The Sweet Meadow


Antique Roadshow

interiorsAishe Besim
I don’t really think of myself as being into old or vintage homewares, rather a life lived with practical but beautiful items that enhance the everyday. If I’m watering the herb pots, I’d rather do it with a vintage French watering can. I could go on about how vintage and antique items are made to last and ecologically sound having already had their carbon footprint amortised over several life times, but to be honest, beautiful things speak to me in a way that mass produced modern thingy-ma-bobs never can.
— Liz Bell, former owner of The Red Store in Newstead, Victoria

I have always loved antique furniture, although still living in the family home, I’ve never had a reason to purchase any of it. As soon as I had decided on the space for The Sweet Meadow I knew vintage furniture was the way to go. Modern tables and chairs would just look out of place in the 1920s cottage. Sourcing furniture found in salvage yards, vintage dealers and flea markets also minimises the environmental impact of the store’s creation and ties in with the brand's sustainability values.

I’m not exactly sure just how many hours I’ve spent driving around the Victorian countryside - sometimes with company, but mostly alone – trawling second-hand, antique, and vintage stores trying to find pieces that would be at home at The Sweet Meadow.

Having just found my last café table in Benalla last week, I’m so relieved that all the searching for the main pieces is now done. There were a few stores that were so beautifully curated that I found myself going back there regularly to see what new pieces the owners had sourced. Here is a selection of stores that I know I’ll keep returning to, especially when I get the chance to finally furnish my own home.

Red Cart Vintage
14 Piper Street Kyneton
Kyneton, in central Victoria, is known for its antique stores (Piper Street is full of them), but Red Cart Vintage is my favourite. Owner Kathy is super helpful in sourcing specific pieces (I bought most of my chairs here), with her store packed to the brim with rustic finds.

86 Piper Street, Kyneton
Another Kyneton gem, Kabinett has more of an industrial feel. Owner Melissa also has a store in Collingwood, with lots of furniture imported from ancient Indian city Japiur. Melissa also has years of experience in the hospitality industry, so she was a great sounding board for me!

Daylesford Bazaar
Vincent Street Daylesford
This is one of the most affordable vintage stores I’ve been in. A lot of the pieces I’ve bought here have been props rather than furniture – old paint ladders, wooden stools and antique kitchen equipment. There’s an antique garden seat I’m eyeing off at the moment…

108 Main Road, Hepburn Springs
The one store I’m mentioning here that I haven’t actually purchased from. It’s one of the more expensive antique stores I’ve visited, although the quality of the products on offer demonstrates why this is the case. I’m still dreaming about a square table I saw in there that is probably long gone.

Dookie Emporium
48 Mary Street, Dookie
I’ve always loved this store. While the bulk of it is a vintage shop, there’s also a cute little café onsite. I stop in here a lot as I pass through the town to walk up nearby Mt. Major and always find something new. The white 1930s pantry that I found here was the first vintage piece I bought for The Sweet Meadow.

I know it would have been so much easier just going to a hospitality furniture supplier, or like so many people said to me, IKEA, to source pieces, although I love that the items I’ve chosen each have their own story to tell. I think it will add to the character of the space and give it a sense of warmth that factory-produced pieces simply don’t have.

I've loved exploring more of Victoria and finding hidden lookouts, shops and cafes. Let's hope that the items I’ve found all work together to create some magic.

50 Shades of Grey

interiorsAishe Besim
My first time painting - seriously! 

My first time painting - seriously! 

It's been almost five months since I first visited what will be the home of The Sweet Meadow and I'm excited - I have a set of keys!  Although we can't start major renovations until the Council planning permit comes through, I'm trying to get other things organised, like choosing paint colours.

As I will be occupying a building in the heritage area of Echuca's High Street, I am limited with the colours available to paint the exterior (only heritage colours are allowed and they also need to be approved by Council). This is probably a blessing in disguise, as I think I would be overwhelmed with the amount of choices otherwise! I had the outside colours decided pretty early on anyway - most old weatherboard houses I love follow the same colour palette - white and grey - and so I used these as a guide to match as close as I could to heritage colours. 

It took me a little longer to decide on paint colours inside. I could paint it fire engine red if I wanted to, but quickly decided that neutral would be the way to go. There's going to be lots of terracotta and greenery so I want this to pop! I love all white interiors but they can also have a stark feeling, and remind me too much of hospitals. I then saw a photo of a contrast wall with - you guessed it - white and grey, and thought this would work well with the furniture I have already purchased. I also think it will complement the finishes and textures that I'll be using, which include recycled timber, steel, and stone.  

I haven't picked up a paintbrush since kinder so luckily my mum is a seasoned painter and helped me test a few sample colours on the walls. I'm definitely going to need my wolf pack to help with this job - there's A LOT of high ceilings, cornices and joinery that will need to be painted and it will take days! 

The verdict? I'm happy with the lighter grey but want a stronger contrast for the darker colour on the bottom. Back to the paint shop...