Having moved to Southsea for all the independent businesses, the first thing that struck me was just how many interior shops there actually are! What I love about Southsea is that there’s a lot packed into a relatively small area. For an interior enthusiast like me, you can spend an entire day covering all the shops and buying favourite items to take home. Over the last year living and working here, I have spent time getting to know the business owners and, having bought and trailed home with many items for my house, I thought it would be nice to put together an ‘Interiors Trail’ and share my love of these shops.
My plan was to walk the breadth of Southsea in one day. In reality, I had to cover it over two days because I spent so much time talking to each shop owner. Oops! However, if you arent as much of a chatterbox as me you could easily do this in one day.
Starting on Castle Road, as this is 5 minutes from my house, I set off. Castle Road has a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can potter at a steady pace and then venture off to other parts of Southsea in minutes. The clock tower is very impressive and easy to spot if you’re looking at Castle Road as it stands at the heart of the area. First I popped into Roberts, on the corner. This shop always has plenty of interesting things to buy but is famous for the chairs it has in stock. And they always seem to have a good selection of Chesterfields sofas in! My favourite piece here was a green, high back Chesterfield chair that would look great in the corner of any room.
Next, I popped along to Hillfield Trading which has gone through some renovations over the last 3 weeks. The picture framer, Chris is now across the road and the Barbership has moved into the back area of the shop. There is a real buzz in there now and lots of plans for new traders to move in. Clive set up Hillfield Trading 6 years ago and it sells not only interior pieces but clothing with his own brand, having built up a great reputation.
When I asked for a quote about the business he replied: “(his) the business doesn’t have an ego, I just like the shop to speak for itself". It is such an interesting place, selling old cameras, copper pots and lighting by Spin 360. Clive said that his work is also his hobby and you can see that, especially in the new pieces he has renovated and sold before he has even had the chance to finish off the display in the window! Clive used to spend a lot of time renovating and painting furniture to sell and has plans to pursue this again now he has more space after the shop renovations. Downstairs is a showroom for old record players for Pie and Vinyl, the famous record store/cafe that sits a couple of doors up the road. My favourite piece in here was the lighting by Spin 360; it is well crafted, built to last and will stand the test of time.
Brocante was the next interior shop. An antique delight with 4 traders inside that offers a wide range of eclectic items to buy. The prices are so good and the quality of the pieces available is amazing. Dave Evans has owned this little Aladdin’s cave for 4 years but been in the business for a lot longer, even appearing on antique programmes! He is held in high regard on the road and across Southsea with his expertise, gentle nature and is always very welcoming to customers. I found a very desirable 1960’s rocket chair, ideal for an outside space, for £35.00! Cheaper than buying a new, modern version and still an iconic piece. I also found a lovely mirror priced at £25.00. If I didn’t have a similar one already I would have bought it then and there.
Moving down the road, I ventured into Revive Interiors. A place that is just as famous for all the paints in stock as much as the selection of interior pieces to buy. Authentico is the name of the brand of chalk paint for sale and I have used them myself, painting some old drawers in a lovely blue colour. I took a drawer in for Lorraine, who is the shop owner, to show me the various techniques of waxing so I could finish and protect the drawer. There was a huge variety of wax colours which meant I could make my drawers look as dark as I wanted. I decided on the clear wax for now, which can be buffed, and it gave a lovely, shiny finish to protect the paint from grease marks and scratches. Also for sale were metallic paints which could be added to the end of concrete pots (very fashionable right now) or a nice addition to any other creative projects you fancy doing. It’s very good quality paint and Lorraine offers painting workshops, which is a great way to spend a couple of hours. Do pop in and see when the next workshops are so you can learn tips and tricks to make the most of these quality products. My favourite piece in here, apart from the metallic paint, was this fabulous butterfly picture for £40 that would look just the part on a gallery wall.
Walking down Kent Road I headed off to Marmion Road and hit the first shop, Dukes Of Southsea. This shop has an old French style to it with a modern edge. Being the local stockist for Annie Sloan you can buy all their paints in there. What I love though is all the interior accessories! A fan of Grey, I found these glass candlestick holders at a reasonable price. The small one is £10.95 and the larger one is £19.95. Classy and timeless is how I would describe them, able to compliment any dining table.
Across the road is a brand new kitchen showroom, Beau-Port Kitchens. It caught my eye as they had lovely, modern twists incorporated into what could have just been a standard kitchen, adding big pieces of natural wood to the end of countertops to create an island for example. Offering bespoke kitchens handmade in the UK by skilled craftsmen, they use high-quality German kitchen furniture by Rotpunkt and offer quite imaginative designs to add that extra “wow" factor to your home. I fell in love with the industrial lights above the island in the showroom.
Further down the road sits Design House. Initially, it seems to display an upmarket, seaside style of interiors but when you step deeper into the store you find a whole lot more! The new lighting pieces caught my attention and they actually have a large lighting section full of different styles. Being a new stockist of Little Greene paint I loved the exterior paint selection, which included some really cool and unusual colours. Design House not only offers furniture and interior pieces but also has a great interior design team, ready to help on projects for your home whether it’s one room or a whole house. There is a great service here to be utilised. My favourite pieces were the Birdie pendant range with both sets of pendants offering a lovely natural element and a great price of £55.00. They also offer a wide selection of side tables that I really liked as they can be moved around from room to room to offer something new to a variety of spaces.
Next stop was Victoriana, which actually owns the last 3 interior shops on this road. Two of them being a showroom and one next door to Strong Island being a small warehouse of sorts. Offering a range of furniture from reproductions to antiques as well as some salvaged bits, it has an eclectic style. The great big original Armoire dating from 1880 caught my eye; it would make a fabulous pantry if your kitchen is big enough to carry one off! Victoriana has a kitchen showroom at the back, which has a Shaker feel to it, and they offer a bespoke service. So whatever size your kitchen is, you can have something to suit your space. The showroom on the corner offers a more modern furniture collection with sofas in bright colours and contemporary styles.
That brings me to the end of the first part of my trail and the next part takes me onto Albert Road. A wander down here gives off a real mixture of earthy urban energy. Check back soon to see what treasures I discovered down this hub of Southsea businesses.
By Louise O’Brien