It’s no secret that I love modern, Scandi-chic decor. My various interiors round-up posts can attest to that. But, if you can believe it, this development in my tastes is actually relatively recent, borne out of seeking adulthood simplicity. In fact, for many, many years — and with multiple degrees in Medieval English Literature as further proof — I was most drawn to antiques. Yearning to be an antiques collector in my youth, I dreamt of filling my home with ancient artefacts, ornate objects and curious collectables. A home that would look somewhere between Indiana Jones and Antiques Roadshow, I can only imagine.
Even now, I could spend hours poking around antiques shops, imagining the long, adventure-filled stories behind each object.
Which is why I was incredulous to discover I had been walking by Westland London‘s treasure-trove of antiques for years and never stepped foot inside. That is, until about a week ago, when I finally ventured behind the wooden gates to see what surprises lay in store.
Now, I don’t say this very often. But I am saying it now. And I mean it. If you are remotely interested in browsing antiques and you are ever in London — both local and visitor alike — you have to visit Westland London. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a place like it. Calling it an ‘antiques shop’ is a bit like calling Disneyworld is an ‘amusement park.’ Technically true, but a little bit of an understatement.
When you first come through the gates, your eyes feast upon the array of outdoor statues, fountains and furniture on offer, like a Granny’s attic, each piece begging to be discovered. With nothing but the sound of trickling fountains, it’s rather magical. I imagine this is what Mary felt like when stumbling across The Secret Garden, except with more lion statues.
Because there are so many things for your eyes to focus on, you don’t even notice there is a ginormous (real word) ex-gothic church behind you that’s actually the star of the show. When you walk up the stairs into Westland London, you feel eerily like you’re entering the west wing and you mustn’t go there or something (thanks, Beauty & The Beast). As if you shouldn’t be roaming the halls, but you’re going to do it anyway.
And halls, there are. Room after room, nook after nook, I inevitably got a bit lost. Luckily, one of the managers came out and gave me the grand tour — and I still got a bit lost. He also explained some interesting facts to me, like whom they typically sell to (HNWIs rather than developers, although they do both). There were other things, too, but I found it really hard to take in — as my eyes, soaking up everything, took the focus.
For some silly reason, I was shocked when he told me there was also an UPSTAIRS, too. “But how can there be more?” I think I may have said, delirious (did I mention I was lost?).
It is on the upstairs floor where you can really get a sense of the magnificence of the space: stained glass windows, towering ceilings, rafters where I could picture Quasimodo dwelling, dreaming. Again, the word ‘magical’ comes to mind. I guess it’s because old churches and antiques are what give me those feelings of awe.
As you guys know, I am forever dreaming of my ‘Future Home.’ So while browsing, I mostly focused on the huge array of antique fireplaces they had on display. From weighty marble to grand, towering wood, Westland London is home to every type of historic or antique fireplace you could ever want. I spent a good hour roaming the (huge!) space, trying to count the fireplaces I saw (I lost count).
And I will caveat to say: grandiose fireplaces do indeed come with a grandiose pricetag to match. One of which (the Salamander — my fave!) is an eyewatering £24K. Yep, that’s a ‘K’ after the 24. More catered to the royalties among us, needless to say. However, it’s still fun to play the “If I owned a mansion…” game I used to play as a child. Except, this time, I imagine more “What would my antique fireplace look like?” rather than “how many golden toilets would my mansion have?” (true story of 10-year-old Eire).
Because it is Friday — and you know I love me some Friday Finds — I’ve done a roundup of some of my favourite antique fireplaces from Westland London. Now that October is here, I am so ready for my six-month hygge hibernation: blankets, cosy socks, spiced chai, snuggles with Stag, and now, an impressive fireplace to hang out stockings. A woman can dream.
Friday Finds: Antique Fireplaces from Westland London
Because it’s October, and what makes October even better? A VICTORIAN FIREPLACE SURROUND, THAT’S WHAT.
You can find Westland London in Shoreditch.
St Michael’s Church
London EC2A 4QX
Have you ever been to Westland London? Do you love browsing for antiques as much as I do? What’s your favourite fireplace from my picks?
*This post is sponsored content. However, all opinions — including how awesome I think this place is — are completely my own.