Two Design Lovers doesn’t have a showroom so it’s not possible to take a seat at the Cabarita Victorian ash dining table or test out the slouchiness of a teak-and-leather sling chair. Customers have to rely on the expert curation skills of founders Deb Achhorner and Emilia Harrison. Luckily their taste is impeccable.
“We’re trying to offer an alternative to buying something new,” says Harrison. “It’s far better to buy something well made [and] with beautiful craftsmanship and quality that will outlast trend-oriented, unethically made, poor-quality furniture.”
Two Design Lovers is an online platform where you can search for second-hand furniture, handmade items, ex-showroom pieces and old stock from retailers. Every item is carefully vetted by the pair and sold for well below retail price.
The idea for the site came about after Achhorner attended the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas Fashion Hub, a series of seminars and workshops that consider the evolution of the fashion industry.
“There’s a lot of discussion about a circular economy in fashion, how great it is that there are initiatives to recycle clothing,” Achhorner says. “We thought, ‘Why can’t that happen with furniture too?’ We’re trying to emphasise the idea that people don’t have to buy cheap stuff in the first place.”
“A few well-considered, second-hand pieces have more value than lots of trendy pieces,” Harrison adds. Although the site is still in its infancy, a few gems have already been listed and sold – like a handful of original Kone chairs by Australian postwar designer Roger McLay. “His granddaughter saw one of the chairs and has been looking to buy an original for her mother,” says Harrison.
The website is a combination of stock-style photos and the kinds of detailed shots you might find on eBay or Gumtree. Imperfections are disclosed, and shipping is always included in the price.
And although the site stocks some famous names and exquisite handmade pieces, that doesn’t mean real bargains don’t come along, like the tan teak-frame low lounger that sold for $150.
“We find fast furniture really worrying, and we wanted to give people an alternative. It’s not about having everything vintage; it’s about mixing old and new things together to give your interior a bit of soul,” says Achhorner. “You don’t really what your home to look like a Freedom showroom, do you?”