A House Decorated by Marketplace – and Tips for Thrifting

Of all the bad things to come out of Facebook – the creepy harvesting of our online data, a rise in loneliness, infidelities kindled from long-lost acquaintances, the erosion of individual self-worth through unfavourable comparison, to name just a few – there are also a lot of good things. For example, I re-met my now-husband through Facebook… something I like to remind him of every so often, that lucky guy. And I’m also going to add that the fairly recent invention of Marketplace is another one of those good things to come out of Facebook.

Furniture, homewares, rugs, plants and art… these are the kinds of things being sold on Facebook Marketplace that are often super CHEAP, my friends. Often it’s sold by people who just want to be rid of it, fast, and sometimes they don’t have a true understanding of the worth of what they are offering (I remember seeing a designer-name vintage sideboard marketed as “brown cupboard”).

Another bonus is that when you buy from a person on Facebook Marketplace, you can also see if you have mutual friends in common, thus reducing your chances (hopefully) of being murdered (“Yes, he has a teardrop tattoo and he’s holding a chainsaw in his profile pic, but he’s also friends with Julie from Baskin-Robbins”). In fact Marketplace has so many good things about it that I feel jealous of people moving house or getting a new place, like my sister, because they get to furnish and style their house in the Marketplace era. Like, I remember moving to this house, and looking at ads for secondhand dining tables after going to the newsagent and buying The QUOKKA. Yes, a physical copy of a classifieds ad newspaper, with tiny, succinctly written ads and no pictures, woaaah. Furnishing a home now that there is Marketplace is kind of like getting married but before there was Pinterest and after there was Pinterest, but better than that. I say this after spending pretty much TWO DAYS of my life making little white and milk chocolate milk balls with carefully affixed, painstakingly handmade customised chocolate wax seals for bonbonnieres, simply because I had seen a picture of them on Pinterest and I HAD TO RECREATE THEM, and I don’t think a single person at my wedding appreciated the sheer effort that had gone into these chocolate wax seal balls except my best friend from high school who had flown in for our wedding from London, saw the different-coloured chocolate balls and shrieked, “Does no-one notice that these chocolates have RACIAL CONNOTATIONS.” (This is why we are friends).

Anyway, many of my friends share my Marketplace and thrifting love – but I don’t know anyone more enthusiastic about it than my friend Nelly Reffet of Twinkle and Whistle Interior Design. (In fact, we put together this post on our fave Marketplace finds a while back). Recently Nelly shared photos of this Perth house with me – one I instantly dubbed The Marketplace House, because she and the owners styled it to sell using a LOT of thrifted Marketplace finds. And look how inviting it looks!

RUG LOVING: The rug in the living area is a beautiful Persian-like wool rug, 3m x 2m. “It’s super plush and soft, in pristine condition and it cost $250 – normally it would retail in the thousands,” says Nelly. “It took forever to get though, as the seller was difficult to reach and spoke little English. But it made the purchase almost… exotic!”

Nelly met owners Mark and Jasmin back in 2009, when they first asked Nelly for design help. Mark and Jasmin had recently bought their first home together, an ’80s house in East Cannington in need of a revamp. “Even back in those days, I loved their appetite for non-beigey interiors, and the low budget considerations made me tap into some small but efficient creative tricks to make their house shine without blowing the budget,” says Nelly.

After a full reno and a fair bit of styling, Mark and Jasmin enjoyed many years of happy memories in their sweet light-filled home. However the desire to live closer to the ocean, so the kids (and the dogs!) could roam free on sandy beaches and everyone could enjoy cooler summers, led them to move out of their first home a few years ago.

Nelly’s daughter playing with Mark and Jasmin’s kids, now her friends.

“What was their sanctuary became a rental property, and with that came a few years of sometimes neglectful tenants and inevitable house mishaps,” says Nelly. “In order to simplify their life, Jasmin and Mark decided recently it was time to sell their beloved first home, but unfortunately, the property was not quite ready for it. A fair bit of work was required before the property could be advertised, and with a pretty gloomy-looking market in Perth, they decided to furnish and style the property to maximise its overall attractiveness.”

That was when Mark and Jasmin called Nelly to the rescue again. With a budget worn thin by essential maintenance and repair work, they could not quite invest in buying or hiring new furniture. “Instead, we decided to go in full shoestring mode and source pre-loved furniture and homeware to make their house shine again,” says Nelly. “With the exception of most linen pieces, which were purchased in store, and of some of the decorative items, which are from Mark and Jasmin’s personal collection, almost everything was gathered through Facebook Marketplace, and occasionally from the verge.”

I know some people will ask, why bother furnishing and styling the home at all? – and it’s not an unreasonable question.

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