By Catherine Harvey Vintage, adj. - Too old to be considered modern, but not old enough to be considered antique. Source: Urban Dictionary.
There is something about the word 'vintage' that instantly conjures up an image in my mind of an amazing collectible that I don't have, but definitely want. There is a distinct sense of accomplishment when I find a unique item that could either be a perfect addition to my home or a thoughtful present to someone who has it all. Empire Vintage is exactly the store to find these unique pieces.
The design aesthetic, as described by owner Lynda Gardener, is "a mix of vintage industrial, rustic, country, touch of French, which forever evolves and changes, however the aesthetic is always vintage. I may change colours and styles but it must always be old and filled with character." And character is certainly what fills this store. There is an eclectic mix of old jars, boxing gloves, gardening books and industrial lighting (along with pigeon hole shelving that contains plenty more) that really does cover a large spectrum of potential 'finds'.
The store itself, perhaps similar to the items it houses, also has it's own unique history that has evolved over the last twenty years (to be celebrated next March 2014). Firstly, the interiors were decorated in country rustic, then it became more feminine with lots of whites and florals whereas now the current, and very recent, fit out has an old hardware store feel that has been painted with charcoals and greys. The aesthetic changes to the store does, fortunately, coincide with the fact that Lyn also runs her own interior design business (Gardener & Marks). In addition to this, she also owns and runs the boutique accommodation in Daylesford (The White House) which is basically a combination of 'Empire Vintage' in an actual 'home' environment - styled, of course, by Lyn herself.
Now Lyn (as you can already tell) is a woman with drive. Her career began as a visual merchandiser/stylist for Levi Strauss setting up concept stores and training employees around Australia. It was this, along with being a collector from a young age, that propelled her into the business woman she has become today. As to work and life balance, Lyn now manages to juggle all three businesses whilst at the same time giving herself every weekend off. Now that is inspiring! How has she achieved this? As she says, "I have believed in myself and always given opportunities a go. I never wanted to to hear myself saying, 'I should have or I could have.' " So, to this day, Lyn still has a list of challenges she would like to achieve - including one she is secretly working on right now so keep your eyes out for what's next.
In the meantime, you could always head to Empire Vintage to find the next item for your own collection.
63 Cardigan Place, Albert Park Victoria 3206 Phone: (03) 9682 6677 Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm Sunday 11am – 4pm
Catherine Harvey lives and breathes design. Working at one of Melbourne’s top studio’s, she is rarely ever away from her computer. She loves to keep up to date with the design industry in a global and local context and follows too many blogs to count! You can follow her findings here.