“I love vibrant colours against a canvas of white walls; the idea of being able to constantly change and add accessories, furniture and textiles in lots of different patterns and themes”. Such is Lucy Salem’s attitude to living which pervades her collection at The Old Cinema. Pieces are constantly changing but you may find a vintage chest of drawers painted in vividly contrasting shades of  pistachio, cobalt and paprika; a pair of neat 1950’s armchairs newly covered in duck-egg blue velvet, or a slightly eccentric retro tiled table with chrome legs. Even prosaic items  become objects of beauty designed to light up dark corners; check out her glittering wastepaper bins, upcycled medicine chest  or brightly painted hatstands

Like many of  the dealers at The Old Cinema, Lucy comes from an artistic background. Her grandmother was an interior decorator with a shop in Knightsbridge, where Lucy spent a lot of her spare time,  and her mother was an antique dealer, who sold jewellery and clothing at  Portobello market on Saturday mornings so Lucy moved variously between smart, and shabby chic and both were to inspire her creative instinct.  

Lucy herself studied Fashion and Textiles at Cordwainers and she went on to specialise in designing shoes and handbags. Now a design developer for a well-known brand, she juggles a hectic life between managing a team and overseeing concepts for luxury fashion accessories.  As a busy mum with a pretty much full-time job, Lucy’s time at the Old Cinema is precious: “I love being here and particularly overhearing what people say as they walk round; the ones that remember these retro items when they appeared first time round and those, younger visitors who are seeing them for the first time - it’s fascinating” she says. 

With colour her main motivation, Lucy spends much time scurrying off to antiques fairs and markets,  and comes back with whatever she can fit into her tiny Nissan Micra. “I understand why people deal in jewellery” she laughs: “It’s so much more portable”.  Old pieces of furniture are picked up, restored, painted, and given their own unique appeal. Everything is recycled as she feels that more and more, this is what people are looking for, “because it has so much more character and no two pieces are the same” she explains.  Lucy also stocks a number of paintings and her most recent acquisition was an original commission for the 1960’s iconic boutique - Bus Stop. “I had it up in my hallway for a long time” she says; “It’s so redolent of the era, it’s wonderful”.

One of the fasting-selling and most popular elements of Lucy’s collection are her beautiful silk cushions, made with old silk scarves which are cleverly cut to create striking new designs, then backed with velvet and filled with feathers. It is a wonderfully creative way to use up beautiful lengths of patterned silk which would otherwise just sit in a drawer -  and clearly Chiswick customers agree since she can’t seem to make enough of them.


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