The Alchemy of SWC – The Soulful Assemblage

Wherever your eye settles in The Shedquarters, you will find a rich curation of time-worn pieces and found curios. Brimming with character and texture, the SWC hub constantly evolves. A lucky side-of-the-road furniture find can trigger a top-to-bottom rearranging of the space, while a little rejig of a shelf vignette relieves a tedious day of staring at spreadsheets. In fact, styling as a form of procrastination is one of our favourite ways to pass the time.

Procasti-styling. We know you do it too.

 

A home bar with Paul Ryan painting and vintage velvet chair at the Southern Wild Co shedquarters

While we admire original contemporary design produced by clever creatives, our allegiance lies with the op-shop nanna’s and the unique castaways. We are truly addicted to the joy of uncovering something special amongst a pile of dusty junk or at council clean up time. If curb-burgling was an Olympic event, we would be gold medal recipients.

Our dedication to secondhand and found treasures is deeply ingrained, and we all blame our parents for passing on the collecting gene. SWC founder and creative director Tania says her mum spots roadside treasures across three lanes of busy traffic and can clock a classic design silhouette from miles away.

We embrace the bowerbird within, appreciating the soul and story that these elements bring to a room. The Shedquarters is a testament to this.

An image of a renovated shearing shed full of australian art, books and Australian made scented candles

Southern Wild Co Scented Candles 

Serendipity plays a big part in decorating with secondhand pieces – you never know what is waiting for you on the shelves at Vinnies. We try to maintain a balance of form and function in The Shedquarters - it’s not just about filling up the space with a jumble of thrifty finds. We positioned furniture and threadbare rugs to break up the shed’s large open space, and we always make sure there is plenty of comfy seating and lounging options grouped (think soft leather club chairs, sweet fifties raspberry velvet sofas and delicate wrought iron day beds.)

When we need to rearrange the shed for a photoshoot or workshop event, there is usually a layout in mind before we start shifting pieces. Other times, it’s a matter of pulling a single thread and experimenting until things fall back into place. In those moments, we tell ourselves that sometimes you’ve got to make a mess to clean a mess!

 

A home bar set up on a 1940's sideboard. There is a Paul Ryan painting on the wall and autumn dried flowers in a vintage vase.

A moodboard featuring John and Sunday Reed, Jack Thompson and animal skulls. There is a vintage seaside painting and a scented candle

A vintage 1920s vase in beautiful turquoise and rust colours

 

We love pulling together a seemingly disparate group of things and reinventing them with a new context. Objects in a room talk to each other, and the dialogue gets spicy and interesting when contrasting pieces are introduced. A good kind of tension manifests when smooth meets rough, or the desaturated and sunbleached meets the bold and rich. Old meets new. Mid-century meets Jacobean. Whatever the melange, differences in form, colour and texture amplify and the individual beauty of each piece is highlighted.

True decorating magic happens when different era’s and origins are mixed, creating unique spaces of unexpected charm. The Shedquarters is filled with these moments. A Seventies tulip chair is matched with a bobbin leg console from the turn of the twentieth century. A contemporary abstract painting hangs by a faded and anonymous vintage still life. Ceramic mugs, chunky and locally made, are viewed through the delicately etched glass panels of an Art Deco-era walnut cabinet. We throw all the decorating rules out the door and play until we find combinations that please us.

 

An antique wooden chair with a velvet seat and pair of handmade cowboy boots underneath

Old shearing tools were found underneath the old wool shed

 Southern Wild Co Scented Candles 

The word nostalgia has its origins in mental health, casting back to the 1600s when it was classified as a type of melancholia or psychosis. We prefer to live life with a side helping of nostalgia. The past is present in The Shedquarters. Every piece here tells a story and holds a history of its own, and they are links to other times, people and places. We value the romance and significance of that.

Some of the items we lovingly display are connected to the Shedquarter’s shearing shed beginnings. Rusty metal shearing combs, snips and other implements were unearthed during our renovation of the century-old shed, and they remain in view as a reminder of the role this location has played in the lives of previous generations.

 

A mood board featuring a pen and ink drawing of kangaroo and photographs of Australian impressionist paintings

A collection of antique bottles

A collection of feathers, beeswax candles and artists paintbrushes

 Southern Wild Co Scented Candles

Collections are dotted around the Shedquarters, flowing freely on open shelves, grouped on walls, or displayed behind the glass doors of vintage cabinets. We display things en masse, from the rows of old vintage bottles, with their inspirational label designs, to the motley crew of op shop art hung salon-style.

Nature’s beauty is on show by way of feathers, stones, gum nuts, seedpods and shells gathered in bowls, oversized glass vessels, or rested on top of book stacks. The ephemera is incorporated into vignettes and moved around as new things make their way into the space.

And wouldn’t you know it, our beautifully designed candle packaging can be upcycled as a handy storage solution for smaller bits and pieces. We used the cylinders to hold our collections of paintbrushes, taper candles, feathers, Christmas decorations, pens… lots of things really!

 

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WORDS

Jessica Bellef

PHOTOGRAPHS

Sue Stubbs