Imagine coming home to a sanctuary, a place that welcomes you with open arms, a space that reflects who you are as a person and that you connect with on a deep level. If your home space does not fit that criteria then perhaps you should consider changing it; that's the opinion of Charl, the impressive young man who owns and runs the newly opened Home Warehouse at Newstead.
And he's right, our home is where we spend such a large part of our life, it's the place we return to after being out in the world, it makes perfect sense to turn our home into a space that is both comfortable and enjoyable to be in. At Home Warehouse the goal is to make that option affordable for people; they achieve this by being the direct importers, which means that shoppers never pay the full retail mark up that they will pay in other retail outlets.
The 900sq metre showroom opened it's doors early 2012 and has been steadily garnering popularity and credibility as a reliable, one stop furniture store with a difference. And the difference lies not only in the uniqueness of the products, but also in the philosophy behind their design and creation, which revolves largely around the concept of 'art with a function'. Art inspired by nature and culture meets the functionality of furniture.
I met Charl at the Grand Opening last weekend and was impressed by his attitude and philosophies, but what impressed me most was his dogged commitment to his vision and his desire to share it with others. His passion and dedication to the process is admirable; not content to sit in an office ordering products from a catalogue, Charl heads overseas regularly to collaborate on the design and production of about 50% of the items in store.
Inspired by nature and various cultural influences these collection pieces are exquisitely designed and crafted. Described by Charl as Contemporary Ethnic, they are unique and organic, and each reflects something of the natural beauty of this world. The Naga collection for example was inspired by a Northern Indian tribe and the image of the door at the front of the Chief's hut - the greater the status of the tribal chief, the greater the door. The pieces are made from recycled doors and the image of the bulls horns provides a cohesive thread throughout the collection.
Each collection designed by Charl tells a story so that each piece becomes not just a piece of furniture, but something with a story, a history. Take the Kamala Collection (my favourite); Kamala means Lotus flower in Hindi and when Charl proposed to his wife he designed an engagement ring in the shape of a Lotus flower. His daughter is now named Kamala and the collection reflects everything about her - simplicity, purity and an organic nature.
The cultural influences on the pieces are designed to evoke warm feelings and nostalgic memories of past travels or experiences. Creating atmosphere and experience is an important part of Charl's philosophy, as is his use of natural and recycled materials wherever possible. The extraordinary table below was handcrafted using drift wood from Indonesia.
And the feature wall in this stunning display (assembled by Charl, who it seems moonlights as an eco-warrior and interior decorater!) is a coconut wall tile. Made from 100% coconut fruit it is completely eco-friendly, no trees were harmed in the making of this product!
Bedroom display featuring the coconut tile feature wall
The coconut pieces are glued together to form a large tile which is adhered to your wall in a similar fashion to wallpaper. Available in 3 varieties including a jigsaw like version made from recycled wood, the Home Warehouse has recently acquired the exclusive distribution rights for this fabulous and unusual product in Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to the stunning collections, the Home Warehouse offers an exciting array of home accessories, lighting, and outdoor and indoor furniture. The nature and cultural influences pervade these items as well, each piece as distinctive as the next. Here are some of my favourites.
If you appreciate the artistry involved or feel a connection with the pieces but are looking for something specific, have a chat to Charl about having an item custom made. He recently assisted a client who wanted a bookcase that covered an entire wall; requesting an Indian influenced design Charl travelled to India to design and oversee the process.
The showroom has an open, relaxed vibe with no pretension. The staff are friendly and helpful without hovering or applying that dreaded sales pressure. If you can't make it to the showroom in person, check out the website or sign up for the newsletter to be notified of upcoming promotions and new stock arrivals.
In this modern age of corporations and consumerism where things are built to be broken and replaced, it is refreshing to see an independent business that supports sustainability and ethical business practices. Of course the merchandise won't be to everyone's tastes but I guess you won't know until you go.