Ever wished you could live in a different era?
Gina Guearnieri has, and she decided to stop wishing and start doing.
The 57-year-old has spent £40,000 making every part of her life feel like the 1960s, from her sixties outfits to her furniture.
Even her mode of transport is sixties themed, as Gina, who calls herself a ‘mid-century magpie’, has four scooters, – three Vespas and a Lambretta – a 1966 Triumph Herald Convertible, and a 1959 Bedford CA Porthole Campervan.
She lives in a tiny bungalow full of 60s appliances and memoribilia, including crockery, a Dansette record player, and furnishings, with her longterm partner.
Gina, who lives in Worthing, West Sussex, became obsessed with the decade in the early 80s in her teens after buying a classic scooter and becoming a backing singer in an RnB band.
She never stopped loving the decade.
Gina said: ‘Living in the ’60s gives me so much more than a hobby.
‘I won’t use a modern high-fi, for instance. I think my favourite ’60s item would have to be my Dansette record player.
‘I love live music and often travel around the country and abroad to gigs.
‘Being able to have a weekend away for a gig and spend the daytime scouring the flea markets looking for more 60s jewels, while being able to wear my favourite cape and vintage boots, gives me the greatest pleasure. I really can’t imagine my life without being immersed in the sixties.
‘Often people visiting my home who don’t know me will comment that it’s like a museum, and that’s what makes me tick. I love stories, and most of my pieces have a history and occasionally carry battle scars.
‘As a 16 year old, I became fully submerged in London’s revival Mod culture and bought my first scooter in 1981 with birthday money from my mum. Over the subsequent years, I always had a scooter or classic car, and favoured 60s styling over any other.’
Gina never liked the late 70s and early 80s fashion in her teens and, after watching Franc Roddam hit film Quadrophenia, fell in love with the ’60s.
Gina, a publications editor for RSPCA, said: ‘It [Quadrophenia] showed me a way of life that I wanted to be ‘me’.
‘During the ’70s, I didn’t like the clothes and homewares that were in vogue then.
‘I joined a ’60s R’n’B band. I was out six nights a week, often only going home to get changed and then go back out again. Although it was the early 1980s, it felt to us like we were living in the ’60s – we had the times of our lives.
‘For me, the early to mid-sixties, was the most stylish and timeless period in terms of fashion, transport, music and homewares.
‘The mid-century influence is everywhere in modern-day life and that’s because it’s so highly regarded and rarely goes out of favour.’
The graduate, who was bought up by a fashionable English mother and Italian father in south London, particularly cherishes her 1965 record player.
‘I bought it about 10 years ago from a lady who was given it as a surprise for her 21st birthday in 1965,; Gina added.
‘It was played at her 21st birthday party and she cherished it and kept all the paperwork that came with it. When I went to collect it from her she was in tears because it had been in her life for 45 years and had given her nothing but happy memories. I promised to cherish it and use it, which I have done.’
Committing to a sixties theme hasn’t come cheap.
Gina estimates she has spent close to £40,000 making every part of her life feel like the 1960s.
But the joy she gets from her unique lifestyle makes all the expense worth it.
‘I’d describe myself as a mid-century magpie, with lots of little collections that I love to spend time building on,’ Gina said. ‘My collection of 1960s items includes commonplace bits such as crockery, but also more niche items such as capes, Oxo tins, crash helmets, door handles, atomic hooks, duffle bags, London maps.
‘Sourcing items gives me the greatest pleasure, and I try to avoid using online selling sites, because I prefer to wander around vintage markets, bootsales and charity shops.
‘I never set out with a shopping list, that’s the beauty of vintage shopping, you never know what you’re going to find. I start new collections almost weekly.
‘The main thing I love about the 60’s is the whole ‘Mod’ thing; so that look and feel. ‘Mod’ is short for Modernism so it is about the idea of always changing and evolving. So even though I love the music, feel and fashion of the 60’s, I feel like you need to evolve.’
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