A passion for France has led to the creation of antique and vintage furniture business All Things French that is attracting wide appeal across New Zealand. Margo Berryman talked to owner Tracey Gilmore about her Francophile focus in Central Otago.
- Where did the inspiration come from to establish All Things French?
After many years abroad we returned to find that most of the French antique and vintage furniture available was based in the North Island so we decided to bring a bit of French style and flair to Central Otago.
We wanted to share our passion for interesting, unique and quirky pieces which have a story to tell. It is knowing you own a piece of European history which is beautifully handcrafted and made of oak, walnut or chestnut.
Sustainability played a part too, knowing that our products come from a region which doesn’t have human rights or deforestation issues as well as being the ultimate in re-use as opposed to throw-away trends. Our products are sourced from the Breton and Bordeaux regions.
- Is the business only online or do you have an outlet in Central Otago?
All Things French officially launched earlier this year, but it has been four years in the making.
We are currently only online at www.allthingsfrench.co.nz with viewings by appointment but hope to open a shop in Wanaka once we find the right space.
- Where does your passion for All Things French come from?
It started with a love of France. For me it was the history and food – for my husband it was the skiing in the Alps. Having been fortunate enough to spend a bit of time in France it was hard not to miss all the beautiful furniture they have, particularly in chateaux or grand houses.
We have always loved statement furniture as well as the romance of owning something that will last for generations to come. Antiques always make a space feel more like a home and this is one of the interior design aspects which appealed to us.
- What has been the key to your success?
Our passion for our products is what shines through – we can talk forever about the history of our pieces and the small details that you can only find on something which is truly handcrafted such as handmade nails or hand-cut dove tails in drawers.
- What type of homewares and antiques do you stock?
We currently have a great offer of free delivery for our larger furniture items anywhere in New Zealand. Our new stock is delivered twice a year and this will increase once Covid-19 is under control or disappears. When stock arrives, we do a slow-unpack and update our website with new products regularly.
- How would you describe your own personal interior style?
We have always loved old houses, particularly villas from our time living in Auckland and Wellington. As villas are not a common sight in Central Otago the only way we have been able to bring character into our home is with antique or vintage furniture and décor. Our personal taste is not showroom but more modern rustic.
One trend that we are noticing more and more is the interest in statement pieces with distinctive character or playful quirkiness –whether it’s something small like a champagne bucket for utensils, a copper cauldron as a table decoration or something large like a farmhouse dining table or enfilade.