A highlight of my weekly routine is my Thursday night perusal through the Lots Road Auctions online catalogue. Lately, I’ve been looking for 2 things: a day bed to use as a banquette (because I’m too fickle to build a permanent one into my alcove) and a corner cabinet to smooth the path from my bedroom door past a bulky wooden wardrobe to my window. It’s fair to say that something in the catalogue catches my eye every week but this week a lot made me so excited that I emailed the link to everyone I know (almost). I was in love with a boat! A boat that has been converted into a wine rack! To get around the inconvenience of not actually ever buying wine to drink at home, I decided that, if I won it, I would fill the cubbies with baskets and use them to store my accessories. The boat would be my corner cupboard.
Lots Road Auctions do accept online commission bids (which I use from time to time) but I wanted to see the lot in real life before I committed. So, on the Sunday of the auction, I made the long tube journey from Chalk Farm to Chelsea, picked up a coffee from Megan’s (more on that in an upcoming post) and started my hunt around the showroom. The showroom is vast (the rent on the place must be colossal which perhaps partially explains the 20% buyer’s premium and extortionate storage fees) and filled to the brim with furniture stacked on furniture, all of which is for sale. Any lots which can be used as seats are arranged facing forward so the potential buyers can make themselves comfortable and watch the auction unfold. Even if I’m not interested in anything in particular, I can be thoroughly amused by the auctioneer, Nick Carter (not of Backstreet Boys fame). Nick is a comic whiz who remarked last week that a horse head sculpture made of drift wood would be perfect for a vegetarian member of the mafia! If that doesn’t make sense – read the wiki entry for The Godfather
Anyway, last week I was particularly interested in the boat. When the auction began, I took a seat near the front on a cream leather sofa by Vincent Sheppherd and clutched on to my bidding card trying to ignore the butterflies in my tummy. I’m always petrified of spontaneous twitches that result in me buying an antique Romanian rug, or some such article or an inability to stop bidding when I reach my limit. I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t afflicted with either and I managed to survive the auction unscathed, except for the fact that when it ended I owned a boat! The auction house prefers that all sold lots are cleared on the day of sale but will store them for you until Tuesday lunchtime without charge. I contemplated how to get the boat home (tube and Thames crossed my mind) and put in a call to mum and dad. I’m surprised that they still answer their phone on Sundays but they did and they agreed to help, thank goodness.
So now there’s a boat opposite my bed. Since it’s been there I’ve been drifting to sleep thinking about travelling and adventures. Every time I see it I smile because it’s beautiful and because it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime find. And you can’t get that from Ikea!
Lots Road Auction
71-73 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0RN
Auction day: Sunday from 10am