Sharon Dale talks to vintage specialist Numi Solomons
Numi Solomons is a vintage and antiques specialist and co-owner of the Stonehouse Emporium on Skinner Street, Whitby.
A former knitwear designer and a stall holder at Portobello market for many years, she moved from London to Whitby 21 years ago.
She lives in Sleights with her best friend and business partner Charles O’Connor, a member of Irish folk rock band The Horslips, and her daughter Aphra, 19, who is also studying sculpture in London.
The Stonehouse supplies film and TV companies and was a favourite with set designers of Heartbeat.
It also supplies hotels, restaurants, and bars, plus members of the public who love something different, weird and wonderful. Vintage veteran Numi also runs a finding service for difficult to locate objects.
Q: Describe your style
A: I’d say it is neo-baroque theatrical meets Captain Scarlet. Charles and I have very eclectic tastes, and find room in our house for items that are too weird or ugly to sell in the shop. Our last house in the centre of Whitby was sparse Georgian and it wasn’t until we moved we realised we had over sixty mirrors. It was nothing to do with vanity, we just like reflections.
Q: What is your favourite piece of furniture and why?
A: Do mirrors count as furniture? We have a collection of old convex mirrors of all different sizes on one wall. They all have gilt frames and are just wonderful as they give strange reflections. They’re a a bit reminiscent of a fairground and change the perspectives of the environment.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from ?
A: Old Hollywood films and we vintage interior magazines, of which we have hundreds, art exhibitions and dreams. Anything can be a point of inspiration.
Q: Where do you shop for homeware?
A: Auctions and vintage shops mainly but I like Matalan for plain china, and glasses. It’s cheap and cheerful, which is good as we break so much.
Q: Are there any designers/collections/pieces you’re excited about right now?
A: Rainbow Winters is producing, sound and light reactive clothing, which is astonishing. Lady Gaga wore one of their dresses and it is only a matter of time before someone produces furnishing fabric that can change colour when it reacts to sound, heat, light etc. It;s all very “Star Trekky”.
Q: Where is your ideal home?
I love our new home in Sleights, near Whitby, which has river frontage, and spectacular views of the Esk Valley, but if we could have warmer weather more often it would be perfect. Could we count a pied a terre in New York as well?
Q: What is on your interiors wish list?
A: An indoor swimming pool with marble columns and hot and cold running waiters.
Q: What’s the best item you’ve ever bought for your home?
A: Definitely the two huge leather sofas that we got from an auction years ago. They were too big to go in the shop for sale so we brought them home. They’re great as they can double as spare beds when we are inundated with guests.
Q: How do you relax at the end of the day?
A: I play croquet outdoors or Bananagram indoors. If it is a warm night. I sit in the garden and drink copious amounts of wine.