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Love vintage and secondhand decor for your home? Here’s some tips on how to get it done

This Cape Town-based business shares some helpful tips about sourcing unique secondhand pieces for your home

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By Alyxandra Carolus | January 30, 2024 | Interiors

Whether you’re moving into your own flat or home with a roommate or partner, it can be expensive and tedious to furnish a new space. But if you know where to go and who to buy from on the secondhand market, you’re bound to find some gems. We chat to Tara Weber, owner of Bowerbird Boutique about getting into the world of secondhand and vintage interior design items.

What inspired you to start Bowerbird Boutique - diving into the world of vintage and secondhand decor?

I have always been a treasure hunter of sorts, I used to go to Milnerton Market with my dad and we would find special things and do research on them together. My love affair with objects truly bloomed when I worked at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and I have found a real sweet spot in this career where I get to hunt and curate to my heart’s content.

What are some tips you’d share with anyone trying to go about sourcing vintage themselves?

Go to places that are unexpected. Many of my best finds are from places that look pretty dingy, but have hidden gems if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and dig around a bit! Another key point of success for sourcing vintage things - you have to go a LOT. Charity shops often put out a trickle of new items daily, so you have to be going pretty regularly to ensure you don't miss anything. Making friends with the dealers and shop owners you buy from makes a big difference. If you introduce yourself and they get to know your taste, they might keep things aside or give you the first option on new items. You can of course find some bargains on Facebook marketplace, but I still say car boot sales and flea markets are unbeatable for value. These dealers often buy large bulk ‘lots’ of items on auction, meaning they price to move things quickly.

Are there any vintage decor or art finds you dream about?

So, so many. I am always looking for a really old Staffordshire porcelain figurative scene of a tiger or lion attack. They are interesting pieces of social history and would fit in perfectly with my ceramic tiger collection!

I would also love to find a painting by an important South African artist such as Ruth Everard-Haden. Her paintings are strange and dreamy - much like me I guess.

Where can people find your goods and shop from you?

I have two sides to my shop. @bowerbirdboutique on Instagram has a big selection of vintage finds such as ceramics, quirky decor and slightly off the wall homeware finds. The other side is Non-Heirloom, also on Instagram, where I tend to put some more edgy objects, folk art pieces and other strange, more art-aligned things.