Specialising in decorative, rare & unusual antiques and fine art from around the world, James Gooch of Doe & Hope is an expert treasure hunter. Leaving his career in film to pursue his passion for vintage treasures and antiques James has grown his antiques business into a successful online store and gallery house with his antique treasures often used as props in many large film and television productions including Game of Thrones.
Of course, when someone loves sourcing antique treasures as much as James Gooch does you know that their home is bound to be spectacular! Living in a gorgeous Grade II listed property with his family, James' love of unique finds with a history is clear to see and his home is truly one-of-a-kind. Keen to know more about James, we've sat down with him to hear more about his business, home and favourite RSG pieces...
1. Let’s start at the very beginning. Tell us about yourself?
I’m a 35-year-old antique and fine art dealer living in rural Bedfordshire with my wife, Jade, a videographer, and our two children, Bertie and Matilda.
2. Your business, Doe & Hope specialises in vintage treasures and antiques. When did you start the business and what inspired you to become an antique dealer?
I started in 2009 after my wife and I moved out to Saffron Walden (we met in television while working on celebrity big brother of all things!). It was there that I became interested in antiques again while we were finding pieces for our seventeenth-century cottage. I was in the junk and antique shops a lot and realised it was a direction that I wanted to take so I quit my job at lovelfilm.com (now amazon prime) and took a part-time job in an antiques centre for two days a week to run alongside my new venture, which I did for four years. It was very difficult starting from scratch. The inspiration is always those objects that talk to you and are able to change the mood of a room instantly.
3. Your house is a beautiful Grade II listed property called Shoe Cottage. What is the history behind your home and was it love at first sight when you first viewed it?
The house was a repossession so when we bought it in 2011 it was in need of a lot of work but we did get it at a great price. We knew we had to buy it as soon as we looked around as it had an old onion barn adjacent to the house which is where I work from. The house dates to around the 1660s and was named shoe cottage at some point in the late 19th or early 20thC when a child's leather shoe was found behind the fireplace. Folk used to place children's shoes and cat heads or bodies behind fireplaces or under floorboards to ward off evil spirits. The charming little shoe is displayed above the fireplace today.
4. You describe your house style as theatrical. Talk us through the décor choice?
I only present and buy objects and items that change the mood of the room, the décor is very much about the atmosphere that surrounds the object and if it is decorative, rare and unusual it will speak to me. Items need to be unrestored so they are able to tell their story.
5. You are currently renovating your home. What has been the biggest decorating challenge that you faced during your renovations?
With houses like this, the light is always at a premium so you have to try to bring as much light in wherever possible. The new extension means we can bring the bathroom upstairs and brings a contemporary feel with bifolds and a clean look which is a nice juxtaposition to the timber frames. The biggest challenge is the planning and conservation of the building as it is listed and in a conservation area so everything has to be spot on, even down to the type of weave and reeds used on the thatch.
6. Your home is full of one-off pieces and vintage treasures. Where is the first place that you look for unusual pieces?
There are many avenues with which to search nowadays. Instagram, being very visual means dealers have their inventory’s on display at all times, offline I have a clutch of shops I visit in my surrounding area which I check in to every now and again. Obviously, I also pour over auction catalogues and have private clients who I also buy from.
7. What is your favourite room in your home and why?
The open plan living room with the large open fireplace with log burner is special in winter, particularly at Christmas time. The house comes alive then as it is a cosy room. The vaulted ceilings in our master bedroom make that another favourite.
8.Is there any item in your home that has a sentimental value and why?
It is mainly the small trinkets that are sentimental, like my wedding ring which is an 18thc posy ring and a George III coin that my Grandfather gave to me.
9. What exciting things are in store for Doe & Hope in 2018?
We have a collaboration with a brilliant sculptor, Beth Carter, to show an exclusive line of her surreal and imaginative work, and it is an honour to represent her. We are also appearing on Drew Pritchard’s Salvage Hunters and hope to have an open day in the summer at our new premises at the Old Forge which is in the next village along from us.
10. Finally, name three new RSG products that you love?
Quick Fire Questions
- I am happiest when… there’s some wine in the belly!
- My favourite magazine is… Antiques Trade Gazette.
- My dream holiday would be… I want to go to Tokyo.
- My ideal day would be spent… pottering around antique shops, a great pub lunch, then a good drink with good people
- My personal motto is… be yourself.
- My guilty pleasure is… a flutter on the horses.
- The last film I saw was… Phantom Thread.
- My favourite book is… An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.
- In five years’ time, I want to be… One of the top dealers in the world.
- The three things I can’t live without are… red wine, iPhone, family.