I don’t really think of myself as being into old or vintage homewares, rather a life lived with practical but beautiful items that enhance the everyday. If I’m watering the herb pots, I’d rather do it with a vintage French watering can. I could go on about how vintage and antique items are made to last and ecologically sound having already had their carbon footprint amortised over several life times, but to be honest, beautiful things speak to me in a way that mass produced modern thingy-ma-bobs never can.”
— LIZ BELL, FORMER OWNER OF THE RED STORE IN NEWSTEAD, VICTORIA
I have always loved antique furniture, although still living in the family home, I’ve never had a reason to purchase any of it. As soon as I had decided on the space for The Sweet Meadow I knew vintage furniture was the way to go. Modern tables and chairs would just look out of place in the 1920s cottage. Sourcing furniture found in salvage yards, vintage dealers and flea markets also minimises the environmental impact of the store’s creation and ties in with the brand's sustainability values.
I’m not exactly sure just how many hours I’ve spent driving around the Victorian countryside - sometimes with company, but mostly alone – trawling second-hand, antique, and vintage stores trying to find pieces that would be at home at The Sweet Meadow.
Having just found my last café table in Benalla last week, I’m so relieved that all the searching for the main pieces is now done. There were a few stores that were so beautifully curated that I found myself going back there regularly to see what new pieces the owners had sourced. Here is a selection of stores that I know I’ll keep returning to, especially when I get the chance to finally furnish my own home.
Red Cart Vintage
14 Piper Street Kyneton
Kyneton, in central Victoria, is known for its antique stores (Piper Street is full of them), but Red Cart Vintage is my favourite. Owner Kathy is super helpful in sourcing specific pieces (I bought most of my chairs here), with her store packed to the brim with rustic finds.
86 Piper Street, Kyneton
Another Kyneton gem, Kabinett has more of an industrial feel. Owner Melissa also has a store in Collingwood, with lots of furniture imported from ancient Indian city Japiur. Melissa also has years of experience in the hospitality industry, so she was a great sounding board for me!
Vincent Street Daylesford
This is one of the most affordable vintage stores I’ve been in. A lot of the pieces I’ve bought here have been props rather than furniture – old paint ladders, wooden stools and antique kitchen equipment. There’s an antique garden seat I’m eyeing off at the moment…
108 Main Road, Hepburn Springs
The one store I’m mentioning here that I haven’t actually purchased from. It’s one of the more expensive antique stores I’ve visited, although the quality of the products on offer demonstrates why this is the case. I’m still dreaming about a square table I saw in there that is probably long gone.
48 Mary Street, Dookie
I’ve always loved this store. While the bulk of it is a vintage shop, there’s also a cute little café onsite. I stop in here a lot as I pass through the town to walk up nearby Mt. Major and always find something new. The white 1930s pantry that I found here was the first vintage piece I bought for The Sweet Meadow.
I know it would have been so much easier just going to a hospitality furniture supplier, or like so many people said to me, IKEA, to source pieces, although I love that the items I’ve chosen each have their own story to tell. I think it will add to the character of the space and give it a sense of warmth that factory-produced pieces simply don’t have.
I've loved exploring more of Victoria and finding hidden lookouts, shops and cafes. Let's hope that the items I’ve found all work together to create some magic.