Homestyle New Zealand - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS Lisa Mor­ton

A vin­tage shop­per since way back, Char­lotte Rust is at it again with a sec­ond store full of amaz­ing finds.

HAV­ING CLOSED DOWN HER K ROAD vin­tage cloth­ing store Fast & Loose in 2011 to work in art and cos­tume de­part­ments in the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try, open­ing an­other shop was the last thing Auck­land’s Char­lotte Rust thought she would do. Then in 2016, a trip to Morocco and Paris with her hus­band, Cross Street Mar­ket co-founder Tony Down­ing, reignited her pas­sion for col­lat­ing cov­etable trea­sures. She sensed there was a niche for a shop that draws in­spi­ra­tion from both cities, so she set one up.

Ba­be­l­ogue is very much based on your own de­sign sen­si­bil­ity, Char­lotte – how

would you de­scribe the aes­thetic? It’s quite hard to de­scribe, be­cause it’s a mix. I want Ba­be­l­ogue to feel like a sec­ond liv­ing area and in­spire peo­ple to live with beau­ti­ful pieces re­gard­less of their style. Prob­a­bly the most pleas­ing thing for me is when peo­ple don’t re­alise ev­ery­thing in the store is sec­ond­hand or vin­tage. I don’t want it to look like a time cap­sule of any par­tic­u­lar era.

What sort of stuff do you sell? Ba­be­l­ogue is first and fore­most a tex­tile store with some mid-cen­tury through to 80s dé­cor and fur­ni­ture. I’m par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on stock­ing great lamps, as they’re so hard to find.

Is it dif­fi­cult to source the right pieces?

It is and it isn’t. If you’re ded­i­cated to hunt­ing pieces down, you’ll gen­er­ally •

find plenty. That said, it is a ran­dom process. You can’t head out for the day hop­ing to find some great chairs, be­cause you might not find any – but you might just score a great ta­ble or vase. You need to keep an open mind. I find lots of ex­tra­or­di­nary things all the time, and I rel­ish ev­ery one of them.

Where should we look for in­te­ri­ors

in­spi­ra­tion? I’m con­stantly in­spired by Ter­ence Con­ran’s books The House Book and New House Book; 60s, 70s and 80s in­te­rior de­sign books; and En­cens and

Apar­ta­mento mag­a­zines. 1stdibs is an in­cred­i­ble on­line re­source, al­though the prices are over the top. Instagram ac­counts I’m par­tic­u­larly into in­clude @ate­liervime, @remix­gallery­de­sign, @_roomon­fire, @katand­maouche, @ga­lerieglustin, @rhettm­baruch and @karine_szan­to_an­ti­quaire.

How should peo­ple go about styling

vin­tage fur­ni­ture and ob­jects? Don’t go mad for one era as it just ends up look­ing clichéd. Stick to a lim­ited pal­ette, or at least a tonal one. At home, my colour pal­ette is pretty simple, with an off-white base and lots of black. I have Afghan wall hang­ings and cush­ions for ex­tra colour and I’ve honed my dec­o­ra­tive items down to mainly pot­tery and tribal pieces. As for putting things to­gether, I don’t have any rules – maybe clus­ters of three or some asym­me­try in the way things are lined up, or not lined up, as the case may be. ba­be­l­

PHOTOGR APHY Larnie Ni­col­son

OP­PO­SITE Char­lotte says she’s thrift-shopped since she was a kid. “My par­ents al­ways had an­tique pieces – out of ne­ces­sity as much as aes­thetic plea­sure, as they were hand-me-downs or cheaper than buy­ing new. Over the years, my taste has evolved; it’s been a jour­ney from Vic­to­rian through to art nou­veau, and now I’ve landed some­where in the 70s.”LEFT Char­lotte ad­vises vin­tage shop­pers to go for great lamps. “There’s noth­ing bet­ter than at­mo­spheric light­ing.” ABOVE How can you tell if some­thing’s a good find? “I think if it strikes a chord with you, you should buy it. Make sure it’s in good con­di­tion or if it has f laws that you can live with them, but pieces don’t have to be per­fect. A sheep­skin can hide a mul­ti­tude of sins.”

ABOVE Of the trends she’s see­ing com­ing through, Char­lotte says, “The 80s are def­i­nitely emerg­ing as a fresh look; Mem­phis Group for the hard­core ad­vo­cates, and soft pinks and creams that re­call the Ter­ence Con­ran style. I’ve al­ways been a fan of 70s chrome, glass and Per­spex, though that has its roots in the 20s and 30s, which I think keeps it look­ing quite time­less.” LEFT Char­lotte prefers asym­me­try in her ar­range­ments – like this three-piece vignette. RIGHT “Ev­ery rug feels like a great find at the time,” she says of her hauls. They don’t all make it into the store, of course: the Beni Ou­rain rug she bought in Morocco now lives at her place.

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