2301 - Antique dealers Spencer & Freya Swaffer

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At the age of eleven, Spencer Swaffer had a 'museum' in his bedroom, consisting of curiosities and antiquities he had picked up around the jumble sales and junk shops of Brighton. When a local antiques dealer heard about it, he came to have a look and offered Spencer £50 for three Egyptian scarab beads. It was a moment of epiphany: "I realised I much preferred the £50 to being curator of a dusty room". Spencer bought his first shop thirty years ago at the age of twenty-two - now his premises in Arundel, west Sussex, are one of the most established antiques shops in the business, specialising particularly in French country pieces. He and his wife, Freya, live five minutes away in a handsome double-fronted house that dates from the 17th century, but has been Georganised and then Victorianised over the years. It was Freya who evolved the rich palette of colours that seem to make the house glow from the inside. Between them, they have created a home that is primarily comfortable, but which also makes a strong visual statement. They share it with assorted cats, dogs and children. Writer helenchislett@btinternet.com

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