If ever you are walking through Hampstead High Street, do make a detour to the Hampstead Antiques Emporium in Perrins Court, 12 Heath Street. In a little stall, at one end, is the very talented Karen Whiteley who has created a beautiful, tightly edited collection of wonderful vintage collectables for the kitchen, dining room, drawing room and scullery. She has called her business Maud and Mabel, reflecting its British quirkiness and retro, country house feel.
Karen has a very disciplined eye – colours are contained within a restrained palette of muted earth, eau de nil, white, cream, ivory, pale grey, lichen green and stone. She sells utilitarian things like soap, string, scissors, glass cake stands, jugs, bowls, cups, hooks and towels – yet they are all of such beauty that you will want to position them on an open shelf, to gaze upon and admire as if they were important, expensive pieces.
The way in which she places her finds is particularly compelling – I wish I had her eye for detail, composure and control. Tactility is very important to Karen: she urges her customers to feel the grain and textures of her artisanal objects before buying and she talks enthusiastically about the provenance and personal history behind all her wares. It is as if she cannot bear to part with her finds.
There are prints and tea-towels by Charlotte Farmer, ceramics by Akiko Hirai, Maria de Haan and Linda Bloomfield as well as vintage pieces from markets and private sellers. Ecletic and exquisite, this tiny shop will hold you enthralled like a child.
Follow on Twitter: @maudandmabel