Precinct The secret joys of James Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley
WE VISIT AUSTRALIA’S MUST-VISIT SHOPPING DESTINATIONS AND UNCOVER THEIR HIDDEN GEMS
IT WASN’T that many years ago that James Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley was a drab industrial area inhabited by car yards, crumbling buildings and vacant stretches of land. Today, this tree-lined inner-city street is flanked by contemporary architecture encased in vines – and well-frequented bars and eateries spill out onto the sun-soaked footpaths, providing the backdrop to what is arguably Brisbane’s hippest shopping and entertainment hub.
STOP 1 | Kova Lifestyle
It may be a little hard to spot – but once you track it down towards the top of James Street, Kova Lifestyle is a hidden treasure. Owner Bianca De Luca carefully picks handmade and unique pieces for her store, and you’ll find precious items such as antique locks and stitched cotton quilts from India or delightful hand-cut greeting cards from the UK. Homegrown businesses and artisans are well represented, too, with an entire wall of the store dedicated to the beautiful ceramics of
Mud Australia. While you’re there, be sure to check out the stunning jungle print wall behind the ceramics. We were also taken by their ’70s-style ‘Galaxy’ ceramic bowls (top left).
Must-haves: ‘Cinderblock’ cushion in Chalk/Coffee, $99; engraved copper jug, $96
(both top left).
Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm;
Visit: 23 James St, (07) 3257 7055.
Bookmark: kovalifestyle.com.au. STOP 2 | St Barts Jasmine Smith and her business partner, Leanne Pearce, owned a successful business supplying art to high-end international hotels – but when the global financial crisis hit in 2008, things took an unfortunate turn. “We had a great team of creative people and wanted to continue working together,” says Jasmine. From this, St Barts was born. The first store opened on the Gold Coast in 2010, and James Street followed a year later. Now, both stores are flourishing thanks to Jasmine’s Caribbean-influenced sense of style and her ability to forge relationships with suppliers and craftspeople globally. Those with a yearning to live like India Hicks can book an in-house styling session.
Must-haves: Two-tone tree-root stools, $590 each (top centre); mirror panels, $1250 each (left).
Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm;
Visit: 6/31 James St,
(07) 3257 7166.
STOP 3 | Jocelyn’s Provisions Earning itself a Brisbane-wide reputation, Jocelyn’s Provisions create delicious home-baked goods and outright stunning cakes. “Our regular customers have started asking us to do their wedding cakes, so that has been really lovely,” says general manager Rosie Conway. The timber shelves are heavily laden with rustic loaves and the cake counter must be one of the prettiest around (opposite top right). Jocelyn’s Provisions also offers an outstanding selection of savoury tarts, biscuits, jams, relishes and chocolates to take home and savour.
Must-haves: Chocolate sour cream cake, $40; salted caramel tart, $7.50; a wide assortment of cupcake-style butter cakes, $5 each.
Open: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm;
Sat, 7am-4pm; Sun, 9am-3pm. Visit: 46 James St, (07) 3852 3799.
com.au. STOP 4 | French & English In its previous incarnations, French & English’s impressive 600-square-metre showroom was an industrial-heavy car yard and a Myer warehouse. Today, the store’s European-style furniture juxtaposes brilliantly against its utilitarian backdrop. Studded velvet chairs sit on chipped concrete floors and vast chandeliers hang from exposed corrugated iron ceilings. French & English also offer a furniture hire service for open homes and photo shoots, and stock an exquisite range of Côte Noire candles and faux flowers imported directly from France.
Must-haves: Côte Noire ‘Rose Bouquet’ perfumed flowers,
$99 (top left); ‘Sussex’ tub chair, from $895; ‘Exeter’ 3-seater sofa, $2595; ‘Oxford’ round coffee table, $599 (all top centre).
Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm;
Visit: 27 Doggett St,
(07) 3252 8998.
com.au. STOP 5 | The Modern Furniture Store Originally a moderately sized store on Arthur Street, The Modern Furniture Store has recently expanded into an old two-storey character building on the corner of James Street. While you’re marvelling at the well-crafted and beautiful Danish furniture, don’t forget to check out what they’ve done to the space. You’ll find wood panelled walls and ceilings, an enormous skylight and a plant nursery nestled between the two buildings. Everything is well executed
– the furniture is authentic and the European homewares are from the likes of Marimekko. Lovers of mid-century design will be bowled over.
Must-haves: Wheel-thrown stoneware ceramics by Brisbane artist Anna Markey, $36-$120 each (top right).
Open: Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm; Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun, 10am-4pm.
Visit: 69-71 James St,
(07) 3254 3885.
2 Studded iron pot, $250 (top); timber bowl in Black, $210, both St Barts.