We met Vera da Silva and her gorgeous little pooch Milly recently in her beautiful shop in London. Vera’s space is compact and yet she presents a truly breathtaking collection of vintage and mid century beauties from France, Brazil, Italy, Germany and Belgium. We were awestruck at a filled gallery wall of unique and unusual art from Brazil which is where Vera originates from. Vera has a natural eye for beauty and for just making a space “sing”, something that cannot really be taught – she just gets things right!
Da Silva Interiors is a true treasure trove of discovery and were we not in the business that we are, we would have certainly kept this little gem a secret just for us.
How long have you been in the business and when did it start?
Since I was 8 years old really! I used to visit the busy antiques markets in my home in Rio and I came up with a way to earn my pocket money. I used to collect and save old newspapers and then take them to the market to sell to the stall holders as packaging for their pieces. Even then, I had an appreciation for beautiful things that had already had a life and had been loved by someone else. I also used to collect bamboo from the jungle and employ people to make it into baskets so I have always been interested in art and design.
When did you come to this country and when did you start trading?
I arrived here in my late 30s and my dream was always to run my own antiques shop. I originally took a space at Alfies Antiques Market and was there for 6 years. I then had a place in Elizabeth Street before taking this shop on Ebury Road 5 years ago.
Where do you source your pieces from?
I use to travel all over the place to places like Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland to find the pieces. These days I have dealers and contacts who understand what I am looking for and they send or bring the pieces to me.
What do you do for restoration purposes?
I used to restore many of the pieces myself but now I work with a local restorer who does the work for me.
Do you have a favourite piece at the moment?
Yes, that little painting over there by a famous Brazilian artist called Waldomiro de Deus (Deus means God) and he has exhibited in many places such as Paris.
What is the most spectacular piece you have found and sold?
It was some brass legs which were made into a coffee table – they weighed 360kg and I brought them home from Brazil on the plane myself. I had them for about four years and then they sold last year at Christies.
What would you say your buying style is? You have such a varied selection of pieces.
I don’t think I have a particular style. I just buy the pieces that I love from all sorts of eras and with differing provenance.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Well, I would love to have a huge yard where there would be no limits on what I was able to buy because I would have enough space! Also, my sister live in Portugal and I would love to open an antiques place there as there are so few places like that in Portugal.
What do you do when you are not working?
I love to be outside and head off to the park. I also love spending time with my little dog Milly.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of being in the business and being your own boss?
I love the freedom of doing want I want to do – every day can be like Christmas! That said, it takes a great deal of determination to keep going sometimes.