Antiques Trade Talks – Three Front Doors

Sarah Crysell of Three Front Doors antiquesHaving had several careers, Sarah Crysell started Three Front Doors 10 years ago. Pre-Covid she was based in a shop, then moved to sell online and standing at fairs. In 2024, she took on a permanent base in the Rye Emporium on the East Sussex coast. Three Front Doors veers towards a Modern Rustic aesthetic with a sprinkling of mid-century finds. Decorative items and patina are the biggest loves. Find out more at and follow Sarah on Instagram at @threefrontdoors.

What is the unique appeal of antiques

Where do I start? Uniqueness, history, aesthetic, craftsmanship, I could go on and on. For me, antiques and vintage pieces just make my heart sing. When you get the right piece for just the right place in your home it will make you smile every time you see them.  Hunting pieces down, researching their history and passing them on – its the perfect job!

What areas/items are currently selling well

Tables and cabinets always sell well but I think mid-century chairs and lighting, decorative items and art are becoming more and more popular. Smalls are a great starting point for someone wanting to dip their toes into the water and it’s great that there is so much more awareness now of how sustainable antiques are.

Which are the ones to watch/future sellers

Mid-century pieces will continue to grow but prices are creeping up so that may start to affect the market.  Antiques is not just about furniture, and vintage is not just about clothes, so rugs, fabric, blankets, art and wall hangings are becoming more sought after as customers seek to create texture and layers at home.  

What antiques do you have at home/collect and why

I definitely practice what I preach! I think the only new items in my home are the white goods, even our kitchen is made from free-standing antique furniture. A real mix of mid-century, quirky and rustic is dotted everywhere. 

What do you think will be the antiques of the future

There is definitely a rise of the mid-late 20th century pieces coming onto the market with vintage designer-led Ikea pieces, Habitat and Conran for example, but given the amount of mass-produced items from the 21st century, I think the antiques of today will still be the antiques of the future. I hope to god I never hear the words ‘that’s a great vintage Wayfair piece’.

How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future

The industry has changed just in the time that I have been in it full time. Brexit has harmed the industry with less dealers coming to the UK fairs, additional red tape in going to Europe – both pushing prices up, but on the positive side Covid has forced more dealers to go online which can only be a good thing. The cost of living crisis we are in has slowed sales in the industry, as it has in many others, but we will emerge from it leaner and meaner and stronger.  

Is new technology good for the trade and buyers/collectors

Without a doubt, we have to embrace it. Social media has brought antiques and vintage to the fore and its popularity will continue to grow and grow because of it. That’s good for sellers as you can be exposed to many more buyers who you would not normally meet stood in a shop or at a fair. There is still some resistance to this from many dealers as it takes a lot of work but those that embrace it will grow.

Tell us some trade secrets

If you buy online, double check the measurements before you buy – enough said (lol).

What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object

The list would be very long! Definitely a Sirocco Safari chair by Arne Norell, a B&B Italia sofa and any antique small cupboard with loads of patina.

You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy

I’m loving amber-coloured, Victorian hyacinth vases at the moment – spring is almost here.

Alongside fairs, where are your favourite antique hunting destinations and why

Luckily, you can hunt down an antique anywhere. I still love a rummage in a charity shop and you can’t beat the thrill of an auction.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make – what questions should they ask

At a fair, buyers should engage more with the dealers. Dealers have a wealth of information about the pieces they are selling and they may give you a better deal if you just stop and chat. There is not an automatic discount at a fair just because you have seen it on TV.

Online, always check the condition of the piece – always ask for more photos or details if you are not sure. Also triple check delivery process and costs from the seller so you are happy with how it will get to you. Also check you can get the item in your door, up the stairs etc.  

What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques

For me, it’s all about the people. I have met and continue to meet fabulous dealers both via social media and in the real world. Genuinely, this industry is full of characters and it is a real community, particularly at the fairs. 

Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them

Definitely. The younger buyers are more interested in vintage rather than what they perceive as stuffy, old brown antiques. They understand the importance of sustainability much more than our generation so I do believe that antiques and vintage will be totally embraced by the next generation. I also see an increase in younger dealers and, of course, younger female dealers, which is brilliant. My eldest daughter is looking to get into the industry, which would be amazing – she has a great eye.  

What advice would you give to people new to antiques who want to learn more

Define your style, your starting budget and then research, research, research. Luckily, the internet is on our side and now with reverse image search technology its quicker, too.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and let some things go. In the early days I held onto too many items that I loved but no-one else did – sometimes you just have to move on and get the next thing you love that will sell.