What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

Edinburgh’s Mid-Century Furniture Specialist Lair

Lair shop front

If you’ve been to the Dickins office recently, you’ll have walked past some beautiful mid-century furniture. The person responsible for these lovely things is Xanthe Weir and her shop Lair will be at 17 Dundas Street until the end of July. We spent five minutes catching up with Xanthe.

Tell us a little about your background?

I moved to Edinburgh in late Autumn 2013 after many years in London working for fashion brands, most recently Paul Smith. Working within fashion and design prior to and with Paul Smith ignited my interest in interiors and most specifically mid 20th century furniture and lighting. The Paul Smith shop in Albermarle Street has always been full of mid-century treasures and indeed all Paul’s interiors are inspiring, especially the head office in Kean Street, London. His art is sublime! I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit too and have enjoyed the luxury of submerging myself in lots of different cultures whilst working and living in Asia and the US. These experiences have exposed me to different styles and genres of interiors and I have been able to draw on them to develop Lair.

Lair furniture shop EdinburghWho is the dog?

A good shop needs a dog and mine is called Vegas. He’s the best behaved dog I could find! He stands on the street and greets customers when we’re open and causes much interest (and perhaps a little bit of confusion) for real dogs passing by.

What made you want to deal in mid-century furniture? 

I am interested in design and craftsmanship and find this era the most beautiful as so many of the pieces are almost sculptural, when the relationship between design, fashion and form fused into one. I love the colours and textures of the mid-century era and am particularly drawn to Italian and French pieces. I love a bit of bling too, so designers who use brass and chrome highlights particularly appeal to me.

Lair lampsWhat does Lair specialise in?

Lair focuses on mid 20th century furniture and lighting. We love pairs of things, so you’ll see pairs of chairs and lamps particularly in the shop – but of late great coffee tables are becoming our signature. We only show originals and our pieces are sourced from Italy, France and Denmark primarily, with some English designers too. We stock known names as well as pieces not attributed to any one designer but which stand alone in terms of their merit and magnitude. From couches to lounge chairs, desks, sideboards and coffee tables – we select pieces for their look and craftsmanship.

If you could have one mid-century piece, what would it be?

I could never part with my Diplomat sofa, a 1970’s re-issue from Heals.

Lair EdinburghDo you think mid-century furniture works well in Edinburgh homes?

Yes I think mid-century furniture works extremely well in Edinburgh’s homes, particularly town houses and flats in the New Town. The wonderful high ceilings and big Georgian windows showcase mid-century furniture to its full effect. It’s all about contrast and mixing things up, so finding a 1970’s Italian coffee table in a Georgian sitting room is interesting anyway.

Are you enjoying being a shop keeper?

I really enjoy the interaction with customers and thrive on sourcing things that people love as much as I do. There is nothing really comparable to Lair in Edinburgh so I appreciate when people come in and “get” what we are trying to do. For many people mid-century is still a little bit of the unknown, but we hope the atmosphere we try to create at Lair will inspire and most importantly entice. We are trying to help people to create their own space with extraordinary one-off things and that is exactly what Lair is about, just as it suggests in the meaning of the name: a secret place – a hidden den.

Lair opening hours:

Wednesday to Sunday 11am – 5.30pm

Tuesday by appointment

Surround yourself with mid-century furniture in this Lothian House apartment

If you’re planning a shopping spree to Edinburgh you’ll love the comfort of staying in one of our centrally lcoated properties, for example this lovely one bedroom home in Lothian House. The apartment is beautifully decorated and you can even see Edinburgh Castle when looking out the window!


124 Lothian Road - edited-9

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