With its old-fashioned window, Floral Hall is a constant in Crouch End, its shop floor creaking with faded French grandeur. Gilt overmantel mirrors may not be in top-notch nick but, with prices starting from around £300, they are ideal for those in search of the battered look – and a bargain. Early 20th-century chandeliers range from £250 to £2,000 and there’s normally some nice furniture pieces too – an art deco bedside table, say, or a pair of French café chairs, as well as a good range of original lamps. Call before visiting in August as, in true French style, the shop usually closes.
If faded French glamour is your thing, Floral Hall is your place. A fixture in Crouch End for as long as anyone can remember, Andrew Sorrell’s store is packed with the sort of tastefully worn decorative antiques that defined shabby chic before the term was hijacked by anyone with a can of Farrow & Ball. Splendid 19th-century gilt overmantel mirrors start at £350, and there is usually a good selection of artfully rusting garden furniture. Smarter pieces include handsome French furnishings – an art deco cabinet, say, some Louis XIV armchairs or leather clubchairs, usually an armoire or two. As interesting are the smaller glassware and objets d’art that have caught Andrew’s eye during his regular buying trips to Paris and southern France. Just be aware that these mean the shop closes for around a week each month (call first) and for three in August.