When Melburnian Jarvis Barker resigned from his job at luxury furniture store Domo, where he was the national visual merchandiser, he decided to go out on his own.
Mashing together 10 years of furniture and styling experience with his passion for both floristry and photography, he launched Objects of Yesterday. It’s a new, slickly styled Instagram store that deals in vintage furniture, lighting and homewares.
While selling reclaimed anything on Instagram isn’t at all novel in 2021, many similar stores centre around big-name, often exy design brands. But Barker is of the opinion that an op-shop find can make just as much of a splash in your home. And that expensive isn’t always synonymous with exceptionally made. “[In the industry] there’s a huge focus on things needing to have a big brand name – and I get that because I’ve come from luxury furniture – but expensive doesn’t always mean made well,” he says.
Barker sources his pieces nationwide – everywhere from auction houses to Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, as well as through word of mouth.
Right now, you can buy a swirly ’60s fruit bowl that looks like it’s made of spaghetti; a statement ’70s-era chrome table lamp in eye-popping yellow; or a brutalist ’80s console table with a travertine base and a glass top.
But Barker’s concerned with more than just flogging off his finds for a profit. This is the kind of artfully (but understatedly) curated page you’ll want to hit follow on even if you’re not in the home-decorating headspace. While Barker drops new pieces at least once a week, every few months he conceptualises, styles and shoots a number of cohesive pieces in his Melbourne apartment. In one collection, furniture sits among delicately draped plastic – like Dexter, but less murderous and more modish; another uses sunflowers in various stages of bloom against a purple backdrop.
Objects of Yesterday is Melbourne-based but ships nationwide. Homewares start at $60 while furniture ranges from $150 to $2000. Shipping is costed on a case-by-case basis.