Leanne Carter-Taylor, the brainchild behind Sydney's hip furniture store quintessential duckeggBLUE, spent childhood holidays at her granny's Yorkshire cattle farm surrounded by humble yet beautiful objects such as handmade tables and an Aga cooker. On a quest to recapture that aesthetic, Carter-Taylor travels the globe in search of rare industrial and antique pieces.
The found object connoisseur—who also owns women's fashion store duckeggBLUE—scours farms, disused factories, and European flea markets to find original items. Carter-Taylor, who emigrated from England to Australia in 1999, has the treasures immaculately restored and, with the eye of an artist, styles them beautifully in her Balmain shop.
The reclaimed curiosities include French cinema seats and scales from railway stations that measured one's weight for a penny. Then there are quirky one-offs like an exquisitely made prosthetic arm. The two things they have in common? Incredible craftsmanship and an intriguing past.
A visit to quintessential duckeggBLUE evokes memories of childhood. Just don’t expect to escape without taking home a piece of history. Can't make the trip? The store has an online magazine that showcases craftspeople, collectors, and found objects. Go to The Quintessential Magazine.
Photography by Dan Himbrechts except where noted. Stylist, John Mangila.
Above: These Tolix chairs were made around 1950, the industrial enamel lights are from Belgium, and the French factory lockers would have been used to store tools or workers' possessions. Photograph by Sam McAdam Cooper.
Above L: The antique French papier-mâché globes date from 1880 to 1930 and were made in Paris. The French clock is a Brillié and the English leather chesterfield desk chair was dyed green but the original chestnut color is being revealed with age. Above R: With the Singer chair and French and English textile spools is an exceptionally rare English thread box from the early 1900s that was branded by the thread company and used in stores to display their thread. Photograph by Sam McAdam Cooper.
Above: Glass medical jars and a French ice chest full of Hovis bread tins from England that can still be used for baking or to house an herb garden.
Above: English antique glass domes that were often used to display taxidermy, and a collection of industrial clocks.
Above: A collection of antique potato mashers.
Above: This industrial metal cabinet is home to Australian and English pharmaceutical jars from the early 1900s.
Above: This pair of German oil paintings from the 1940s were a lucky find in a French market. Photograph by Sam McAdam Cooper.
Above: The church school chairs were discovered in a North West England church and feature a slat at the back to house a prayer book. The slate blackboard is French. Photograph by Sam McAdam Cooper.
Above: A set of antique French porcelain plates that feature political humor.
Above: These red Tolix chairs, found in Northeast France, were used in the country's public areas such as local parks. With them are French textile boxes, French enamel industrial shades, and a three metre long English farmhouse table that dates from around 1880 and was found near Nottingham.
Above: Textile bobbins from Lyon in France displayed on a metal French bottle dryer that has a spinning base and can be transformed into a unique Christmas tree.
For more shops in Sydney, see our Travel Guide.