He’s a third generation antiques dealer and interior decorator, inspired by his grandfather whose house always fascinated him. Jack Laver Brister fully embraces the opportunities of the online world to ply his trade, mostly selling via his successful Instagram account @tradchap.
He describes his style as “comfortable, lovable country house interiors, with a layered, lived-in look”. As such, his stock of antiques invariably includes glazed cabinets, comfortable antique sofas and decorative items found on his travels.
Why should people be interested in antiques?
They are beautiful things, well made, and will outlive any modern thing that are from chain home stores. They usually are cheaper and each one is unique.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
I have had real success recently with sofas. People like a comfortable, traditional sofa that you can sink into, and use without being too precious. I think people are braver with pattern, and my pre-owned chintz curtains are also popular.
Anything properly made – good, solid Georgian furniture is always a good investment. And anything that you can use that is practical and beautiful that you enjoy long after the price is forgotten.
Which are the ones to watch/future?
As I said, patterned fabric is coming back in, and I firmly believe that the so-called ‘full look’ is coming back in – the peak of minimalism has passed.
What antiques do you have at home/collect and why?
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
I do not think any of the 0% interest furniture so popular today is made to last, so that will not be. I think a return to traditional techniques and longevity, rather then immediate value for money, is needed.
How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?
Regretfully, independent antiques shops in towns are a thing of the past. People seem to be turning to social media, such as Instagram, to source and inspire. I am pleased to see large antique centres are still opening up, where multiple dealers are present.
Tell us some trade secrets – what questions should buyers be asking?
I also enquire on the age – check whether the item is original. If it says ‘style’, i.e. Georgian style – it is normally not of that period.
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
Chinese import porcelain, Regency furniture and early portraits. The joy of this though, is that I own a lot of these items, albeit damaged, but still aesthetically acceptable and usable.
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
A riveted china bowl and lustre.
The Bath and West showground Flea Market and Lewes.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
Not checking the size and being too picky on condition.
Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?
The growth of social media has transformed the industry – I have a lot of young followers looking for their house to have their own identity.