We've been all over the shop, ransacking the racks and shelves of kitchen and tableware purveyors across the land, to round up Australia's best boutiques in Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Tasmania.
Jam-packed with unique pieces, Twopairs specialises in earthy, organic, textured ceramics and timber pieces. Check out the handcrafted, recycled wooden boards and share platters by Rabbit Trap. Layered with linen napery in soft greys and taupe from Ivory House, here you'll find the perfect accompaniments to set cosy fireside winter dinners.
What to buy Cheeseboards and platters made from wine barrel lids. Twopairs, 145 Magill Rd, Stepney, SA, (08) 8363 7916
One Rundle Trading Co
Housed in a vintage theatre, One Rundle is reminiscent of an old-fashioned emporium, stocking beautifully crafted furniture, homewares, garden pieces and fashion from Australia and around the world. Be inspired by their gorgeous table settings that sparkle with signature black, white and silver showcasing delicate crockery. You'll find a beautifully curated range with enthusiastic and knowledgeable service.
What to buy One Rundle's crystal candlesticks, which come in varying heights. One Rundle Trading Co, 20 Stuart Rd, Dulwich, SA, (08) 8431 3033
Outdoors on Parade
For more than 30 years, owner Annie Lovejoy has offered covetable homewares, amazing wallpapers and fabrics from the likes of Designers Guild, Mokum and Brunschwig et fils. Lovejoy runs a well-regarded cooking school on site and is set to open a small café at the front of the store. Her flair is evident in an eclectic table setting of painted candlesticks with fluoro candles on organza cloth with edgy copper-plated cutlery. And we also love the impressive range of Seletti, Pillivuyt and Limoges crockery and homewares.
What to buy Ivory House bubbled glass vases for a stunning centrepiece. Outdoors on Parade, 51 The Pde, Norwood, SA, (08) 8362 8822
Opened in 2004, Table Culture carries one of Perth's finest tableware inventories. Although owners Patrick and Emma McCarthy stock all the major brands (cutlery from Laguiole and Robert Welch, Riedel and Nachtmann stemware, and crockery by Royal Doulton and Portmeirion), they're also happy to champion the work of local designers. Bonus points, too, for its focus on children's stock. Generous floorspace makes browsing a pleasure, as does genteel, personable service. For those unable to visit the store in person, online ordering with free Australian shipping should be more than ample consolation.
What to buy Inspired by Australian flora, Eucalypt Homewares pieces by local designer Melanie Sharpham are as pleasingly patriotic as they are practical. Table Culture, 126 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco, WA, (08) 9380 6233
"We wanted to sell beautiful things that were designed and made by creative minds." It's a fitting statement for a cosy homewares boutique that prizes form as highly as function. The range certainly demonstrates an appreciation of design values. From Opinel knife sets to colourful Le Creuset water carafes and plates by London papercut artist Rob Ryan, these objets d'art will add something special to any occasion. An address in cosmopolitan Leederville certainly doesn't hurt, either.
What to buy Hand-made from native timber, serving boards and pepper mills by Once a Tree bring a touch of Margaret River to the home. Remedy, 131 Oxford St, Leederville, WA, (08) 9444 8818; 95 High St, Fremantle, WA, (08) 9431 7080
Set among the nurseries of picturesque Pialligo, seven kilometres from Canberra's CBD, sits the flagship outlet of Bisonhome - a ceramics-focused homeware brand that has captured the attention of design-lovers both locally and overseas. Creative director Brian Tunks' earthy glazed stoneware is available by the truckload here, alongside the likes of dark timber trays and salad servers, and colourful fabric placemats, tea towels and table-runners. It's very handy to the airport so you can cram in a little en-route shopping before take-off.
What to buy The classic line of milk bottles, plates and pitchers is a great starting point for your Bisonhome love affair. Bisonhome Flagship Store, 6/8 Beltana Rd, Pialligo, ACT, (02), 6257 7255
The Drill Hall Emporium
Set in leafy New Norfolk, around half an hour outside Hobart, The Drill Hall Emporium is an Aladdin's cave of precious antiques from all corners of the globe. There's plenty from France (porcelain tureens, 19th-century bistro glasses, vintage Champagne buckets and crystal flutes) and England (19th-century china, porcelain Victorian ham stands and old dairy bowls). India makes an appearance, too, in the likes of pressed-bronze lassi cups and trays, and you'll see hints of old Australia in the shelves of vintage milk bottles. A real gem.
What to buy The vintage French Champagne buckets are at the top of our wish list. The Drill Hall Emporium, 17 Stephen St, New Norfolk, Tas, (03) 6261 3651
Store & Co
Housed in an 1830s sandstone building in Hobart's CBD, Store & Co offers a quirky collection of new and pre-loved items for the home. The more current-day likes of cushions with graphic prints and colourful Danish floor rugs are contrasted by antique cabinets filled with vintage green glass tea sets, little glass milk bottles, old-school Harper scales and Australian pottery dinner sets.
What to buy The antique bentwood dining chairs have our tick of approval. Store & Co, 130 Macquarie St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6224 9977
Ecoco is the go-to for quality kitchen and tableware in Launceston. Natural fibres and simple designs are the name of the game here, with a modern-leaning collection spanning the likes of> Wonki Ware pasta bowls, burnished metal cutlery, Dutch wooden chopping boards, washable paper bags and woven baskets for the kitchen table. The furnishings are worth a mention, too, from fun, timber-top and pastel-coloured stools to recycled timber dining tables. Can't make it to the shop? Check out the online store - it features a broad listing of the shop's offerings.
What to buy Rustic porcelainware from South Africa's Mud Studio are totally gift-worthy. Ecoco, 51 Balfour St, Launceston, Tas, (03) 6331 6440
BEST ONLINE BOUTIQUES
We've got a soft spot for online shopping, too. If you can't get to the bricks and mortar stores of West Elm and Safari Living you can buy their excellent range of products on the web. Look toWest Elm for fun dinnerware, linen and cooking utensils with affordable price-tags to boot. Safari Living, on the other hand, is your go-to for all the big designer brands: Missoni, Marimekko and Tom Dixon among them. Melbourne-based Bonnie & Neil is your destination for gorgeous handpainted table fabrics, and bright and bold ceramics, while French favourite Merci is a trove of chic diningware, from enamel plates to striped linen table napkins and vintage cutlery. The tabletop department at Leif delivers the likes of handcrafted trivets, coasters, servingware and trays in all manner of kooky shapes, colours and designs.
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