Whenever I buy a piece for my antiques shop, Guinevere, I ask myself: "Could I live with this?". I do this because if it doesn't sell, I may well have to. My mother, who founded the business, said "if it was ugly 100 years ago, it'll still be ugly 100 years from now". I used to go on buying trips with her and that's how I developed my tastes. If I don't like something, I won't buy it, no matter how much it might end up being worth.
When we renovated this house just off the King's Road in Chelsea a couple of years ago, this room stood empty for a long time because my wife and I couldn't agree on how we wanted it. Our tastes do coincide to a certain extent – the fabrics and the Whitefriars glassware – but we also get lots of ideas from the interior designers who come into our shop.
I like to see things change around me at home. I don't get particularly attached to things, which is probably why I'm good at my job. The only thing I collect is old ivory – carved figures from Africa, in particular – which I've been doing for 35 years.
I'm also very attached to this painting as it used to belong to my mother. It's so big that it was always an important feature in her home and whenever I see it it reminds me of her. I almost sold it once but the guy who made me an offer really irritated me. It's unsigned and he gave me some bull about not being able to decide the value because of that, so I told him he was quite right, and therefore he couldn't have it. I don't know much about it other than that it's a rather beautiful 1930s French Pierrot.
Wherever I am now, I can't help looking out for new things. My wife took me away for a romantic weekend in Morocco and our guide turned out to be a furniture manufacturer. We spent the next few days in his factory working on new designs. Luckily, my wife shares my interests.Reuse content