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Making home: Objets d’art

We’ve been in our apartment for just over a year, but this place felt like home from Day One. There was just something about the warm timber floors, the airy spaciousness and streaming light that instantly gave us a sense of seclusion and comfort despite the chaotic city streets right outside. Owning it ourselves helped too, while purchasing new furniture and undertaking renovations (despite some disasters) enhanced the functionality, making it feel even more like our place.

Part of our enjoyment has to do with the design aesthetic we have explored here, a 60s-70s retro vibe that lends fun and funkiness to the space. The mid-century feel is most apparent in the colour palette we’ve used (burnt orange, dark brown, moss green and charcoal) but it can also be seen in much of the furniture which features clean Scandinavian-ish lines; even some Eames chairs (though only replicas, regrettably). It’s not a faithful reproduction of retro by any means, just a strong infusion that seems to marry well with other modern or rustic touches, like the glossy paint on the kitchen cupboards and the huge butchers block that dominates the kitchen.

Choosing new furniture took a considerable investment of time and money, but once the major work was done my attention turned to smaller things. Being in our fully furnished yet unmistakably incomplete apartment reminded me how much a sense of home is created by the accumulation of beloved objects: that pile of shells gathered at the beach while on holiday, the book given to you by your sister, the plant grown from a cutting in your grandmother’s house, and the vase that used to be in your father-in-law’s kitchen. I say that these are “my things” but it’s also true that they are me; repositories for my memories, constellations of family connections, and a partial reflection of who I am or who I want to be.

Having these objects in my living space would be a comfort, but most of my things are still in storage back in New Zealand. We keep putting off shipping them over, I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because there’s something so final about it. This collection of objects and paintings, in their 1×2 metre storage unit, are the last truly tangible evidence that NZ is home. And so they remain in limbo, gathering dust like hidden treasures.

The objects I have acquired in their place have been gathered over months, not years, but they already hold my memories. These are a few of my things; things that make my house a home.

Hornsea Pottery from the early 1960s. The small brown jug and mustard pot were found at a recycled store in Paddington. The large green coffee pot was found at a new antique store, Rare, in Montville during a recent excursion when Mum, Dad and Kerry were staying with us.

David Linton mango chopping board, bought in Maleny in Feb 2014 as our wedding anniversary gift to each other. Marimekko teapot, purchased as a personal congratulations for a major work achievement in 2013.

Misty brown glass tumblers that remind me of Nana and crystal champagne saucers that channel Mad Men. Both sets (of four each) found at the local Vinnie’s store for a pittance.

Another Vinnie’s find – retro coffee pot set. It came with a lid-less sugar bowl, so I assume there was once a milk jug too. I use these cups all the time. It’s a rule for me – all treasures must be used, not stowed away or reserved for special occasions only. Not a hard rule to live by really, when I paid a total of $5 for this set.

A bit more pricey, this piece, also from Wooloongabba Antique Centre. A serving dish in the shape of three sunflowers. The mark on the back reads “Made in California No. 6438”. Can anyone enlighten me as to its origins?

Mum’s 1970s flour sifter, which somehow survived many garage sales and clean-outs over the years; set of old tart tins from Vinnie’s; and the measuring spoons I still use, from our first home in Ranui, with the tablespoon broken off and the half-teaspoon measure missing.

Old Bushells coffee jar, found at Vinnie’s, filled with random teabags and sugar sachets in the manner of Kerry C; tin of jasmine tea from the Chinese grocer on the corner; green pottery jug, found while combing recycled stores with April this summer.

Enamel tray featuring Still Life of Fruit, found at a recycled store in Paddington; two green mugs that remind me of everyone’s childhood, found at the local Red Cross store; the coffee plunger was a secret Santa gift from work last year; and the teaspoon might have just followed us here from our last apartment, not far from here.

Green glass plate, found at Wooloongabba Antique Centre in May 2013.


  1. Pingback: Making Home: Objets d’art (Part 2) | Chez Moi

  2. Jennifer Leggatt

    Hi Chez
    I just loved this blog! Seeing all your photos……such a sense of the familiar as I knew almost all of them! It was great. I hadn’t thought about the smokey glasses being like Nan’s but they are indeed very similar. I didn’t know the serving dish, the green pottery jug or the tray though! If we hadn’t stayed with you this blog would have been of interest to me but not nearly so meaningful!
    Love Mum XXXX

    • Thanks Mum! Though that you would recognise a few pieces. Not sure how I missed busting out the green sunflower dish when you were here as I use it all the time. It is a lovely piece xxx

  3. Amy

    I love this post! Those mugs, the green ones that remind you of everyone’s childhood – that’s so true xx

    • Thanks 🙂 I found a brown one yesterday – same shape, but with a pattern etched around the sides. Not a design that I remember from way back when, but lovely nonetheless!

    • I can rarely find the patience to trawl through second hand clothes, I confess, so I always make a bee-line for the second hand books and kitchen bric-a-brac. I can browse those happily for hours.

      • I go to knick knacks and books first too but can do clothes if I am in the right frame of mind. 🙂

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