Older things have more character, more style. At least according to those who deal in antiques.
“There’s stronger design and quality in antiques,” says Laura Lalaurette, co-owner of Lunatiques. “You don’t get the craftsmanship with newer products. Old stuff just lasts.”
“Things were built to last and with a little bit of TLC, they can be used for hundreds of years to come,” says Lyn Richardson, owner of Mitchell Road Antiques Centre.
Reusing, recycling and reinventing older pieces to create something new is at the heart of antiques. Although an object might look as though it is out-dated, the task is to adapt it so it fits into a modern setting.
“We are a throw-away society,” says Richardson. “It is really rewarding to save something and keep using it into the future, keep our history from ending up in landfill.”
But beyond the quality there is a romance about older pieces. A relic from a different era; history captured in an Art Deco coffee table or mid-century vase.
“We get people coming in and spending hours looking through everything because it reminds them of their own childhood,” says Brian Hoy, a vendor at Mitchell Road Antiques and Design Centre.
Here is a list of our favourite antique stores in Sydney. Lose yourself on a Sunday afternoon.
Mitchell Road Antique Centre
The name is quite deceiving if you’re new to the Mitchell Road Antique Centre. Located on Bourke Street, Alexandria – across from Green Square Station – the centre is home to some 60 different vendors (all with their own small section) of retro homewares, furniture, lighting, art, fashion, jewellery and collectables. It was started by Lyn Richardson who shared the space with, then took over from, the Mitchell Road Auction House. Richardson prides herself on having vendors that stock only originals – no reproductions here. It recently received the cockpit of a DC8 airplane; a real life-size taxidermy camel; a full, strung-up glider plane; and a lime-green dentist chair. If you want something to get your friends talking, this is your market.
Mon to Sun 10am–6pm
A warehouse-turned-interiors supermarket, there’s a lot to take in at Lunatiques. The behemoth space is brimming with more than 50 stalls from dealers, collectors and furniture makers. Owner David Haines was dealing in antiques throughout Europe and Australia before he and his partner Laura Lalaurette met Nick Dunmill, a fellow antiques enthusiast. Then the trio opened Lunatiques together. The aesthetic is the opposite of stuffy; the owners choose a mix of vendors selling goods with all the romance of older pieces that can still fit neatly into any home. There are aisles of vintage plane propellers, a seven-seater bike (which has made a cameo on The Biggest Loser), and they are soon due a life-size driftwood horse. Luckily there’s an in-house cafe because you can easily spend a day here.
Mon to Sun 10am–5pm
Director Ken Wallis was brought up in post-war country Australia. When something broke, you fixed it. And when you didn’t want it anymore, you sold or swapped it. Nothing was wasted, just reinvented. This is the philosophy that underpins Seasonal Concepts in Redfern. Wallis opened the store over seven years ago as a marriage of floristry and antiques, to create a space that builds on the nostalgia of grandma’s garden and grandpa’s shed. The hand-picked collection celebrates an Australian interpretation of antiques with a range of 1920s bush furniture, 1950s glassware and 1970s metalwork – of which a lot is repaired locally in Sydney. With floor-to-ceiling shelves of glassware, cascading native flowers and taxidermy (there used to be a three-metre shoulder mount of a giraffe), it’s no wonder this has become a popular stop for interior and set designers alike.
Monday by appointment only
Tue to Sat 10am–5pm
Dust is a tiny cave of treasures. The owner dealt goods throughout France before moving to Australia; selling at Bondi Markets for 10 years before setting up his own store in Darlinghurst. This little brick corner shop holds a jumble of vintage rugs, jewellery and Oriental figurines that spill out onto the street. The collection is a mix of pieces sourced from the 1900s to the 1970s. With new items coming in regularly, the store has a dedicated following of shoppers who visit every other day.
Mon to Sun 10am–6pm
Potts Point Galleries
A newer addition to the map of antique stores around Sydney, Potts Point Galleries exhibits 20 of Australia’s strongest specialty dealers. It was opened by property developer and former director of the Woollahra Galleries and Antiques Centre Paul Baker. The store has a mix of stalls, each specialising in a different era or medium; showing Art Deco, fashion, 18th-century furniture, china, porcelain and glassware. It has quickly gained popularity with a growing number of clients looking for truly rare and unique pieces. Bronze statues, South American flutes, 1980s teapots and Egyptian revival candlesticks – this is the end game for creating a Vogue-worthy apartment.
Mon to Thu 10am–6pm
Fri & Sat 10am–7pm