Vintage & Old School FurnitureA few weeks ago we received a call from a hospice who asked if we were interested in buying some vintage and old school furniture they were getting from a Victorian grammar school that was due to be demolished. Because they were not too sure which were original old school furniture pieces or more modern pieces so we offered to help identify the best pieces. We had only a day to find whatever we wanted and remove it. It's not often we get to salvage vintage school chairs and desks, old cupboards, stools science lab tables directly from their source and we were excited at the chance to hunt for furniture. So Jason and Graeme, who manage our furniture, jumped in our van and arrived early armed with screwdrivers, hammers, torches and power tools to get our latest collection of Vintage & Old School Furniture!
Sourcing Old School FurnitureWe had only a day to find whatever we wanted and remove it. Not quite as easy as it sounds. There were over 50 classrooms, halls, storerooms to check often with no lights over several floors. Unfortunately, over the last few months people had broken in and caused a lot of damage, hundreds of windows had been smashed and classrooms wracked. We roamed through classrooms, hallways, science labs, woodworking workshops, art studios, changing rooms and even staffrooms looking for furniture in good condition or items we could upcycle and make into usable retro-inspired home interiors.
What is Old School Furniture?Imagine Supermarket Sweep meets Antiques Roadshow, a mad dash to find the best old furniture and interiors. We managed to find: science lab tables made from iroko a fantastically hard and durable hardwood; laboratory tubular steel stools, large wooden cupboards from the art studio, Esavian / ESA school tables; old oak cupboards; pigeon holes; oak bookcases; a long art table; wire mesh footlockers with solid teak seats; school hall / theatre Strand spotlights; teak science lab worktop; pitch pine shelving science lab glass equipment, gym hall climbing ropes; changing room coathooks; oak filing cabinets and more. By 5 pm we had run out of energy and time. We had so much that there were three large van loads!
Quality of Old School FurnitureVintage & old school furniture tends to be very well made so you'll be getting a high-quality piece. Many pieces have withstood the rigours and demands of countless years of busy school life. Some iconic furniture designs started life as school furniture. James Leonard at Esavian ESA pioneered new post-war production methods including aluminium die-casting and steam bending wood. It is probably the best-known designer of school furniture and his furniture is in high demand. Many of the pieces we acquired will need to be restored. However, others like the old science lab tables need only a good coat of wax and are already available to buy.
How to Style Vintage & Old School FurnitureVintage & Old School Furniture does not look pretty but tends to be designed to last, with simple functional straight lines. It was made from solid hardwoods like oak and beech with strong joints. You are unlikely to want your house looking like a classroom. But a few carefully selected pieces to compliment rustic and vintage country furniture and interiors work well. If you have a home office a school bookcase or cupboard is ideal for storage, pigeon holes are ideal for displaying collections.
We found this solid oak cupboard in one of the language classrooms, the front, top and sides are oak, the back and shelves pine
An assortment of theatre lighting from the school hall, we hope to convert these into lights on stands or tripods