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Re­cy­cled and reloved

Northern Rivers Style - - CONTENTS - TRACEY HORDERN

Vin­tage, an­tique, retro, up-cy­cled, col­lectable: it seems we just can’t get enough of pre-loved items. The North­ern Rivers has es­pe­cially em­braced all things old, with a trail of vin­tage out­lets stretch­ing from Casino to Tweed Heads and mar­kets and garage sales ev­ery­where in be­tween.

So what ex­actly is the lure of the pre-loved? For many, it’s the warmth and char­ac­ter of the piece while; for oth­ers, it’s the qual­ity of work­man­ship, com­pared to mass pro­duced pieces.

So how do you col­lect, and is it worth it fi­nan­cially? There’s no short an­swer to this as any An­tiques Road­show af­fi­cionado will tell you. But there are some ba­sic cat­e­gories and truths that apply to most things that are col­lected.

Firstly, au­then­tic­ity is para­mount. To gauge the value of an ob­ject, you could con­sult an ex­pert or a guide­book, such as Carters Price Guide, that is now avail­able on­line. It is also help­ful if you can prove prove­nance – es­sen­tially the story of the ob­ject.

There’s also a good rea­son why grandma only brought out her trea­sures for “best” oc­ca­sions. When it comes to any­thing in a set, it only takes one miss­ing or bro­ken piece, to au­to­mat­i­cally re­duce the value of the en­tire set by ap­prox­i­mately half.

Col­lect­ing, re­pur­pos­ing and up­selling

Two col­lec­tors who have made their pas­sion for vin­tage tim­ber fur­ni­ture their busi­ness are He­lene and Johnny Thomp­son. Col­lect­ing vin­tage pieces for decades, He­lene and Johnny’s love of rus­tic, Aus­tralian tim­ber pieces has re­sulted in their Eureka-based ven­ture, Dirty Old Town.

The busi­ness and show­room is set within an iconic Aus­tralian shack, off a dirt road and along­side a pretty creek. The cot­tage show­cases their beau­ti­fully re­pur­posed and hand­made tim­ber fur­ni­ture, art­works and decor pieces.

Ac­cord­ing to He­lene Thomp­son, sourc­ing and sal­vaging lo­cal tim­ber pieces is a labour of love for her and her part­ner, Johnny, “but the re­sults are worth the ef­fort,” He­lene ex­plains. “Old tim­bers hold so much char­ac­ter and depth, they've lived one life, and then Johnny hand crafts the tim­ber to give it an­other life.”

Most tim­bers Johnny crafts his pieces from are lo­cally sourced hard­wood, and he can tell you the his­tory of al­most each piece in the show­room. “It's im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge the his­tory of the tim­ber to help demon­strate the longevity and strength of wood,” he says.

Ac­cord­ing to He­lene, much of the tim­ber sourced is used to cre­ate be­spoke pieces, hand­made by Johnny for lo­cal clients and those who come from as far away as Syd­ney. “Din­ing ta­bles and day beds are pop­u­lar, plus we also cre­ate one-off pieces of wall art as well as smaller pieces such as stools and cut­ting boards. We en­sure that none of the beau­ti­ful tim­ber is wasted.”

Where pos­si­ble, Johnny and He­lene like to in­volve the client in the process, such as what sort of tim­ber, de­sign, colour would they like and how will the piece be used? Ac­cord­ing to He­lene it’s great to in­volve clients in the process as it gives them a real sense of own­er­ship and per­son­alises the fur­ni­ture into some­thing more per­sonal.

Dirty Old Town is lo­cated at 148 Whian Rd, Eureka, or call He­lene Thomp­son on 6688 4708, or visit www.dirty­old­town­fur­ni­ture.com.

PHO­TOS: DIRTY OLD TOWN FUR­NI­TURE

STYLISH LOOK: Clas­sic Aus­tralian shack and show­room at Dirty Old Town, Eureka.

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