The Large backpack is perfect for an Autumn adventure! Concrete Catwalk has shown that just because the weather is colder, doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. this bag allows you to pack all of the wooly jumpers you need to enjoy your day. This leather bag was crafted from our distinctive hunter leather, giving that uniquely distressed look that we love at Scaramanga! Each backpack is designed with a large main compartment, which is lined with canvas and has a small internal zipped compartment; allowing you to keep your essentials secure while enjoying the beautiful Autumn scenery.

drawstring backpack The drawstring backpack is a new design for Scaramanga. The rich colour and distinctive qualities makes this leather bag perfect for Autumn. The drawstring allows you to secure all of your Autumn essentials. The straps will make you feel comfortable, allowing you to enjoy a care-free day. We have added small zipped compartments inside to keep your keys in a memorable place. We are excited to launch the drawstring backpack next week, stay tuned!

Leather bags

From the large backpack to our brand new drawstring backpack, you are guaranteed to stand out this Autumn. We would like to thank Concrete Catwalk for working with us this Autumn. Their on-point instincts to style allowed us to show the unique qualities of our bags. This was a fun, care-free day in Autumn, and we are positive our bags will bring this much joy to your day.

Original vintage furniture: it’s all in the detail

posted in: Decor, Inspiration | 0

vintage furniture from Scaramanga There’s no doubting the rise in popularity of vintage furniture and interiors and there doesn’t seem to be a high street homewares or furniture retailer that does not have a vintage style ranges and lookalike furniture. However, going original with old and vintage means furniture was generally handcrafted by experts using quality materials for specific purpose and made to last. Best of all it’s the individual stories, details and histories that antiques, vintage and repurposed pieces bring with them that really set them apart. Scaramanga founder, Carl, shows some of the details that make buying vintage worth the little extra. So whether it was travel storage trunks for carrying clothes on transatlantic journeys, glass storage cabinets used by shopkeepers for displaying their wares or storage chests used by jewellery makers and artisans reusing antique and vintage furniture means they get a new lease of life, but it’s all about the detail that makes vintage and antique furniture unusual and unique.

display cabinet that was used as a temple cabinet for making offerings to Hindu gods

Naturally Faded Painted Furniture
A lot of the vintage furniture we buy is painted furniture. They would have been made from tropical hardwoods like teak and rosewood and after years of use its owner would have painted it to give it a new lease of life and to brighten up a shop’s interior or a livingroom. After several years of hard use the piece would be painted again in a different colour, this would be repeated again. Over many years with repeated use the layers of paint would be rubbed, fade and chip off to reveal previous layers of paint and / or the original natural teakwood. Authentic faded paintwork will be shown to be uneven so there is more fading and distressing in some parts and less in others.
Of course faded painted vintage furniture shows a piece is old and the way a piece reveals its layers will be different for each piece as they are used in different ways and will be unique.

old wooden cabinet

 

This is a vintage temple that would typically be used to make offerings to Hindu deities in homes and workplaces. Different parts have been painted different colours. The was painted yellow and then red. The lower frame’s blue colour has also been painted red. The red has faded to reveal the lower yellow and blue.

This small chest of drawers shows very thick layers of paint. Around the handle where the users fingers would have pushed and pulled the handle the paint has changed colour. We suspect that they were used in a workshop has the front is pretty greasey.

small compact shabby choc chest of drawers

Dents, Dings and Bumps

Vintage travel trunk – This small painted travel trunk shows lots of dents, scratches, chips and marks. It’s condition reflects the nature of travel in India. Suitcases were made of steel to protect them from the rigours of travel in India. dusty, bumpy roads road riddled with potholes, luggage piled on top of buses, temperatures over 45 degrees,

vintage metal suitcase with distressed painted finish

Old post boxes like these are still a common sight in villages and towns across India. We have only ever had a handful of these red wonders. Like our wooden furniture we have left them as found. Each box is unique. They would have been made, p[aintd red and then had the India Post logo and lettering stenciled on. It would have been taken to the local village’s post office. After several years the mastermaster would have painted it himself. Over mny years the layers of paint would give the postbox a unique patina.
The lettering detailing the postal area, collection times and would have been painted on by hand and not stenciled. You can see that all 4 postboxes and unique two look very well used and old, the other two are less distressed. It’s pieces like these that make our collection of vintage furniture really special.

vintage post box from India

Expert Master Craftsmanship
It’s not all about paintwork and distressing. Today most furniture is mass produced using machinery and very little handcrafting skills. It’s easy to forget that 100 years ago that old wooden chests like these would have been made by master carpernters and cabinetmakers. Dovetail joinery to make a box creates super strong joints. They’re considered the best joints and require a very skilled carpenter to cut them by hand.

antique wooden storage chest
Using thick planks of teak (a very durable, pest and water restistant tropical hardwood) for chest and box making combined with dovetailed joints gives and chest that would last for many generations.
Thankfully we still use skilled craftsmen restore our vintage furniture.

dovetail joints used on an antique wooden chest

History and Story Telling
Travel labels and stickers were used by travel agents, shipping companies, porters know where were a travellers luggage was going. They were also used to promote hotels in resorts, towns and cities. They are often removed by people tryng to make an antique suitcase look as original as possible; but removing them is removing part of its history and character. A well worn trunk with scuffed edges and discoloured surfaces looks more authentic with labels showing it travelled around the world. Labels can also form part of it’s history. We have been able to research the routes and ships trunks have taken from labels. So we always recommend keeping them on, no matter how tatty they may look. But also look out for replica travel labels too they’ll look new and perfectly placed.

vintage travel trunks can be used as storage trunks

Patina
The patina that forms on wood is very important in vintage and antique furniture. It’s the change to the surface layer of the wood through age, wear, and polishing. The patina will vary from wood to wood, different pieces made from the same wood and even different parts of a particular piece of furniture. The best patina is that that’s built naturally over time. Like time-worn wood patina add character and originality to furniture. It sets authentic vintage furniture apart from replica vintage furniture. It makes an item more original and unique. Of course it’s possible to create the illusion of patina with waxes, polishes and stains, but nothing ever beats proper patina.
This blue authentic art deco armoire has its original blue patina. It has darkened in places and has a wonderful crackled effect in other places.

large blue armoire wardrobe

This teak storage chest is around 120 years old and has a wonderful deep golden brown colour that has darkened over time and exposure to light.

old wooden chest with a deep brown patina
Time worn wood
This is a jewellery makers workbench – they can still be seen in traditional street markets across India. Over many years the jeweller’s tools have worn away the front of his workbench – not an easily repeated as teak is a notorious dense and durable hardwood. We’ve left the wear as we found it. Many vintage furniture sellers would sand the tool marks down to give the top a smooth and even finish. Many would also paint the top to match the sides. Restoring the old pieces to make them look like new wipes away so much character that has built up over many years. When Carl, buys furniture he looks for pieces that have character and charm. He searches for pieces that have just been discovered and in the dscovered state.

old jewellery makers work bench used as a vintage side table

 

Expert Furniture Restoration

Here’s Mr Ram. He’s been restoring antique furniture for the last 30 years. he comes from a long long line of traditional Indian carpenters. His brothers are carpenters, his father, grandfather, great grandfather, great great gandfather were all carpenters. So it cam as not surprise when he told me his son is also a carpenter!

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The first stage is to wash the piece. This removes the dirt and grime with water alone, but we are careful not to remove the natural aging of surfaces which a detergent could do.
Next we make the piece of furniture structurally sound. Joints and suports are tightened or added. He will always use reclaimed or old wood. Using wood salvaged from old furniture means it already aged and if there were going to be any splitting or movement in the wood it would have already happened. The wood will already have a naturally aged finish.

old storage chests waiting to be restored
This is the condition we bought the collectio of antique chests

We do not repair cracked wood, fill joints or holes. if there is part of a panel that has broken off, then we’ll replace it with an old piece of wood. We’ll then wax it to look the same as the oeiginal. Of course it’s always possible to spot the replaced piece and we don’t try to hide the fact it’s a repair. Much of our vintage teak furniture was made to be used in shops, schools, universities, offices and workshops in hot, cold, wet and dry conditions.
Although they were made to last many many years there will always be some reoair work that would be needed over the long life of a piece of furniture.

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