Category Archives: Vintage

New living room.

So I finally got around to snapping a few shots of the flat. Overall it’s old and tired and a bit grungy (a bit like myself TBH), but the wood floors, neutral paint scheme and large rooms make it liveable. The living/dining room is the closest to being “done”, so I’ll start there.

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Are you feeling the understated earthy retro whimsical rustic industrial vibe or what?

I brought the coffee table and the green faux persian with me from Perth. The coffee table is vintage MCM, bought on Gumtree for $100. couch1

The couch is new. I was after another 2.5 seater in charcoal but didn’t have as much cash to spare this time, so I was thrilled to find this one at Furniture Galore for $550. It came with ugly blocky black plastic feet, which I swapped out with tapered timber legs I bought online and stained. They look a bit stumpy from this angle, but they’re actually 10cm high and have completely altered the look of the couch.

Speaking of stumpy…Hans is not allowed within one metre of the couch at any time.

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The cactus painting, cactus statue and cushions were bought from Freedom a few years ago. The Eames bird was an online buy and I found the green pot at a Mexican import store in Fremantle.

I have two fruit bowls in the flat, neither of which contain fruit.

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The hardwood dining table was another Gumtree find. The legs were originally raw welded steel that I spray painted black. The table top itself must weigh over 100 kilos, and even though I had a 100+ kilo Maori helping me (thanks, baby!), dragging it up three flights of stairs nearly destroyed me.

The chairs are cheapies from Fantastic Furniture, but they’re surprisingly sturdier and more comfortable than the typical Eames knock-offs.

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Both the fabric print and the Parker dresser are from a vintage furniture store in Fitzroy. The dresser was dull and dirty and covered in flecks of white paint, but it scrubbed up real nice after a thorough clean and oil. I was a bit hesitant about buying the print because it couldn’t be cleaned, but I figured I don’t have to touch it to appreciate it, right? And any fabric that reminds me of the fabulous curtains that my grandparents hung in their caravan in the 70’s should be a no-brainer.

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I sent the vase, stand and fake foliage over from Perth, and I wasn’t expecting them to make the trip unscathed. The leaf tips got a bit bent when they fell out of the mailing tubes I packed them in, but I actually think it makes them look more realistic. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better about it.

Stay tuned…the master bedroom and accompanying vibe is up next!

In pursuit of P.V.C.

I buy vintage for several reasons; it’s cheaper than buying new, pieces are typically better quality than their modern counterparts, and it’s good for the planet. I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt; stalking second hand stores and garage sales is more satisfying than picking something out of a showroom line-up.

I especially love the clean lines and tapered legs that characterise Danish mid-century modern furniture, and a teak sideboard is number one on my vintage hit list. As if the functionality wasn’t enough (they’re a sturdy shelf, cupboard, chest of drawers, display cabinet and minibar in one), sideboards can be accesorised to create a dramatic focal point in any room of the house. And did I mention they make a great minibar?

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Unfortunately, my love of mid-century is at odds with my passion for perfection. Of course I’m aware that unless pieces have been vigilantly kept from the reaches of damp, pets, children and the excessively clumsy, they’re going to be battle-scarred. Scratches, discolouration, peculiar smells and missing parts are to be expected. But that hasn’t discouraged my pursuit of pre-loved nirvana; the elusive state of pristine vintage condition (P.V.C.).

Pickings are slim here in Perth. Maybe it’s the geographic isolation, maybe it’s all that darn sunshine making us live longer, but P.V.C. mid-century sideboards are so rare that the few that do hit the market are either snapped up immediately or priced well out of my range. So until I become a furniture restoration expert (it can’t be that great a leap from mastering sandpaper and spray varnish, surely?) I’ll continue hawking the classifieds, hoping the sideboard of my dreams slips past the vintage dealers and cashed up hipsters.

Renting in a stupidly expensive city.

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There’s no doubt about it, renting sucks when you’re a hardcore nester. Even if you’re blessed with a landlord who lets you go crazy with the paint and hammer shiz into the walls, investing your own sweat and cash into someone elses’s property is depressing.

I’m a long term renter. Even though rental prices in Perth are ludicrously inflated, property prices are worse and home ownership is pretty much an unattainable goal for single income Gen-Y’ers that don’t have loads of business acumen or methamphetamine to sell. And unless you’re willing to fork out in excess of $500 a week, the chances of securing a well-maintained property with basics like security screens, air-conditioning and neutral décor are slim. So I’ve had to settle.

When it comes to older rental houses in Perth, there’s the good kind (think polished floorboards, ornamental fireplaces and cottage gardens) and the bad kind. I’ve lived in more places with rusted fittings, cracked linoleum and burnt orange tiles than I care to recall. So, if you ever find yourself in my situation, here are my top three methods of making your dodgy dwelling a more pleasant place to reside.

1)      Hide the worst bits.

Carpet is unhygienic and ugly as feck. Forget the “warmth” factor,  I’d choose bare concrete over carpet because at least you can hose it off. Unfortunately, the relative cheapness of carpet makes it the floor covering of choice in most rentals. If you can’t rip it up and burn it,  cover those blood and urine stains with a large area rug. If you want to be stylish and screw with your visitors’ heads, try a design that looks like timber flooring.

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Pack away heavy, dingy curtains (double bag those suckers to stop the dust and ugly leaking out) and replace them with a bright new set. Bonus points if you can make them yourself or bribe your mum to do it. Ditto with dated or broken light fixtures; replace these with $6 ikea paper lanterns and put the old ones back up when you leave.

2)      If you can’t hang prints, improvise.

If your landlord won’t even let you install temporary command-strips, any surface will do; desks, sideboards, chests, slow-moving pets, even the floors can showcase your art just as effectively. Grouping prints with sculptures will make you appear especially inventive and avoid the whole “too lazy to hang the pictures” vibe.

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3)      If all else fails, go with the flow.

My current kitchen is so dated that any attempt to modernise it would just look tragic, so I’ve chosen to embrace the vibe and accessorise with era-appropriate décor. These inexpensive orange accessories almost make those ugly 1970’s tiles appear a deliberate choice.

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Photos by Madame Squee