Tooth and Claw is not, by any means, the only e-store promising to bring us vintage lighting and home accessories – “vintage” is the buzziest of buzz words in interior circles. However, the founders of this site, Andrea Webster and Jamie Carless, have a quirky aesthetic honed in the subcultures of the fashion and music scenes, so their take on the vintage look is refreshingly original. The period they deal in – 1920s to 1970s – may be familiar but the pieces are not: forget clean-lined, midcentury Scandinavian modernism and think stylised 1950s lamp stands made from brass and pottery (midcentury modernist American 1950s Thunderbird lamps, £165) and boudoir chic leatherette stools (1950s Chesterfield-style waisted stool, £90; third picture).
The site is divided into nine departments ranging from “Art and Objet” through to “Living Room”, via “Barwear”, “Bedroom/Bathroom”, “Dining/Tableware”, “Gifts for Her”, “Gifts for Him”, “Kitchen” and “Lighting”. However, this is not a place for targeted shopping – not many consumers would arrive at the site knowing they wanted a 1930s tie press for example (£35) but having seen those decorative nautical stars and sections of inlaid burr walnut veneer, few would be able to resist adding it to their basket, especially during the festive season.
The 1930s Odeon art-deco decanter and shot glasses (first picture, £85) and midcentury glass and copper coffee set (second picture, £60) would also make ideal gifts. This latter piece was made by German glass manufacturer Jena Schott Mainz, who was instrumental in the Bauhaus movement and produced heatproof glass for teapots designed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld – facts to be discovered by clicking on “open item description”. Background information is a vital part of the vintage shopping experience and these product biographies have been written with considerable care. Webster and Carless clearly know and love their specialism.
Virtual vintage stores often never quite capture the dusty charms of their bricks-and-mortar siblings but Tooth and Claw, with its low-lit home page and distinctive voice, comes pretty close.