Sandra Reeves didn’t set out to start a homewares store or quaint holiday rental. All she knew was that as a full time stay-at-home mum she had lost who she was, but didn’t want to return to teaching.
“As a mum, there’s no annual review. No pay increase,” Sandra said. “My husband Daniel and I had always done DIY. I was casually painting my own furniture. Family and friends were telling me it was amazing and started buying pieces and telling their friends. Before I knew it I had a social media page. My husband was nudging me, encouraging me. I don’t care who you are or what you do – it’s important to feel valued and money talks. Our time is worth something.”
Sandra said unlike doing the dishes or washing clothes, she could paint a piece of furniture and it stayed done. “It stays beautiful and is a reflection of you in your own home. Every piece tells a story and is entirely unique.”
She built a shed in the backyard, where she started running furniture painting and upcycling workshops. “People would walk up beside our house and see scattered kids toys and washing on the line, but magic happened in that little space,” Sandra said. “I wish I could record the stories people share. I think that’s why the business has grown so organically – it’s just women connecting.”
A New Vintage retail outlet was born and soon Sandra branched out into homewares “because she wanted a pretty space”. “I hand pick small collections of things because I don’t ever want my customers to walk into their friends’ home and see the same clock hanging on the wall.”
As well as running workshops and selling homewares, New Vintage is the exclusive local stockist of Jolie furniture paint. Modern to antique, black and white to boldly bright. Water-based, non-toxic and quick drying. Jolie paint can be painted straight onto a clean surface, without the need for time-consuming preparation.
“You don’t need to worry about the fumes. You can paint a piece of furniture right in the middle of your lounge room among your laundry. A little Jolie paint goes a long way, so if you have leftovers, you can get a small sample pot of another shade to create an entirely new colour.”
The team at New Vintage has recently started creating dried flower arrangements. Committed to reducing waste, their beautiful bouquets, wreaths and wall hangings are made mostly from surplus stock from local florists and flower farms, and by foraging friends’ gardens.
Earlier this year, Sandra and Daniel established George’s Cottage – a quaint Queenslander in West Bundaberg, filled with one-off New Vintage furnishings. Available for holiday and business rental through Airbnb, George’s Cottage sleeps up to six guests and boasts an expansive north-facing covered deck that’s perfect for enjoying a relaxing cup of tea or glass of wine. With grey painted timber floors, historic windows and traditional Queensland architecture, it’s a beautiful extension of Sandra’s eclectic, warm and elegant style.
Sandra’s TOP TIPS for upcycling furniture
Is the piece of furniture solid and in good condition?
Is it a nice shape, with ornate detail or unique character?
Timber furniture, suitable for upcycling, should not be expensive. Stay within your budget and consider the total cost of the project including brushes and paint.
You wouldn’t cook spaghetti in a toaster, so don’t use paint that isn’t suitable for furniture.
Invest in quality paint brushes with natural fibres and they’ll do 98 per cent of the work for you.
New Vintage: Shop online and instore Shop 12A Barolin Street www.newvintage.com.au
GEORGE’S COTTAGE Bundaberg West www.airbnb.com.au