The Found Object

Charlie Porter

Antique seller and founder of Tat London, Charlie Porter on all things curating and collecting. Charlie shares her top destinations for antique hunting and explains why how you feel about an object is more important than how it will look in a room - if your home is an accumulation of things you love then it will always look wonderful.

Talk us through the process of curating objects for your home?

The curation of my home is pretty much like the curation of Tat. It's what I love and I whack it up. Very little thought goes into things looking good together, but I do think if you love objects enough, over time they will mix in well with each other. 

Are you a ‘casually browse to see what’s out there’ or ‘hunt high and low for the exact thing in my mind’ kind of vintage shopper?

I hunt high and low: I spend my life doing it. I find it pretty relaxing and the joy of finding a piece you love for a good price…there is nothing more exciting. Although twice lately I have been too slow on the uptake and missed really excellent pieces. 

What type of object do you have most of in your home?

Candlesticks & sconces - candlelight makes everything look more beautiful. Including me. 

How would you describe the art of mixing vintage objects and modern pieces for your home?

I love a mix! We have a wonderful rug from Ikea, a coffee table made by one of my great friends (plane and able) next to a really excellent chaise lounge bought from Cart House. All in all, our home is a mixture of hand-me-downs, antiques we've bought and a few old faithful high street acquisitions. 

Museum curators have to make a ‘case for acquisition’ before bringing a new piece into the museum.  What is the weirdest and most wonderful object you’ve made a case for bringing into your home?

My husband is incredibly long-suffering, I am constantly bringing things home, without much asking. I did buy an excellent picture (I think it is excellent) from Decorative Furnishing. It's a Marsden Hartley copy, and measures around 1.5 meters long. He's not a fan but I adore it so it's above the fireplace.

Marie Kondo recommends ‘does it spark joy’ as a mantra for deciding which things deserve a place in your home, do you have your own mantra or rules for curating objects?

No mantra. Sadly I don't prescribe to any rules. Which I think does mean our house looks like a shambles most of the time. I'd love to be more clinical but, sadly, it's not me. 

The word curate derives from the Latin curare, meaning ‘to care for’, which we think is kind of lovely. Is there any piece of homeware or furniture you’ve found over the years that was a real diamond in the rough? How did you bring it back to life? 

We are just about to take ownership of a spectacularly beautiful grandfather clock. Sadly, not brought back to life by us, but by a man called Daniel in Cheshire. It is a regulator and I believe it is from the early 19th Century. Very exciting.

Greatest vintage find: 

I have this amazing chair that I bought from eBay for £100 about five years ago. It’s caned, rounded and with a faux bamboo front. It's pretty extraordinary and very uncomfortable but it will be with me for the rest of my life. 

Most prized possession: 

I actually don't have many prized possessions. With my work, I allow things to come and go fluidly and it is good not to get too attached to things. My father gave me a painting for Christmas last year which belonged to my grandparents and I think it's the most beautiful thing I've seen. Not an easy come or easy go piece. 

Oldest object in your home: 

The above painting is probably the oldest thing; I believe it's the 18th Century. 

Newest object in your home: 

A curtain pole from Anthropologie. It's for a wall hanging that is meant to go in our sitting room. The hardware from Anthropologie is a bit of fun.

Antique hunting in real life or online: 

There’s nothing more fun than doing it in IRL. We've got a few European markets booked in for next year, which will be a delight. But we are pretty lucky that the online world is there to fall back on. 

Best place for vintage homewares in the UK (that you almost don’t want to tell anyone about):  

That is a toughie, but I do have a few goodies which I will share with you: Stowaway LondonAncien, Mkardana, Sauce and Kernow Furniture. 

An object you’re currently on the hunt for: 

Perfect Klein Blue fabric for my new curtains.  

Follow Charlie: @the.charlie.p

Charlie's Objects of Desire: