Lorfords Is Bringing Sexy Back

An antique clock face sold on Lorfords dot com

An 18th-century mahogany clock face still has its original carved hands, and was possibly once on the grounds of Oxford College.

I know you’re going to hate me for the earworm à la Justin Timberlake but the song really is apropos for this design piece. And I promise I don’t argue for turning the clock back to 2006—the reference is merely a reaction I had when I took a peek at the smashing website of antiques dealers Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson, the founders of Lorfords Antiques. Sexy, I thought when I went through the antiques and vintage offerings for sale, and I spun right into a fantasy that had me creating a tempting lair in which I could entertain in the most alluring manner.

Craftsmanship and Slow Design

Lorfords Antiques sells French Patisserie tables

An elegant French patisserie cast iron table with a marble top.

It also reminded me of a particular question I’ve been asking quite often lately: how is it that I am seeing furnishings produced before I was born that are clearly more sensual than such a high percentage of what has been fabricated since? I believe it has to do with great craftsmanship and slow design, and I am really paying attention to how many incredible time-honored furnishings there are that, brought together, could turn even the most sedate space into a sultry setting.

Beautiful beachfront cottage to furnish

Let’s go on a beachfront cottage fantasy!

So the question is, do I go beach cottage chic for my next phase of life, landing a spot on the ocean and tapping the top two treasures above that I selected from the Lorfords site for my new digs? I certainly think either or both would add that certain je nais se qua to a seaside living room. This is equally true for the charming 20th-century French metal bench below, don’t you think?

Lorfords sells antiques like this French metal bench

A 20th-century French metal bench with old and new paint.

Or maybe I pivot in New York City, landing a loft in the Village where the 19th-century ebonized and painted bookcase below, circa 1870, would fit right in. I’d be closer to the Strand Bookstore, after all, and you know what that means for someone as addicted to books as I am.

A mid-19th century bookcase sold by Lorfords dot com

Mid 19th-century ebonized and painted bookcase or display cupboard, circa 1870.

But now that I’ve posed the question, it occurs to me that what I’d really like is a flat in Milan. Trips to the Italian countryside to prowl around the rosemary-scented hills Petrarch, Dante and Shelley roamed sound remarkably enticing as I listen to the subway incessantly trundle past my Brooklyn apartment day and night.

Milan flat for fantasy furnishing

How about this for a lovely flat in Milan?

Let’s say I did land a wonderful spot in the Tortona Design District, for instance; I could see this exquisite Pompeian style console table with its specimen stone detailed slab, the top edged in slate (below), bringing seductive style to my lovely new foyer. Or how about the rare mahogany Aesthetic Movement side table in the Japanese taste (English, circa1870) and the 1970s Danish two-drawer side table in rosewood with a curved stretcher (both below)? I’d pair them with the Henderson sofa and chair from Bernhardt in a Brandy finish for a perfect touch of tailored sophistication.

Lorfords Antiques Shopping Online

This Pompeian table from Lorfords, perfect for an Italian flat

This Pompeian table is perfect for an Italian flat, don’t you think?

If I find myself making any of these flights of fancy come true, I’d certainly be combing the Lorfords site for other furnishings and have them delivered to my new pad since I’m worlds away from their stores. If you happen to be jaunting around the English countryside—lucky devil that you would be—Lorfords has ramped up their operations IRL, setting up a second shop. This new locale has taken over a hangar at Babdown Airfield not too far from their very smart shop in the center of Tetbury. Their presence in the heart of the Cotswolds ups the ante in making the area a premier antiques hub in England.

Aesthetic Movement side table in the Japanese taste from Lorfords

An Aesthetic Movement side table in the Japanese taste is sexy to its core!

The two venues bring 39 decorative antique dealers to the picturesque region, and the Babdown location is now serving as the UK office for Toma Clark Haines and Gail McLeod, Productrazzi’s pals at The Antiques Diva & Co. I highly recommend that you check out the Lorfords blog, which they call “Inspirations,” to understand how knowledgeable these antiquarians are. And if you’re not a fan of antiques, the duo behind the brand has a new line of products under their Created label. I have my eye on their Belgravia Sofa for my make-believe Milanese study.

A Danish 1970s two drawer side table from Lorfords

A Danish 1970s two-drawer side table with exquisite bones.

I could be cheeky and say I’d best hit publish so I can go and call my realtor to put an offer in on my flat but that would be pure delusion. It certainly has been a nice little virtual fantasy while it lasted, though—I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Text of Lorfords Is Bringing Sexy Back © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.

2 thoughts on “Lorfords Is Bringing Sexy Back

  1. Design adventuring, indeed! On behalf of everyone at B E R N H A R D T, thanks so much, Saxon, for mentioning our Henderson Sofa as a good fit with these iconic antique masterpieces. PS Go for the flat in Milan :oD!

    All the best, and hoping to see you again soon, perhaps in High Point.
    Happy Summer, and Happy Writing!

    • Thanks, Stephanie, and I do believe I will be at HPMkt. Look forward to seeing you then!

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