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My cracking time on Cracking Antiques

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Kathryn Rayward Kathryn Rayward | 10:19 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Filming Cracking Antiques was such a hoot that I don't know where to start. It was brilliant fun meeting all of the different contributors - I love snooping around people's houses. I'm incredibly nosy - in fact, I always say that was why I became an interior designer.

Mark Hill's my co-presenter and we've been called the TV Newlyweds, which is appropriate as we didn't know each other before the show. I had to go on a round of 'blind dates' (which, even more bizarrely, were filmed) with male antique specialists until I found my Mister Right.

The TV Newlyweds: Kathryn Rayward and co-presenter Mark Hill pose for the cameras

My blind date with Mark was at Spitalfields Market in East London, one of my favourite places to shop. He was there already with the production crew when I arrived, but I would have guessed who he was anyway. He wears the most striking, natty outfits. They're very beatnik, smart tailored suits, like a young Michael Caine - very Alfie!

We hit it off immediately and forgot the cameras were rolling. He bought a vase in about two minutes (no change there) then we had great fun looking at a bergere chair and some Lucienne Day fabric.

Unlike a lot of men, he's very at home with soft furnishings, so I knew he was the one for me. We were obviously a match made in vintage heaven as we always turned up on location in matching outfits - there must be a touch of telepathy going on somewhere

With having Mark as my sidekick we're kind of antique Good Cop, Bad Cop, although I'm not saying who's who. We disagree on stuff all the time which makes the show, and life, more interesting.

There was an ongoing joke that as I can't stand "brown furniture" I always wanted to slap a bit of paint on anything that I thought was too "brown". In the end, I would threaten it with practically everything we looked at just to make Mark cross. (I honestly never would tamper with anything beautiful, but if a piece is cheap and cheerful and in need of a bit of TLC then I'm all for it)

He's so brilliant at knowing everything there is to know about old things and I find him endlessly fascinating and entertaining.

The first episode is broadcast on Wednesday April 7 at 8.30pm on BBC Two and is all about how to create a French boudoir, a style very close to my heart having been bitten by the vintage bug whilst living in France.

Candlesticks at an antique depot that Kathryn found for Rebekkah in the first episode

From my experience, having lived just outside Toulouse, it seemed as though a lot of the French had sold their crumbling farmhouses and were busy filling their new houses with brand spanking new furniture - leaving all their gorgeous antique furniture for collectors like me.

I went back for a holiday last year and things hadn't changed. Unfortunately I had left my rusty old Transit van back at home, otherwise I would have filled it up with stuff. The vide-greniers and brocantes, or French garage sales and flea markets to you and I, were still as exciting as ever.

I was trying to work out how to fit a particularly nice little gilt sofa, that I'd found in a brilliant little junk shop in Castres, into our car (could it fit on the kids' laps...?) but fortunately for all of us, despite numerous trips back, the shop never opened again.

Disheartened I was checking out an online auction site to see if it had been the bargain I thought it was when I spotted a beautiful red gilt sofa for only £120 including delivery. It was delivered the day we got back from holiday, my French sofa, online in England, while away in France!

It came from a brilliant little place just outside Hastings and it seemed the most obvious place to take Rebecca, our first contributor, to find her original Marie Antoinette-style boudoir bed. She was apprehensive about the "fluids and bugs" but it was a great buy and a fun experience.

That's what Mark and I really want to do with the series - we want to drag antiques from their pedestals, blow the dust off them, and open them up to a much wider audience, showing how they can be more affordable, stylish and better made than much of what the high street has to offer.

I really hope you enjoy the show as much as Mark and I enjoyed making it. And remember, as a sage old vintage expert once said, you only regret the ones you didn't buy!

Kathryn Rayward is the co-presenter of Cracking Antiques on BBC Two


  • Comment number 1.

    I'd love to know where I can find the place outside hastings as I'm looking for a French antique bed head. Can you share? Thanks in advance!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Kat. Really looking forward to this series,Mark Hill is a breath of fresh air in the field of antiques, looks like you met your match! Those poor French people giving away their cultural inheritance, isn't it amazing how short sighted some people are?
    There are still people selling their Anglepoise for a quid when others are buying them new for over £100.
    What's it all about...Alfie?
    Fortunately for me it's refurnishing my home with style,for a song while others spend ten times more. You should see the smile on people's faces when they enter my lounge. You can't buy that in the High Street!

  • Comment number 3.

    Mr Howden, think the place that was featured on the show is The French Depot [Personal details removed by Moderator], hope this is helpful to you, regards [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 4.

    Dear Kathryn,

    I loved the beautiful dresses you wore in the program! The red and blue one with the large tree, and the one you wore while decorating the lampshade. Did you buy them or were they made specially for you?

  • Comment number 5.

    Good morning everyone, am feeling a little tired after all the excitement of yesterday...
    Meryl you are spot on, it is the French Depot. Its a fabulous place to visit with tons of brilliant stock.
    My beautiful frocks are a range of vintage and Sarah Arnett, who is a very talented designer. (the beautiful tree one was indeed one of hers)
    Did you all enjoy the show? It was odd for me and Mark to see it all put together for the first time.
    Mark is up at The Antiques and Collectors fair at the NEC over the next few days. It's MASSIVE so wear comfortable shoes! but if you fancy a pootle, make sure you go and say hello to him.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I loved this programme, the finished bedroom and Kathryn's clothes.
    Can someone please let me know the name of the shop or website where the chaise was bought.
    Well done Mark and Kathryn. Please consider coming to the Costa Brava and doing my lounge.

    Thankyou Andrea

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello andrea. The shop is in Brighton and is called 3 angels. It's one of my favourites and is run by a lovely lady called suzanne. They have a website, it's www.threeangels.co.uk
    it really was a beautiful chaise.

  • Comment number 9.

    hello Kathryn, would just like to say how much I enjoyed the show {always enjoy anything you are in you're like a breath of fresh air!} Am looking forward to the rest of the series, regards Meryl

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Mark,
    Enjoyed the first program, a taste of what,s to come. Don't let everyone in on the glass secret! My wife watched intensly at the glass, Fat Lava and Ercol that adorns our lounge. She quickly calculated the value in terms of thousands, and has already spent the money on a new kitchen.
    Can the next program show how to make a shabby chic kitchen for less than the one in the High Street, please.

    she is already getting my decanters out in anticipation of a holiday in the Seychelles. You are breaking peoples marriages up mate!! Ho Ho

  • Comment number 11.

    incidentley, I told her that they would only double in 10 years, therefore, the £1 I spent this week will only be worth £2 in 10 years time. Happy Days!

  • Comment number 12.

    Cracking antiques is an innovative way of introducing even more antique programmes to the BBC . We watch them all, here in France and agree with Kathryn that the French enjoy emptying their attics of all treasures. We are buying THEM ALL. Roll on our first trip to English auction houses!!
    Why not do a reverse programme? Next series, find Brits here in France and show us how to use the French salvage in our GARDENS!

  • Comment number 13.

    Great concept for a program, only problem is that it doesn't last long enough - would love an hour! Looking forward to future episodes. Also would love to know where Rebekah Prince bought her beautiful multi coloured beaded clutch bag from - really unusual!! Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 14.

    Loved the programme,please tell me where i can buy the feather trim to decorate the lampshades

  • Comment number 15.

    Superb new antiques programme. Lively, informative, interesting and fresh.
    Brilliant duo, who work really well together. Love it.

  • Comment number 16.

    Good evening everyone, did you all catch Mark on the Antiques Roadshow? He was looking very dapper talking about Bambi and how much he cried when he watched the film....

    Thank you all for you lovely comments, we really appreciate them. Apart from a very rude review in the Mail last wednesday everyone has generally thought the show is good so let's keep our fingers crossed.

    Now, let's answer a few questions...Retrospective, I have passed on your comments to Mark who laughed a lot! Unfortunately no kitchens this series.

    Julia, we would LOVE to come to France, we are completely on the same wave length but, domage, I don't know much about gardening. Lovely antique garden furniture from salvage yards, yes, plants, not much at all.

    Vintage Hannah, I follow Rebekah on Twitter so I will ask about her clutch bag. I remember thinking it was vintage but she said it was new (not really surprised about that!)

    And Diane, the feather trim came from VV Rouleaux which has a very good website vvrouleaux.com but their shops are really worth a visit if you're ever in London, one in Sloane Square, the other in Marylebone. And there's one in the john lewis in Glasgow too. They are amazing Aladdin's caves full of all things girly and pretty. A real treat.

    I'm very much looking forward to wednesday's episode. I have a ghost story to tell about the filmimg of it which I'll fill you in on tomorrow.


  • Comment number 17.

    This week's show is coming up and I think out of all the shows, it's my favourite. Karen was such a lovely person to work with and we had lots of laughs whilst we were filming, including a hilarious moment when Mark found a spider in amongst the oak floorboards at the reclamation yard and nearly jumped out of his skin in horror! (Thinking about it, poor Mark didn't laugh very much, just me and Karen!) Oh, I mustn’t forget about our paranormal experience…

    We were filming in an antiques barn just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon. We always get to he location early so we can get lots done before it’s filled with members of the public so it was just me and Mark, Amanda the director, camera man, soundman and our lovely runner Skippy (Simon, from Australia, terrible nickname) and the two lovely ladies who worked there.

    The barn was vast, on two floors. Our lot were up on the first floor filming bits and bobs and Mark and I had to find some interesting wooden chairs for Karen the contributor who hadn’t arrived yet. The ladies were in the front of the barn at the cash desk.

    We had walked down a long corridor with a dead end where we had spotted a nice ladderback. The walkway was narrow and flanked by stalls. We admired the chair then turned back to find another when we were stopped dead in our tracks. (I’m hamming it up a bit here, as I’m worried it’s not going to sound too ghostly and it was in reality a really spooky occurrence)

    A small wooden box had appeared out of thin air onto the floor in front of us blocking our path. It definitely hadn’t been there, two minutes ago and we would have heard it rattle if it had fallen from a stall. It was also mysteriously placed bang on, dead centre on the path, as if someone had ‘placed’ it there very carefully so we were sure not to miss it.

    We asked the ladies if they had put it there and they told us gleefully that the barn was notoriously haunted and strange things often happened….

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the shabby chic end result. Karen was so bitten by the vintage bug that she has now opened her very own vinatage stall called 'Nellie May's' at her local antique centre. Watch out, I warned you this was addictive!

  • Comment number 18.

    Vintage hannah, the clutch bag was from Faith

  • Comment number 19.

    Loved the programme, watched for the first time tonight.

    Please, please, please can you tell me where I can buy the green, floral wallpaper that you used in the Jones' dining room in tonight's episode? I've just had to strip my walls twice due to faulty wallpaper and I've been looking for a suitable replacement for ages, this just might mean I can get my lounge/diner finished at last! Many thanks.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Ali
    Really glad you liked the show. Make sure you watch next week too! The wallpaper was from Sanderson, Summer Tree in yellow and cream from the Painters Garden collection. Happy wallpapering

  • Comment number 21.

    Thank you so much Karen, I'm so excited I want to get wallpapering now! Will definitely be watching next week, don't think my husband will be too happy, I don't need any more encouragement to go out and spend money on antiques and expensive wallpaper ; )

  • Comment number 22.

    Dear Kathryn and Mark:

    I really love your programe . I've been watching the last two episodes more than twice as i can't wait for the next ones to come :). Plus i am trying to learn from your advices. Thank you very much :)

    Kind Regards
    Karina ( burgain hunter in training)

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Kathryn,
    Really enjoying this show as I love hunting for a bargain in charity shops and boot sales and, at 23, find Antiques Roadshow aimed at a slightly older audience.
    Just decorated my own bedroom in Shabby Chic and love the result-I'm a bit of a Cath Kidston fan. I also have somewhere to display my vintage handbags at last!

    Do you visit boot sales or charity shops in this series at all or stick to antiques centres?

    Do you have a website for your dealings and designing?
    Ellie x

  • Comment number 24.

    Loving the show guys ! Really so inspiring and very enlightening to see what us mortals can achieve for relatively little money . .. will be glued for the whole series and hope for more. Love Kathryn and Mark presenting, great on screen duo :)

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks to Kathyrn and Mark I now have the 'bug', I just purchased an Art Deco Grandmother clock and have been buying some lovely vintage jewellery!

    Still can't get over the fabric side of it hahaha but loving the furniture!

    Thanks guys x

  • Comment number 26.

    this is an interesting article in the Sunday times about buying things at auction and Cracking Antiques.

    Nice to hear from you Rebekah, glad to hear that you are a fully paid up vintage addict! You'll never regret it!
    If you missed Rebekah's French Boudoir transformation it's still on BBC iplayer as is the new episode. Karen who owned the shabby chic dining room is tryin to work out how to join this blog so watch out for her! Shell get here eventually....

  • Comment number 27.

    Here is the link to iplayer and Cracking Antiques
    please watch again and ask your friends too if they missed it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Kathryn,

    Love your new website great design ! ,fabulous programme do you ever get to Shropshire or stay around the Sussex area ? Your flea in Lewes sounds great, we have a good one in Malvern ,but can`t compare it with Shepton one as I have not been luckily enough to visit.

    Where did you get the upholstery done for programme one and whats been your best find ?


  • Comment number 29.

    i think the programme is excellent and really helps make antiques less of a scary and formidable subject. I recently tried an antiques fair at Goodwood to try and find myself a dressing table in need of updating and TLC. I live in a listed building so new objects generally dont always look quite right. however the antique fair seemed to focus on small more collectable objects rather than funiture. the shops near me including Petworth seem incredibly pricey. Can you suggest places i might try where i might be able to find one that hasnt already been done up? Ive been keeping an eye on ebay and missed out on a couple but they seem to be few and far between.

    i look forward to the rest of the series!
    Liz Gent

  • Comment number 30.

    I got there eventually Kathryn!! mooching round charity shops and antique centres suits me much better than technology! I have got loads of texts abou the programme, everyone loved it! You and Mark were FAB again and can't wait till next week! still smile everytime I go in my room xx

    Interested to know where the Malvern flea market is as its not far from me.

    Went to an Antiques Centre on Wednesday and got "your not the lady off the telly are you" - now there's a sentence I never thought I'd hear - giggle!

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry all, something's up with the iplayer. Try this:

  • Comment number 32.

    We've been doing this and trying to encourage our friends for years - it's amazing how many people see 2nd hand and antique as not as good quality as new! If they weren't they would be broken by now!

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Karen
    Its at the malvern three counties showground next one end of May its good fun we have been twice and always manage to find some treasures. Within in a price limit or you could go mad !

    Do you have a blog I saw you were on twitter i don`t want to put my email on here so maybe there is a contact button i`ll tell you my faves sellers.

    p.s love your room

  • Comment number 34.

    really loving this show its very inspiring and giving me great ideas for my home!! i love hunting round car boots,reclamation yards,charity shops ect... i hope you will do another series i would love ideas for a shabby chic kitchen!!! I`ve just sent for a sample of summer tree wallpaper for my dining room!! looking forward to the rest of the series thanks xx

  • Comment number 35.

    Hi Brooke, thank-you - I think Mark and Kathryn should come too!

    if you follow me on twitter I can then follow you and then we can send direct messages as would love to know your fave sellers!

    Thank you for loving my room - Aren't Mark and Kathryn clever!

  • Comment number 36.

    Both my mum and sister raved to me about your programme and having just caught up via iplayer I'll definitely make sure I watch from now on. Thank you so much for a really great programme. A real tonic to the usual make over shows I've seen. Having just bought a flat I'm slowly trying to furnish/decorate it and you've really inspired me to take it slowly and look for really interesting pieces! By the way, can you tell the paint colour used in the dining room make over in prg 2? It looks like it might be what I'm looking for in my lounge.

  • Comment number 37.

    Will do Karen, I think Kathryn and Mark would need to go incognito ! Or people would follow them seeing what they bought..lol.

    Though considering Kathryn is very glamourous hard to do,but I can see Mark as a fine country gent.

    I might be doing some treasure hunting this week IF..my lovely partner gets back from Sweden first ! He has managed to hitch a ride on a freight ferry.

    Not joined twitter just read it so i hope its easy !


  • Comment number 38.

    Hello everyone

    Hope you had all had lovely weekends enjoying the glorious sunshine. Brilliant car boot weather!
    Before I forget, I cant remember exactly which colour it was in the shabby chic dining room, perhaps Karen can help us out, but it was definitely something like this...

    The Little Green paints are my favourite and I always use them in my home and and all of my clients'. They have a lovely creamy texture and the colours are beautiful.

    Liz, you should check out Ardingly where we go later on in the show. All of the shows are marvellous for both small collectibles and larger pieces. Just make sure you take a load of cash with you and have thought about how you're going to get everything home.


    I'm really looking forward to the show this week with Ellen and Dean. They have a beautiful house out in the Lincoln countryside complete with two dogs and two teenage boys who are massive Ikea fans (I'm sure they'll grow out of it!)
    We took them shopping to one of my favourite shops ever, I feel another link coming up, Decorative Textiles. This is her ebay shop but the real thing in Cheltenham is definitely worth a visit. It's filled with the most extraordinary antique textiles, trims and cushions.


    Hilariously, Mark who is in touch with his feminine side, went completely gaga over the shop, and had bought a small piece of framed Toile before you could bat an eyelid. Dean, bless him, took a bit more convincing but was very patient whilst Ellen and I squeaked in delight at everything and even got his wallet out without too much convincing to pay for the BEAUTIFUL embroidered Arts and Crafts stained glass inspired cushion and the 12m of vintage trim!

    Their finished room was a triumph and, like Karen's, is a good example of how young families who might normally have gone for flat pack, embrace the old with astonishing results. Please continue to watch and blog. And please tell all your friends as the more people that watch, the more likely it is that Mark and I can continue our Antique Revolution!!

  • Comment number 39.

    While the show has good intentions I find it a little disappointing.

    Yes antiques are not just for large country houses, yes they are generally better made than the modern items and yes they don't have to cost a fortune, but and this is a big BUT unless you are lucky what you buy for pennies will alas still be worth pennies.

    The section on what to invest in with the hope of making money in years to come are especially worrying. Take the section on Georgian cut glass decanters. I agree that they are undervalued but will their value increase? Probably not as they are unfashionable now for a reason. They are a pain to clean (and dry effectively)and don't fit in with a modern hurried lifestyle. As for the German fat lava I would imagine most provincial auction houses will say fat chance when the proud owners try to set a reserve. Investing in antiques for profit is not an easy task especially as the you will generally buy at retail prices and eventually sell at wholesale prices. My advice would be buy what you like not what you think will make money and in the main the antiques of the future will be what are considered antiques today.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have to say I just love the programme. 2 episodes in and I'm hooked!!!
    Please can you tell me the name of the "antiques barn just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon" where you were filming for the last episode (the gorgeous dining room you created) where you bought the fabulous chairs and french lamp shades.

  • Comment number 41.

    this is the website for the antiques barn we visited on last weeks show. Really glad you are hooked teenyweenystella! This place was the haunted one and the tea shop was brilliant- delicious cakes.

    Thank you for your comments Ian, I will take them on board. We really wanted the message of the show to be to buy what you like without worrying if you're going to turn a profit or not. That's certainly my attitude and I know mark feels the same way. Perhaps the last four episodes will change your mind, I do hope so.

  • Comment number 42.

    Kathryn I welcome any attempt to make antiques more accessible and I will watch the rest of the series with interest and an open mind. One niggle I do have with the first couple of shows is the European flavour of the antiques. It may just be unfortunate and the remaining shows have more British antique content but when you see large amounts of British antiques disappearing overseas at fairs like Newark it really is heart breaking. I just feel that a show such as "Cracking Antiques" would be a great way to make the public aware of good quality inexpensive British antiques as other shows on TV generally fall into 2 categories. The Flog it and Dickinson's Real Deal type with the daily diet of Beswick, Moorcroft and Clarice Cliff and the Antiques Roadshow with the rare and generally unobtainable. However I must thank Mark for the section on Georgian decanters which I agree are fantastic value and it would be nice to see the British appreciate them instead instead of selling them on mass to the Dutch trade.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Kathryn

    I was really struck by the knife fork spoon wall art in last night's "bought from the high street" room makeover, where is it from? Many thanks for your time for all our questions, it's a great series, I'm glued!


  • Comment number 44.

    I don't know off hand about the paint colour but will find out and let you know, also with the wall hangings - be back shortly


  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Kathryn

    the paint is not nearly as glamorous as Little Green Paint Co, although love their colours, it is actually a Dulux soft moss (3) and another lady asked about the high street wall hangings and they are from a wallpaper by Tracy Kendall

    Looking forward to tonights show!


  • Comment number 46.

    Karen, you can be my assistant any day! I'm really looking forward to the show tonight. We go shopping at a big collector's fair and, this one's for you Ian, we buy a very splendid English oak dresser which is a complete bargain. There's also a long emotional tussle over whether to leather chair or not and of course, the epic trip to the vintage textiles shop.

    My repurposing project is all about upholstering a Friday Ad £90 drop leaf sofa....It was odd because we took it to my lovely upholsterers where I get all of my furniture for my business done, and before we started filming I was wondering if anyone would find it interesting. But it was FASCINATING. We had decided to use half tartan and half plain fabric and none of us knew if Ellen the homeowner would like it or not. I won't give the game away, but there is a scene in tonight's show where I was truly terrified.

    Hope you all enjoy it. I read a article today in the Antique Trade Gazette that the Collectors Fairs were up 10% in April which they very kindly thought was due to the show. How amazing.

    Let me know what you all think

  • Comment number 47.

    Re BARKERS episode - at about 10minutes and 3 seconds into it - in the stall where they got two chairs - you can see bought about two years ago from an antique centre in Wales and have been trying to hunt down its origins. Can anyone help? Thanks!

  • Comment number 48.

    Re BARKERS episode - at about the 10 minute 3 second point - in the stall where they bought the two chairs - you can see in the background a golden lion wielding an ax (a heraldry or pub sign carving). I bought an identical one about two years ago in an antique centre in Wales and have been trying to hunt down its origins since. Can anyone help? Thanks!

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi Kathryn,

    Just a little note to say how much i am enjoying 'Cracking Antiques', it really is a breath of fresh air and you and Mark make a great double act!

    I have been an avid fan of vintage since my days in Uni when i didn't have too much cash to flash on fancy furniture and bits and bobs for my sometimes less than glamourous student digs! I have spent many a saturday afternoon rummaging through antique markets and charity shops, sometimes with more luck than others, but always with the hope of finding that little gem that i just can't live without!

    The drawing/living room which you and Mark created last night was stunning and what a lucky couple to have such a beautiful room to use everyday! I particularly loved what you did with the Chesterfiled sofa and feel a little trip to the upholsterers with my 1960s Ercol wing-backed suite is now long overdue!

    It would be wonderful if you and Mark could make it across the water to Ireland in a future series. We have a good selection of local Antique shops/dealers here in Belfast but it would be great to see you both waving your magic wands to give us all a little taste of Retro Chic over here in the Emerald Isle!

    Keep up the brilliant work and looking forward to the rest of the series!

    (PS - Is there a book to accompany the series?)

  • Comment number 50.

    Hello all
    Sorry, I've been so busy I have been neglecting the blog, apologies all round. Funny you should mention Ireland James, Mark and I did a radio interview with Pat Kenny on RTE this morning. What a nice man and he asked some very pertinent questions too which is always good for the brain cells. We were discussing how to use the 'Cracking Antiques' design theory in a kitchen....if you don't want to go the whole hog and rejig antique dressers and cabinets to create the units, our favourite thing to do is to use lots of vintage accessories to compliment a more modern kitchen. Blue and white crockery, copper pans, cornishware etc. Is there anything distinctly Irish I wonder that would look nice in a kitchen? Please let me know.

    I am looking forward to this Wednesday's episode. It's up in Stockport with a lovely couple called Jodie and Adrian who had bought a house in need of much TLC. They only had £1000 to spend but luckily her mum had a positive treasure trove of family heirlooms that we were lucky enough to use. My favourite is a very beautiful green leather chair that we do a 'squint' on. You'll see what I mean when you watch the show. My sewing skills are pretty dreadful but I give it my best shot!

    In the design we use a particularly interesting Cole and Son wallpaper. Its very unusual showing (I think) the venetian skyline and reflection in the canal. Unfortunately we weren't about when the local decorators were putting it up and they hung it upside down!!! Oh well. you know how much I like to express the contributer's quirky individuality! See if you can spot it, there's even a picture in our book of it. (there is an accompanying book which you can buy in all the bookshops and on Amazon)

    We're half way through the series now, it's going so quick. Hope you are still enjoying it and keep leaving me your comments :)

  • Comment number 51.

    Found the podcast of the show. we're on about 1 hour 10 into the show after the brilliant piano playing.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Kathryn,

    Can't wait to listen to your podcast with Pat Kenny, he is a bit of a broadcasting legend in this part of the world! I have been giving a bit of thought to your question about distinctly Irish items which might look good in a vintage kitchen and have a few suggestions which might be of some assistance. The first item I had in mind was the good old enamel Belfast Sink but this might be a bit of a job to incorporate into an existing kitchen without having to pull out units etc! We also have a great tradition of lace and linen here in Northern Ireland and at one time where the largest producers of linen in the world up until the decline of the industry in the 1960s. A piece of vintage linen on an wall or on a lovely vintage table similar to Karens oak floor board table from episode 2 might look quiet quirky?!? Beleek pottery is another suggestion and there are some fine pieces to be found. The company is still in existance and has been producing pottery and ceramics from the late 19th Century. An eclectic collection of wall hung plates could make for an interesting talking point?!? An Irish famine chair in ash and hemp might be another suggestion.

    Anyway, I hope this helps and I am really looking forward to this weeks show. I caught a glimpse of the Cole & Son Wallpaper Fornasetti frieze in last weeks trailer, it looks greats on the wall! I made a couple of wall mounted mdf panels with the same stuff and have it on my dining room wall behind a vintage sideboard.

    Keep up the great work and I can feel a purchase from my favourite book store coming up!


  • Comment number 53.

    Kathryn it was nice to see some British antiques. Not sure there was the required wall space but some late Georgian oak hanging corner cupboards would have worked well in the room and as they are now readily available in the £100 - £200 price range they are a real bargain at present. It maybe how the show was edited but it seemed like Mark got the short end of the stick when it came to buying accessories with little cash and little choice. Given the cash earlier at the Lincoln show I'm sure he could have bought something a little more interesting than the "Asiatic Pheasants" serving plate.

  • Comment number 54.

    James, what marvellous ideas, thank you so much. Love the idea of the Fornasetti wallpaper on MDF panels over the dresser sounds very interesting. And I'm really pleased ian that you approved of put purchases. Obviously we film (and buy) a lot more than the half hour can contain. We buy some interesting bits and bobs in tomorrow's episode and I hope you'll all let me know what you think.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Kathryn and Mark,
    Could you please, please let me know who the upholsterer was who featured in the Lincoln show, as he did such a caring job on Ellen and Dean's sofa! We have two mouldy but fantastic chairs purchased from Ardingly which are in desperate need of TLC.
    Also, Mark, where did your lovely military coat come from?
    Many thanks!

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi. Great programme as usual.

    Can you please tell me the names and locations of the places you visited in Machester this week?

    Thanks a lot.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Kathryn, really great show again this week especially with such a limited budget. It just goes to show what you can do with a great imagination and a little bit of vintage magic! I thought the drum side tables this evening were a crackin´ idea and loved your upholstery job on the green leather chair. Ever thought of doing this kind of stuff for a living :-) Could you let us know the paint colour that was used for the "pre-cracking antiques" make over (it looked a bit like a french grey) if you can remember please and the fabric you used to cover the seats of the dining chairs (it looks like a designers guild)? I love the idea of painting the walls, skirtings, doors and architraves out the same colour, looks v chic! The fornasetti prints looked fab either side of the fireplace and you would never have guessed they were upside down. Looking forward to next weeks show already! Any hints as to what to look forward too!?! Ta, James

  • Comment number 58.

    Just love this programme... please tell me that there are plans for further series when this one is finished. Can't live without it - so inspiring

  • Comment number 59.

    What lucky little beggers this week's couple were! A free mahogany tilt top table circa William IV and a free brass bound writing slope in what looked like walnut. Note to any of my relatives, try that with my antiques and you won't make it to the kerb! Roll on next week with the Georgian dining room. Mmmm proper antiques that are surprisingly affordable.

  • Comment number 60.

    Brilliant Ian, that's hilarious! Your poor relatives, they better be quick!! :-)

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi I absolutely love the programme - so nice to have something different on TV. Particularly love the soft furnishing element as just doing a soft furnishing course at aged 51 years! Would love to know how to make the patchwork cushion - the lady said 'sew hoizontal and then verztical'. How can you do that? thanks

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hello please could someone tell me where the place was where they bougt the leather chesterfield from

    Thank You

    Great show

  • Comment number 64.

    Greetings - Could you please let me know how I can contact the stall owners in the BARKERS episode where they bought the two armchairs? I am trying to track down an item I saw in the background! Many thanks!

  • Comment number 65.

    I would love to know where the old cotton mill antiques warehouse is, any chance you could let me know please.


    ps I made a patchwork chair (with designer guild scraps in pale green and pink) from an old edwardian one I bought at an auction, I felt like I had been copied!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Hello everyone, what a horrible rainy afternoon.
    An ideal time to be at home doing a bit of cross stitch and blogging....

    I'll just answer a few questions first but bear with me if I miss any out.
    The antiques warehouse with all of the chesterfields is in Bolton and is called Salvatores and then we were at Bygone Times outside Eccles. Both well worth a visit.

    Talking of Chesterfields, my lovely upholsterer (J J Geary & Sons; 4 Newark Place Brighton, East Sussex BN2 9NT; Phone: 01273 696265 ...) told me that any low back and armed sofa is actually a chesterfield, not just the buttoned ones that we immediately think of. If anyone has anymore information on the matter please let me know.

    The paint colour (I think!) was indeed a French Grey, if it wasn't the exact one it was very close to the Little Greene Paint's version. A really beautiful colour indeed.

    The stall holders in the Barkers I have no idea, sorry. It was at the Lincoln Antiques and Collectors Fair and you do find the same dealers there everytime if that's any help.

    As to the patchwork cushion, Jackie meant rather than pinning and sewing all of the pieces as one, to work on it in smaller vertical pieces then stitch it all together horizontally. Sorry, just read that back and it seems to still make no sense! If you iplayer the show and watch her do it again, I think it would be clearer. Am very impressed Martine that you're embracing soft furnishings, you know how much I love a cushion!

    Mark's military jacket is indeed gorgeous and I believe he bought it at a Marc Jacobs discount sale. It was the bargain of the century but with Mark you wouldn't expect anything less!

    Ian, you might have to take your relatives to Ikea....I hear the meatballs are good. (Glad you are liking the show)

    As far as plans go to another series, we are just keeping our fingers crossed. We didn't start filming the first one till quite late in September which was very frustrating as we had missed so many good shows, so we're hoping we get the green light a bit earlier in the series this time. Please let me know what you'd like to see more of if we do it again and if you have any bright ideas for new segments, let's hear 'em! Also, if you've visited any great places that you don't mind sharing with the nation, please share them with us here.

  • Comment number 67.

    I sincerely hope this programme is re-commissioned. It is miles better than the boring fare normally on. An excellent balance between information and practicality. It is a little frustrating that it isn't possible to go on the website per programme aired and see a list of where the items were purchased or who did the work. But I guess that is because of the book!

  • Comment number 68.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the series but unfortunately, I missed the very first programme on the French style boudoir and have not been able to access it via the i player. Could someone tell me what those fabulous flower candle holders are called on each side of the bed and where you found them? I have tried looking through the blog but can't find anything. Is it at all possible to list the places you visited on the website or what about a downloadable fact sheet. Hope there will be another series next year!

  • Comment number 69.

    Evening. I know, it's v frustrating that there's no proper website. I try my best answering questions through this blog, our Facebook page and my own website but I agree it would be useful. I will make sure that happens if we film another series. The candlesticks are eclesiastical ones. The dealer is called Barry, tall, always wearing a flat cap and often smoking a cigar, and is at all the big fairs. He has a big horsebox mobilehome so he's easily spotted. In the Barker's living room, it was his stall again where we found the two leather armchairs which Dean loved and had disappeared by the time we went back! Barry said the candlesticks were from Belgium and we paid £370 for the pair. I do often see similar ones, in fact at Ardingly last, I saw quite a few...

  • Comment number 70.

    Ikea? Sounds like a fitting punishment for any of my relatives if they try.

    From watching this weeks show one idea for the future would be help in identifying fakes and original items. The look on the lasses face when Mark said the HMV gramophone was made yesterday highlights that many people are afraid of investing their hard earned cash in antiques in case they buy a fake or reproduction. Not every dealer carefully labels their stock with all the pertinent details known to them and most people don't grow up surrounded by antiques. I certainly didn't and it's taken 15 years starting at the bottom dealing at car boots to earn extra beer money at uni, to acquire the knowledge I know have and I'm still learning.

  • Comment number 71.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hi chaps,
    Many thanks Kathryn for the info on the upholsterer (and on Mark's coat!) Unfortunately though, I think Brighton is a bit too far away for us. Can you give us any tips on what to look for/ask for when trying to find an upholsterer for antique furniture? My chairs have horrific fabric (it's completely rotten!) but lovely shapes and really bouncy springs that I would want to keep.
    Also any plans to do a cottage/farmhouse decorating theme?

  • Comment number 73.

    I must say out of all the show's tonight's has been my favourite. I thought the caddy was a little under priced until I saw that it was missing the caddy bowl. A period bowl will probably cost half as much as the caddy again. Victorian examples are cheaper but generally inferior quality and won't look quite right.
    I would have placed the decanters as William IV with the hollow blown mushroom stoppers but it was nice to see them.
    One suggestion for finishing the room would be a matched set of Georgian short ales. A collection of 10 could easily be amassed for around £300 with a little leg work. Georgian rummers are also relatively cheap at around £50 each for standard period examples and with their large bowls make excellent modern wine glasses. However there are a lot of Edwardian reproductions out there which are naturally not worth as much.
    Some blue and white displayed on the sideboard would have looked nice. It is also cheap at present as it is out of fashion with only Georgian examples selling, but well below the cost at the markets height especially if you go for more common patterns such as "Nuneham Courtney" or Spode's Italian. More desirable patterns such as Indian Sporting series are still commanding good money. Print quality is generally inferior on later examples but they are considerably cheaper and not noticeable unless you look closely.
    If you don't mind some damage then Josiah Wedgwood's greatest contribution to pottery, creamware is affordable. Perfect examples are costly but for pieces that are generally over 200 years old damage shouldn't put you off as long as you pay a price that reflects it's condition.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hi Kathryn & Mark, I love the show and dont want the series to end! Having only ever collected vintage clothes before, I headed straight for The Three Angels in Brighton after the first Episode. I'm now a full antique convert.

    Kathryn, I wondered if you could recommend anywhere for antique/vintage art work or wall hangings. I recently missed out on an antique Japanese silk embroidered picture at an Antiques Fair, have searched online at auction but havent found anything similiar or way too expensive unfortunately. Also recently bought an antique mirrored dressing table (think French style) but again cant find a stool that will go with it - any ideas? Thank you

  • Comment number 75.

    Cracking Antiques Wed 5 May
    I love this programme, the Georgian House was wonderful. Where did you get the lovely mix of framed prints for the dresser wall. Suggestions for similar collectables from the Bath area would be great.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi Kathryn,

    I love your programme and I'd love to do exactly what you do. I'm very new to the game and would love to visit some antique centres. I tried finding the names of the centres that you went to but being very bad at searching the website I couldn't any information. Please could you provide a list of the antique centres that you go to. I'd love to see for myself all the different furniture and possibly buy something antique!

    Thanks Vixster

  • Comment number 77.

    Hi all

    Thanks for all your comments.

    I was working at Grand Designs Live this week giving a seminar with Oliver Heath and Wayne Hemmingway all about how to furnish a home using second hand furniture. It was all very interesting as we came about it in very different ways and, of course, I had lots of beautiful pictures of all the Cracking Antiques finished rooms and the audience seemed very interested. Afterwards lots of people came up and asked me where to buy the furniture from and also how they could access the crafts people that we used? Everyone who has left comments on this blog seems to be asking the same questions...

    Since there won't be a website specifically for the show during the series, I think what I'll do is collate all the information and have a list of suppliers and craftsmen all on my personal website www.kathrynraywardinteriors.co.uk. Bear with me for a couple of days whilst I do it please. And if we are lucky enough to film a second series I'll make sure there is a proper BBC website up and running whilst the show's on.

    Sadly it's the last episode this week and it's a bit different from the rest. Roy and Katie are after something a bit retro. Well, Katie is, when you watch the show you'll see that dear old Roy wants to hang onto his hand-me-down sofas more than life itself! He even admits that his two older brothers both lost their virginities on them , reason enough for me to have thrown them out years ago!! This was the hardest episode for Mark and I as Roy was a tough cookie when it came to convincing that Mid century Modern was better than a trip down to the swedish superstore. Did we win in the end....? you'll have to watch and see.

  • Comment number 78.

    Hi Kathryn

    I love the show and especially love the textile related features such as reupholstering and soft furnishing. As a vintage fabricaholic it fills my heart when I see antique textiles being recycled. I am really hoping that there is another series in the offing as it is one of the best programmes around, thank you.

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi Kathryn,

    I've been watching Cracking Antiques-program and I am very keen on antique furnitures and quite honestly, I feel very bad when you paint nice piece of solid wood furnitures with the most bright colors...

    If someone would , it like to take off your paint, it will be a heavy job to do..

    Otherwise I like the program and your way to turn people's eye on bying good quality furnitures with a low price.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi Kathryn,
    I absolutely love Cracking Antiques, and think your doing a fantastic
    job, bringing vintage Mid century Modern classic's design back into living rooms all over Britain.

    I wanted to share this fantastic resource with you, its a website dedicated to vintage and reclaimed lighting. https://www.trainspotters.uk.com.

    Take a look,

  • Comment number 81.

    Sorry for some reason my link to the site didn't work try this.


  • Comment number 82.

    Absolutely love the programme which I stumbled upon whilst on my BBC iplayer - my only gripe being that it's only once a week!!! I think the two of you work really well together - look forward to many more inspiring ideas!

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi Kathryn, not sure whether you can help or not but I've seen a fantastic vase twice so far on the show in "general" shots and wondered if someone could give me some info on it please.

    I've stuck a picture up on tinypic to show you which one it is

    I just know it's going to be way out of my price league but it's rather gorgeous :)

  • Comment number 84.

    Hi Kathryn,

    I am really enjoying watching your show, getting inspiration for decoration and furnishing my first home.

    The antique furniture warehouses you visit on the programme look amazing - I live in the North East and was wondering if you know of anywhere like that in my region?


  • Comment number 85.

    So sad its finished :o( really short lived!
    Please do make more shows, its a cracking programme!

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Kathryn and Mark - loved the show and learned a lot from both of you. This is probably a question for Mark as on the programmes he has championed similar objects - My mother will be moving in with me soon and she has a couple of quality items of furniture which I'd like to try and sell. They're not antiques - one is a late 1950's stylish and understated solid teak dining suite, the other is a teak 'wall unit' (a combination of shelves, base cupboard and drawers, glass fronted cabinets) from the 1980's - but they were expensive when bought and are in excellent nick. I can't bear just to give them away to a charity and any suggestions would be gratefully received.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi Kathryn and Mark - What a great show. I liked it so much I am trying to locate the tartan fabric you used to re-cover the rolltop sofa shown on one of the episodes and featured on page 3 of the book of the series. I want to make over my own sofa. I have been searching for the fabric fruitlessly and now it's getting urgent as my decorator needs to know what colour to paint the living room! Please would you let me know where I can buy it. Many many thanks for this!

  • Comment number 88.

    hello there , I love the programme , I saw a re run on home+1, looking at your blog it must have gone out on april 22nd , the couple adrian and jodie ,
    you took them to a cotton mill , looks like the manchester area ,
    could you give me details of where it is , so I may visit there , Im looking for glass book cupboards .

    yours garie kan


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