Tippi- 144 Bruntsfield Place
A dark, dank, drizzly and wet Wednesday afternoon in Bruntsfield was certainly brightened up this week with the opening of Tippi, a shop striving to make the past the present and one which succeeds wholeheartedly in its ambitions. The childhood dream of owner Anna Marchant it has been several years in the planning but since the start of this year, after her father sadly passed away, Marchant acquired the focus, time and wherewithal to turn it into a seriously viable proposition.
Originating from Cumbria and growing up in a household furnished with second hand furniture ,due to financial restrictions, Marchant from a young age recognised beauty in what others were prepared to reject as old fashioned or simply obsolete. Alongside the knowledge she was acquiring Marchant swiftly discovered that she also had great natural instincts in such matters and has spent the last several years attending auctions honing and using her adept skills to refashion, renovate and restore old furniture, antiques and other items of curio value alongside anything else which caught her observant and knowing eye.
The frontage of the shop-designed by her assistant Bill Dewar- is clever in the fact that it both stands out from a distance whilst blending in quite comfortably with its surroundings. The window display is eye-catching, innovative and slightly kooky but somehow remains welcoming and exuding a certain warmth which reflects Marchant’s personality.
This warmth translates to the name which is the name of her Border Terrier,Tippi, who greets you with a boundless enthusiasm-it is notably a dog friendly as well as friendly dog shop- when you enter. The name also pays homage to the Hitchcock blonde Tippi Hedren and referencing her most notable film ‘The Birds’ there are a number of stuffed birds-and other animals-throughout the shop. This ambience is furthered by the fact that each section feels like it could be part of a Hitchcock-or some other- film set.
The layout of the shop is both fantastic and deceiving. From the outside it appears to be a regular curio and artefacts shop but after passing through the main body of the shop- where the feeling of stepping into another dimension where time is irrelevant due to the vast array of clocks all set at different times- and down a long deranged hallway which can’t fail to draw you in, decked out with some seriously funky leopard print wall paper, wayward coat stands, mirrors and even more taxidermy, you find yourself in a room which is straight out of the Ealing comedy classic ‘The Lady Killers’. Doubling up as storage space and shop some of the more notable features in this area include a random violin case, a roll top desk and refashioned kitchen units stockpiled with Hornsea Pottery and tea-sets whilst Babycham glasses jostle for space with Lurpak butter dishes.
Whilst this all may sound random it somehow all pulls together quite cohesively and is expertly arranged so that whilst there is always something to distract the eye everything has its own space so it is never cluttered but instead presented with a charm and style which is wholly unique.
As if this wasn’t enough there is also a downstairs section which houses some beautiful pieces of furniture including a chaise-longue, a spoon chair and a simply stunning Art Deco dressing table.
The great thing about this emporium of treats –think needful things you never even knew you needed- is that it juxtaposes the old with the new and this is an area Marchant is keen to pursue as she sees new items as antiques of the future. In a way her job will be to sort out what will be worthwhile from current and recent times and sell it alongside more established and not so established classics. She also offers a sourcing service so if you are unable to find whatever you want then she will seek it out for you. There is also a renovation and restoration service on some items as she believes it is better to offer the client exactly what they want and let them make the decisions concerning its final look.
Aside from the antiques side of things she is also planning on offering wall space to artists and selling hand made cushions. Seeing herself as an alternative to the bland uniform of IKEA Furniture, Marchant wants to awaken people to the fact they don’t need to follow a template for a lifestyle but can instead create their own individual look by merely jazzing up what they already have with a few select pieces.
As it turns out I was the first person in the shop after it opened and in the hour and a half I was there an impressively steady stream of customers made their way through the doors and I also witnessed her first celebrity sale to internationally renowned artist-and ex of Tilda Swinton- John Byrne as well as several others. The response from everyone who came in was beyond positive and most made purchases-much to Marchant’s uncontained delight- whilst promising to return at a later date. The window display was constantly evolving during my short tenure due to items being purchased showing that, with Tippi, Bruntsfield may well have a new top dog on its hands.
Tippi-144 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4ER, Edinburgh.
Telephone-(0131) 229 4422
Monday -Thursday 10.30 am -6pm
Friday- Saturday 10.30am -5,30pm
A Tippi website is in the final stages of construction and will be up and running in the very near future. Details to follow.