I love hunting through secondhand markets - and I like to think I’ve nabbed a few vintage treasures for our home over the years. But I’ve never had the same luck with garage sales. I always feel like I leave a bit disappointed. So when I meet a couple who not only visit garage sales frequently but have absolutely mastered scoring amazing things from them, I am very impressed!
This is the home of Kim and Chris French, who live with their granddaughter Ruby, 4, their West Highland White terrier Griffin and their cat, Sophie. Kim and Chris have lived in their 90-year-old little Mosman Park cottage for 30 years. And almost everything they have put into their unique house or incorporated into the garden is secondhand - bought from a garage sale, or picked up from the side of the road (and saved from landfill). They are like the original upcyclers – long before upcycling was a hipster buzzword!
Kim and Chris love old things – and in their house, they use secondhand and discarded things in clever, original and funny ways, buying lots of things from garage sales, but also finding things on the side of the road and even amazing things in skip bins. For Kim, growing up in predominantly newer homes developed his fascination with anything old, or with a story behind it. “Most of the houses I lived in were modern, but there were old things in my dad’s shed that I remember,” he tells me. “My father had this old ashtray from Nepal – I still have it now. I love anything that’s got character.”
“Do you ever buy anything new?”
“Uhhh… not much.”
“Why do you have a leg in your chimney?”
“My wife found it on the verge… she came home and told me I had to put it on the roof.”
Jutting alarmingly from the red brick chimney that pokes out from their tin roof, the chimney leg is a perfect indication of the people who live beneath its roof –