The world’s best antique and vintage furniture stores

The eclectic experts

Alex MacArthur, Sussex“I love big pieces, both in terms of scale and impact, and there are no limits here,” says antiques dealer Alex MacArthur of her eponymous shop set in a 14th-century former Augustinian monastery in the town of Rye, on the East Sussex coast. Here, she indulges her passion for grand architectural pieces from the 17th century onwards, whether it’s a French c1890 spiral-iron staircase or an imposing 3.5m-long bronze bull she shipped over from Turin, which was snapped up for a client’s sculpture garden. Lighting is a trademark, particularly 1960s Parisian Holophane streetlights revamped for domestic use. Elisa Anniss

Galerie Half in Los Angeles offers a mélange of French, Scandinavian and American pieces © Shade Degges

Galerie Half, Los AngelesDespite its name – taken from the store’s first address in a West Hollywood alley – there is nothing fractional about Galerie Half, founded by interior designer Cliff Fong and antiques dealer Cameron Smith. Its three locations in LA’s buzzy Sycamore district attract an equally buzzy clientele, such as Diane Keaton and Ellen Degeneres. The artful curation of French, Scandinavian and American pieces is a mélange, says Smith, “that people never thought to put together but which blend seamlessly”. This might be a Pierre Jeanneret desk from Chandigarh or a 19th-century stone and iron console from France. Rima Suqi

Galerie du Passage, where owner Pierre Passebon exhibits furniture designers such as Jean Royère and Guy de Rougemont © Jacques Pepion

Galerie du Passage, ParisTucked into the glass-roofed Galerie Véro-Dodat is a treasure trove that has been visited by Princess Caroline of Monaco and Christian Louboutin. Sourcing vintage pieces from private collections, owner Pierre Passebon puts on exhibitions devoted to renowned furniture designers such as Jean Royère and Guy de Rougemont – pairing them with fetishistic photographs by filmmaker David Lynch, or images of Marlene Dietrich from his own collection. Up next: a likely one-of-a-kind lidded Gio Ponti majolica vase, made by Richard Ginori in 1923. Christina Ohly Evans

The warehouse at Retrouvius, London © Tom Fallon

Retrouvius, London “Saving things threatened with destruction” is how Adam Hills sums up the architectural- salvage business he set up with his wife, Maria Speake, over 25 years ago. They have rehoused thousands of tons of Iroko-wood lab tops from schools, museum display cases and lots of lighting – from factory pendants to a seven-tier Venini chandelier. The stock also provides a palette for Speake’s interior-design schemes – including Bella Freud’s Chiltern Street shop, which features terrazzo-column cladding from a Liverpool department store. “It’s a great example of what we do: taking a material, then giving it a little twist.” Victoria Woodcock

The specialists

The showroom at Marrakech carpet shop Lahandira

Lahandira, MarrakechHailed as the best carpet shop in Morocco, Lahandira is hidden away on the top floor of an old Roman Catholic church inside Marrakech’s warren-like medina and stacked floor to ceiling with rugs – both new and antique – handcrafted by Berber weavers. “My dad used to collect authentic Berber rugs,” says Ismail Bassidi, who took over the business 17 years ago and is quick to recall some of his most memorable finds: a rug from Boujaad, in central Morocco, woven in a faded mix of butterscotch, burgundy and peach-pink, and a midcentury magenta piece handmade by the Beni-Mguild tribe in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Baya Simons

London’s Jamb specialises in 17th- to 19th-century chimneypieces, as well as antique lighting and furniture

Jamb, London “I believe we have the most outstanding selection of chimneypieces ever to have been on the open market,” says Charlotte Freemantle. She and her husband, Will Fisher, “scour the planet” for 17th- to 19th-century examples, as well as antique lighting and furniture. Of the 300 items in stock – spread across showrooms in West Hollywood and Atlanta, as well as in their own Pimlico Road space – Fisher’s favourite is a c1777-1791 neoclassical marble chimneypiece carved by British sculptor John Bacon to commemorate peace between Great Britain and the US after the American War of Independence. Nell Card

Extra-large Murano perfume bottle, £1,525, at The Italian Collector

The Italian Collector, UmbriaFive years ago, jewellery designer Bec Astley-Clarke relocated from London to a hilltop house in Umbria. Here, the Italophile turned her passion for the country’s antiques into a business. Treasures include a 1930s lemon-adorned vase found in Venice as well as larger pieces like a 1960s brass and mirrored-glass coffee table by Romeo Rega. “I’ve trawled flea markets in Ischia and Gubbio and cantinas in Perugia and Todi, bid at auctions in Florence, negotiated with signori in private homes in Milan and Naples and attended antiques fairs in Abruzzo,” says Astley-Clarke of her eternal quest to hunt down that special find. Clare Coulson

Atelier Vime, Provence, sells restored vintage wicker and rattan furniture

Atelier Vime, ProvenceBenoît Rauzy and Anthony Watson established Atelier Vime after stumbling upon an 18th-century hôtel particulier in Vallabrègues, a Provencal village with a rich wicker-making heritage. Here, the pair began restoring 20th-century wicker and rattan furniture alongside creating an original line of contemporary pieces, designed by Raphaëlle Hanley and made from local materials by nearby artisans. But it’s the vintage pieces – emerald rattan armchairs by Janine Abraham, rope chandeliers by Audoux-Minnet and rattan daybeds by Louis Sognot – that lure the design-world fanbase. Pierre Yovanovitch, Rose Uniacke and David Netto are all regular customers. Clara Baldock

Shiprock, Santa Fe Jed Foutz is a fifth-generation dealer in rare Native American textiles and artefacts whose clients include Ralph Lauren, interior designers and Hollywood A-listers, as well as cultural institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indian. “It’s soulful,” says Foutz of his stock, which at any one time could include a classic and highly collectable 19th-century Navajo blanket or a midcentury black-on-black ceramic vessel from San Ildefonso Pueblo. The highly Instagrammable Rug Room alone is worth the trip for its historic hand-spun textiles in saturated hues of vermilion and indigo. COE

Sekisen, in Kyoto, focuses on rare bamboo flower baskets, Edo-period tea sets and painted scrolls

Sekisen, KyotoMichikazu Mizutani, a fifth-generation art dealer and an expert on Japanese history, is best known for the rare bamboo flower baskets he sells from a 125-year-old townhouse in Kyoto’s antiques-rich Ohto area. Sekisen also sells green tea and kaiseki sets – many of which date from the Edo period (17th-19th centuries) – while the store’s back room is filled with unique painted scrolls, sold by Mizutani’s equally enthusiastic sons, Yuichiro and Masaya. “We focus only on the most special pieces,” says Mizutani, whose global clients include New York’s Met and the British Museum. COE

Cedar dwarf bookcase (c1830), POA, at Simpson’s, Sydney

Simpson’s, Sydney A dealer since 1978, Andrew Simpson specialises in early colonial Australian antiques – such as a stately c1795-1800 set of cedar drawers with original brass plate handles and escutcheons – which he sells from his home in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore. He’s written books on Australian furniture and art pottery – another focus – while a star veneered Oyster Bay pine circular table that he sold to the Australiana Fund is used for the swearing-in of prime ministers at Government House in Canberra. VW

Midcentury masters

As well as midcentury Scandinavian furniture, Stockholm-based Jackson stocks ceramics, glass, lighting and textiles

Jacksons, Stockholm Fashion designer Sophie Hulme is one of many midcentury fans who source furniture from Paul and Carina Jackson. The couple founded their eponymous gallery in Stockholm in 1981 with an emphasis on Scandinavian pieces. Their inventory spans ceramics, glass, lighting and textiles, but it’s the rare and covetable furniture that makes Jacksons a must-visit. The lust list currently includes a Josef Frank découpage Flora cabinet, a curvy 1950s Alvar Aalto pine screen and immaculate Hans Wegner armchairs in oak and cane. CC

Wyeth at Sagaponack, in the Hamptons, mixes American and European vintage modern

Wyeth, The HamptonsIn the 25 years since Wyeth debuted in TriBeCa, owner John Birch has come to be called “a Larry Gagosian for the interior-decorator set”, with a following that includes Tomas Maier and Gwyneth Paltrow. His original mix of European and American vintage modern pieces with tribal, industrial and found objects remains much the same today, although Wyeth’s sole location is now Sagaponack, in The Hamptons. The discerning assortment might include sofas by Edward Wormely and Dieter Rams, or lamps by Lee Rosen and Gino Sarfatti, but it’s the more unusual pieces that often end up being the stars of the space: a telescope from the 1920s or a 1960s leather bear sculpture. RS

Original In Berlin is a 10,000sq ft showroom dedicated to midcentury-modern furniture

Original in Berlin, BerlinIt was a fascination with “old cars and ’50s music” that prompted Lars Triesch to start collecting midcentury modern furniture 10 years ago. “It’s a whole lifestyle,” he says. What started as a small patch on Karl-Marx-Allee has transformed into a 10,000sq ft showroom frequented by the likes of gallerist Johann König and musician Paul Simon. Armchairs by Hans J Wegner, Gio Ponti lamps and Jean Prouvé credenzas are among the most treasured items to have passed through Triesch’s 2,000-strong collection, but the piece he wishes he’d never parted with is a hand-carved door by American sculptor Harold Balazs. “I’m usually not attached to things,” he says. “For me, it’s the hunt for the unknown, unique thing that’s the fun part.” Rosanna Dodds

The treasure seekers

Michael Trapp’s Connecticut store – Trapp sources everywhere from Borneo to Boston © Rachel Robshaw

Michael Trapp, Connecticut“I love 17th-century European textiles, objects created when two cultures collide, and, above all, anything from nature,” says Michael Trapp, whose 1830s Greek Revival house in bucolic West Cornwall is an Aladdin’s cave of Peloponnesian oil jars, Iranian tribal carpets and immense teak tables from Borneo. The walls burst with butterfly specimens, taxidermy birds, ostrich eggs and rare shells from Trapp’s travels – in a typical year, he ventures from south-east Asia to Europe to the north shore of Boston, where he sources from old whaling captains’ houses. “I have a curious mind – I’m always looking for the whimsical,” he says. COE

“If you love it, mix it and it will work”: Lorfords, in the Cotswolds, features 5,000 pieces of decorative antique furniture and objets d’art

Lorfords, Gloucestershire In Toby Lorford’s capacious Cotswolds showrooms – a former bus garage and two aircraft hangars on the outskirts of Tetbury – you’ll find 5,000 pieces of decorative antique furniture and objets d’art, from a 19th-century Alpine sleigh to a c1770 Swedish tragsoffa. “We specialise in what I fall in love with – the unique and beautiful,” says Lorford, who set up shop in 2003. His “if you love it, mix it and it will work” philosophy has drawn a local crowd: the Beckhams, Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman and restaurateur-turned-hotelier Marco Pierre White. Lucie Muir

The French House’s York showroom

The French House, YorkFor 25 years, Stephen Hazell and Kathryn Wakefield have been turning journeys to their home in France into buying trips. “We go to country-house sales, auctions and village fairs,” says Wakefield. “We are also approached by local residents, who know us as the English couple who buy antiques.” Their finds have made The French House the place in the UK for interior designers to buy the perfect rustic farmhouse table, an 1800s Louis XV-style overmantle mirror or an upholstered 19th-century Marie Antoinette bed. Mark C O’Flaherty

Italian architectural salvage such as giant clock faces, ornate mirrors and late-18th-century wig cabinets can be found at Florence’s Luca Workshop

Luca Workshop, Florence If a Hollywood art director was creating an “Italian antique shop” set, the result would no doubt resemble Luca Rafanelli’s store. Just south of the Arno and Ponte Alla Carraia, it’s the place to pick up Italian architectural salvage – giant clock faces, fabulously ornate mirrors and late-18th-century wig cabinets. “I don’t focus on a certain period,” says Rafanelli. “The original patina is what is important to me. My pieces end up in country villas and Manhattan lofts.” MCOF @lucaworkshop