The Sydney home of Leanne Carter-Taylor, owner of much loved Balmain interiors store Quintessential Duckegg Blue, and her husband Trent Carter-Brugman.   Original Brille industrial factory clock (double face), made from zinc, reclaimed by Leanne.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Bedside table - reclaimed from the casualty unit of a Sydney hospital. The Bakelite radio dates from the 1940’s and still works perfectly!  Wall paper sourced from the UK.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Leanne’s attic home-office. The set of timber Gentleman’s graduated drawers from London are one of Leanne’s ‘all time favourite finds!’.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Details from Leanne’s home office, including beautiful imagery / reference material on the desk for Leanne’s e-magazine, The Quintessential Magazine.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

I had the great pleasure of meeting one of Sydney’s best known creative retailers recently, Leanne Carter-Taylor, who owns industrial and antique furniture store Quintessential DuckeggBLUE, ladies’ fashion store duckeggBLUE, AND now ‘The Man Next Door’ – a brand new menswear store, just opened in July this year.  Aside from being one lovely lady with a seriously fabulous (and contagious) British accent, Leanne is a total dynamo!  I can’t believe how much she juggles, between all three stores AND her amazing e-magazine, ‘The Quintessential Magazine‘, which is a labour of love, and so truly beautiful! (We’ve actually featured this inspired side project here once before.)

Leanne lives in Rozelle, not far from her three stores in Balmain, with her husband Trent, and a motley crew of four friendly little dogs – Woody, Muffin, Millhouse and Ralphy!  Leanne and Trent’s home is a tiny little sandstone workers cottage, with a weatherboard extension at the rear.  The original part of the house dates from the turn of the century – it’s essentially comprised of just two rooms, plus a bathroom!  The modern extension adds a kitchen and dining / living area to this modest footprint, plus a sweet little home office in the attic upstairs.

Leanne and Trent purchased their home back in 2002.  ‘It had character, charm and potential – and we could afford it!’ says Leanne.  It was, however, crying out for a little TLC, which Leanne and Trent tackled strategically, in stages.  During their first few years in the house, they renovated the original two rooms at the front of the house, pulling out carpets and built-in wardrobes, re-painting and wallpapering, and sanding and staining the floor boards.  The rest of the house was a bigger undertaking!

‘The remainder of the house needed some serious attention, council approval and lots of money – so the renovation wasn’t completed until October 2012, 10 years after we moved in!’ says Leanne.  ‘We have now (FINALLY) renovated literally every room’ she continues. The recent renovations took eight months, during which time Leanne and Trent had to move out temporarily. ‘There was absolutely no way we could have stayed here during the work, as walls came down, doorways got moved, the kitchen and bathroom were completely re-worked, and the attic was converted’ explains Leanne.

‘Our house reflects our own style – it’s basically an extension of our furniture store’ says Leanne. ‘Even though we love the old and worn, we like pieces that are finished to a high standard.  People often think of vintage salvage as clutter and junk, but that isn’t always the case!’.  Indeed, this home perfectly reflects Leanne’s passion for traditional and industrial things, but also incorporates a level of refinement and minimalism, with its clean lines, restrained colour palette and striking contrast of light and dark.

When asked what she loves most about living here, it’s clear how much satisfaction Leanne gets from having finally completed the 10 year renovation (!!), and seizing the opportunity to really put her stamp on the place. ‘It’s great to finally come to a space that we created’ says Leanne. ‘Being a decorative salvage dealer for our store, I would say that I found about 98% of all of our furnishings myself… I love that!  I can admire all my finds, knowing exactly where I found them, and what state they were in. It’s pretty satisfying.’

Huge thanks to leanne and Trent for sharing their home with us today!  If you love Leanne’s style, do check out her industrial & antique furniture store, Quintessential DuckeggBLUE when next in Sydney.

ALSO, I cannot recommend highly enough The Quintessential Magazine, Leanne’s amazing e-magazine, produced in collaboration with some amazing creatives including Tracy Lines (previously Creative Director of Inside Out magazine), super stylist Glen Proebstel and photographer Sharyn Cairns!  The whole team does such an incredible job with this little publication – subcribe here to check it out.

Front sitting / TV room.  Artwork on left hand wall is by Guy Mathews.  ‘We have many pieces of his artwork – too many is actually the case as we have no wall space to hang it all’ Says Leanne.  The wall clock is an original from British Railways, dating to around 1940.  Leanne has a particular affection for vintage clocks and this is a favourite – ‘Hell would have to freeze over for me to part with this find!’ she says.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Vintage details in front sitting room.  The original vintage Jielde Lights sourced by Leanne on her travels to France.  The papier mache dolls legs are housed under glass in the Victorian taxidermy dome.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen. Including another piece from Leanne’s impressive collection of vintage clocks!  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen details.  The timber English village direction sign is a personal favourite of Leanne’s – ‘I love vintage typography’ she says. Twin milkshake maker, purchased by Leanne as a gift for Trent!  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room.  The dining table is a French walnut bistro table, sourced by Leanne from Provence, France.  ‘We haven’t had a dining table for approx. 3-4 years!’ says Leanne.  ‘As we sold out of dining tables in our furniture store we would replace them with our tables from home, until we had nothing left!  This table certainly isn’t going anywhere near the store!’ The slate blackboard was also found in provence.  The original Singer sewing machine dates from the early 1900’s and was left  to Leanne by her Nanq, who taught Leanne to sew on it when she was a child.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Generous bathroom, converted from the spare bedroom.  The antique cast iron claw foot bath weighs approx. 140kg! ‘That was an interesting day trying to move it into the house’ recalls Leanne!  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom details.  A fantastic use of white Subway tiles, finished with black grouting.  Bathroom ware and taps etc are from Perrin & Rowe in London.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Front room looking to hallway, featuring Tin Ceiling panel wallpaper purchased in Paris, and a salon-hang of various original oil paintings by Countess Ingegerd Ahlefeldt-Laurvigen , daughter of a Danish Count.  The portraits are of Chelsea pensioners and date to the 40’s. (Leanne has a total of 8 portraits down this hallway).  Original bakelite factory phone from the UK, sourced by Leanne, full working order – ‘just need to get a landline into the house – do people still have landlines?’ Leanne says!  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.