My best auction buy: Jules Haines07 June 2021 Jules Haines, founder of The Haines Collection
With over a decade working in interiors, Jules Haines has seen first-hand the high volume of waste the industry creates. So, a few years ago, she set up The Haines Collection with a mission to reduce waste by selling leftover designer fabrics and accessories.
Tell us about your favourite auction find.
A number of years ago we moved to Singapore and needed all new furniture. I was determined not to head to Ikea and buy brand new so I bought a huge wooden dining table from a local auction.
It is now our kitchen dining table, which is approximately 1m wide and 2.5m long. It is apparently made from old railway sleepers reworked to create a table. The top was just sandblasted so you could feel the ripples of the grain and all of the knots and holes – you can feel the tops of old nails deep in the wood. It had some contemporary silver metal legs, so I love the contrast of old and new, and the rough matt top and shine of the bottom.
I loved that it was made from reclaimed wood and was such an interesting piece, everyone who sat on it had to run their hands over it so it was the tactile draw of it too. It looked traditional contemporary which is my favourite mix.
It's unusual. Tell us about how it came to you.
We bought it from an auction house in Singapore (as we were living there at the time) and that was just over 10 years ago. I enjoy the fact that it had a life before us on a railway, it was upcycled, and now is part of our family history, reminding us of when we lived abroad.
What a journey it’s been on – how has it adapted to family life?
Well because of its uneven surface we used to have to have a mini hoover for it to get out all the crumbs at the end of a meal. Then we had children and they rammed pasta, pesto and Cheerios in the holes and it became a bit of a health hazard – it was impossible to get totally clean!
We approached a local carpenter who cleaned it up for us, filled in the holes and poured a thin layer of resin over it, and so for the first time in a decade, we could wipe it clean in one sweep!
We still have it in the kitchen, and it is used day in day out. We still love it for its slightly uneven surface, unique look, and with the resin the grain is dark-look so, actually, you can see its beauty so much better now.
Regular readers here will know how much we love being green – so if you’re on the lookout for high-end fabric or material to restore your own antique or vintage pieces, Jules’s curated collection of surplus interiors fabrics – often at vastly reduced prices – is well-worth a browse.