As I may have mentioned a few times, I’m currently planning my wedding (less than 3 months — eek!) and you may not be surprised to hear that I’m all about the decor and the styling of the reception.
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve put a lot more thought into what the tables will wear than what I’ll wear! Much as I love my reception venue and its location, when I saw its outdoor furniture, I knew it just HAD TO GO (or at least be removed for my big day!). In my online search for replacement furniture I stumbled across Vintage Patina, who are new to Sydney but by no means new to props, collecting and weddings! Their website is great and actually lists almost everything they have for hire with prices (why can’t more people do this?!) but you can’t beat seeing things in the flesh so off I went to their Gladesville space with my friend Emma, who is helping me with the styling.
OMG, so many pretties! Chairs, sofas, trestles, chandeliers, chalkboards, frames and all manner of props and one-off vintage finds, full of character! Owners Annie Quirico and Lucy Marshall had been running their own businesses for many years. Lucy was working in international executive search until a couple of years ago, and Annie had been a garden designer in Sydney. The friends met just a year ago and immediately clicked.
“We discovered we had a similar eye and interest in vintage and antique pieces and had always been pretty creative in reconditioning a piece of furniture, or painting it and reupholstering it, to give it an entirely new life,” says Lucy.
Annie had been collecting pieces for over 30 years (yes, 30!), and they were both looking for a new challenge. “It just made so much sense to go into business together,” says Lucy. “It’s been a very busy first year as we’ve built a large collection of approximately 500 different vintage chairs, numerous old tables, other furniture, props, glassware, porcelain and interesting pieces.”
Initially, they only offered their pieces to couples marrying at Merribee, a property Lucy and her husband own on the NSW south coast. But the demand was so high for the pieces from Sydney, they decided to move everything here. “We find we have lots of interest from not only brides, but also those wishing to hold a private event at home and wanting to make it a little more special with some different props, along with editorial and interior stylists.”
They work with a number of stylists and editors. “Stylists tend to have a very specific piece or prop they require and not much time to find it. We help choose a one-off ‘hero’ item, like a vintage velvet Edwardian sofa, or something that matches their needs specifically, depending on their story. We can propose other pieces that work with it, that they may not have originally thought of, but could also help their story,” says Lucy. “Because we have quite a large collection we often see a stylist finding a piece of furniture, lighting, props and glassware and porcelain, all in our warehouse. They’re so happy they are saving time by seeing it all in one place.”
The pair find people’s increasing love of vintage items fascinating. “We think there are the obvious reasons of appreciating the patina of an object and its history, and maybe who used it, and feeling some kind of attachment to a certain bygone time. But we also think it may have something to do with them feeling more responsible and re-using and repurposing pieces of furniture, rather than buying something new that is mass-manufactured. We also get a sense that many feel that there is nothing really new for them to discover or that it’s all been done before. So vintage is, perhaps, in a strange way, allowing people to feel something new and different.”
Vintage Patina, Gladesville, Sydney, NSW.