Resting above the mantelpiece in Trentham General’s main dining room is an oil painting of “General Smith", the store’s fictitious CEO.
Stylist Lynda Gardener and her partner Mark Smith designed the fit-out of the former bank. It is rustic but refined, modelled on a country farmhouse. The idea is a 21st-century general store.
Timber floorboards, fireplaces, hanging plants and wooden panelling adorn the space, which has two cosy dining rooms, a library full of design books that overlooks the back garden, a homewares store, a cafe, and a “communal room”; a quiet, tucked-away space where visitors can spend time away from the busier cafe area.
Much of the furniture and homewares on offer come from Gardener’s personal collection, which amassed while she owned Empire Vintage in Albert Park. There are old landscape paintings, raw hessian chairs imported from France, and a beautiful three-tiered metal and dark wood table Gardener salvaged from a shoe factory.
There’s also repurposed canvas cushions by Perpetual One; skincare from Salus Body; crockery from Dutch label HK Living; and locally made aprons.
The couple’s property nearby has a kitchen garden where they source produce for the cafe from in warmer months. Other supplies come from Inglenook Dairy, Meredith Dairy, Grounded Pleasures (drinking chocolate), Green Eggs, Dench Bakers and Coffee Supreme.
To eat there’s house-made spiced labneh with avocado and herb salad on pumpkin sourdough; porridge with poached winter fruit; and a pastrami and goat’s cheese toasted sandwich with pickles.