A decade ago I knew Melbourne pretty well. We were good friends and I visited regularly. I even worked there for a while. But then we drifted apart. Recently I had the opportunity to re-unite, this time staying with my friend Mary in the beachside suburb of Brighton, on the south outskirts of town. It was the Melbourne I always knew but through my new grown up glasses.
Here’s what we got up to – or more specifically, here’s how I filled my extra suitcase ; )
Mary and I were uber organized – we only had two days so we planned our itinerary accordingly,
South Melbourne Market / this was first on our list because a trip to the market should be done on an empty stomach – we started with (really good) coffee, tasted our way down the deli aisle and ended with a (beyond healthy) juice. Shopping highlights were – the giant gooood-smelling soap at The Australian Natural Soap Company / homeware goodies from Mexico, Italy, and Madagascar at Market Import (side note – Market Import also have a store in Armadale) / and a cool collaborative space in the middle of the market – SO:ME – specifically the stall TheSuperCool, a curated collection of books, homewares and babies goods / The flowers at Azalea kept my camera occupied for quite some time, so many Australian blooms that we just don’t see at home in NZ (Side note – this market is nicely quiet on a Friday, perfect for a low key shop – for more vibe and serious people watching opportunities be sure to visit on a weekend) (Side side note – the adjoining Coventry Street is home to a few interesting stores and makes a pleasant a stroll if you have the time)
Tarlo and Graham / Exquisite curation is how I would describe this curiosities haven. Think collections of oddities you didn’t even know existed alongside one-off blow-your-mind items like a six seater merlot velvet couch. Make sure you have time to ponder, it’s a shop where you need to do several circuits – looking up, down, and through. And be sure to have a chat with the owners, William and Philip, if they don’t have what you are looking for they will know where to find it. (Side note – Tarlo and Graham is on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy – it’s worth a wander up and down this cutie if you have time – the mid-century specialists – Angelucci – are just around the corner on Smith Street)
Nathan & Jac, Hunting For George, lunch break / Nathan & Jac is a showroom only, visit if you want to see what a complete ‘on trend’ apartment looks like. Across the road is Hunting For George – a small store that supports their massive online offering – put it on your list if you’re after their own ‘Hunting for George’ branded product, I was partial to the navy round leather cushion. In true Melbourne style we decided we were ready for lunch at exactly the point we found ourselves standing outside a cool-looking brick-walled bar and restaurant, Botherambo. The Southeast Asian food, cocktails and fab-friendly service, hit the spot.
Nicholas & Alistair / Sadly this delicious looking showroom was closed and we only got to ogle through the window at the collection of stunning 20th century antiques. You can see from this image from their website why we were very sad. Next time!!
Jardan / I’ve been a fan of the clean modern Jardan aesthetic for some time and a visit to their Showroom did NOT disappoint. The fit-out is as perfect as the furniture – ensuring one would be quite happy just moving right in. They cater for the travelling shopper with a collection of objects and jewellery by other perfection-aligned brands. The highlight – the very Australian door handle ; )
The Family Love Tree / this delightful store and brand is most well-known for their whimsical cane collection – re-takes of the retro design classics. In their Prahran store you’ll also find art-prints, wallpaper, homewares and the occasional revived and recovered antique. Colourful and oh so cheerful : )
Scout St Kilda / This is one I have been insta-stalking for a while. Orlando the owner brings together a global collection of old and new – items of class and quality. The aroma from the worlds best candles – Cire Trudon – follows you around the store as you discover homeware and gifts for the young and old of boy and girl. Scout St Kilda was my personal favourite because the collection follows my own aesthetic of combining vintage and modern in the same space – wonderfully they also have an online store and Orlando will happily work to deliver wherever you live ; )
Phew – the day ended with a hot cuppa and Vietnamese takeout courtesy of uber eats = we were well and truly shopped out.
Both these beauties are a bit of a trek out of town but their scale easily makes the travel worth it.
Tyabb Packing House Antiques / about an hours drive from central Melbourne, down the Mornington peninsula. Prepare yourself for vintage shopping on steroids – 30 plus dealers covering 5000 square meters – there is every specialist you can imagine – cameras, toys, victorian, deco, nouveau, french – it’s all there in one place. The market is over 35 years old, and the building at least double that, making it total vintage immersion. We managed to get in and out in two hours but you could easily spend a day (or more!) just soaking up the stories from the stallholders. This place is a library waiting to be explored, even if you don’t plan to take anything home. (On a side note – for those who make the journey to Tyabb there are plenty of other places to visit – here’s a full list > )
The Market Fair / or in full ‘The Ferntree Gully Vintage & Makers Market Fair’. This gem is also a bit of a journey from the city – a good half hour by car, out towards Dandenong. The space houses over 150 vintage and craft dealers under one warehouse roof. The location isn’t anything special but the stores are. It tops my tick-list for variety and affordability. The scale of Market Fair demands some time – I was there an hour and didn’t make it through the whole place – but the drive is well worth it if you enjoy fossicking and discovering gems.
Day two had me teetering between feeling totally vintaged-out and wanting more!
Lee Mathews / Side note, along the way we did pop in to the occasional fashion store… my highlight being Lee Mathews – a delightful balance of classic, feminine and playful – with an interior to match. It is one of those stores I could happily buy everything. My wallet dictated I could choose one item and being practically minded I chose a sweatshirt – albeit a fabulous electric blue sweatshirt with satin trim. Shopping here was an all round good experience – beautiful flowers, modern fit-out, on-point fashion and personal service.
These places made it to my list but unfortunately escaped unvisited… next time!!
Tait – and their brand spanking new store in Fitzroy
Pop & Scott – furniture, lighting and homewares showroom in Northcote
Mr Kitly – shop, gallery and architecture studio in Brunswick
Lost & Found Market – 1000m2 of stallholders in Brunswick East