Brisbane is a long way from the Normandy region of France. Most of us would love to make the trip ourselves, indulging of course in some exquisite antiques acquiring, but an overseas buying sojourn is generally a little out of reach. As it happens, there is a little pocket of Normandy in the middle of Brisbane.
Owners of the beautiful Vieille Branche, Brisbane couple Jennifer and JC, are living the dream and bringing true French antiques to their Albion boutique warehouse. The romantically styled space is brimming with one-of-a-kind curios and furniture galore.
And while the selection of antiques and objects is completely divine and well worth regular visits, the store has also recently developed in to a hub for workshops, events, and classes.
After all, what better backdrop is there than an artfully rustic warehouse full of French treasures to, say, learn French? Vieille Branche host small and intimate French conversation classes on Mondays, perfect for brushing up on your language skills before a holiday.
And once you’ve got your conversational skills honed, how about a paper making workshop? Papermaker and Vieille Branche friend Lesa Hepburn has recently run her first Botanical Paper Making Workshop in the space, with future sessions set to continue.
On top of these classes, Vieille Branche is also available to hire as a venue for your next event, including dinner parties (large and small), exhibitions, photo-shoots, or other creative functions. And if you’re looking for some rustic goodies to spruce up an offsite event, Vieille Branche also hire out some of their collection to help you get the mood just right.
So if you’ve been looking for ways to realise your dreams of French living in Brisbane, Vieille Branche might just make you feel like you’ve had that antiques buying holiday after all.
Image credits: Vieille Branche and Elisabeth Harvey
TUL Note: Nadia Buick co-directs The Fashion Archives, is a freelance fashion curator, and recently submitted a PhD at QUT, so it's no surprise that she knows a thing two when it comes to art and style. Nadia is an avid wearer of vintage (just ask for her best spots about town), collects old paintings and postcards and can always find the beauty in a little clutter.
There are only a few things in life that can make you lose heartbeats and I am happy to say that a new little retail gem has re-opened its doors in Brisbane under the name Vieille Branche has captivated a few of mine. Over the last couple of months this gorgeous little warehouse tucked away in Fox Street Albion has undergone some serious paintwork, cleaning and incredible styling to launch this wonderful creative new space filled with gorgeous one of a kind pieces had selected from France by a lovely couple Jen and JC. 50% Aussie and 50% French this duo sure have an eye for all things beautiful. Vieille Branche is also the home of Sue (Jen’s mum) and Marcel – Jen and JC’s affectionate Jack Russel – Another little heart stealer…. This light, open airy space is entirely alluring. Don’t be fooled by the wide open large warehouse roller door, once inside you are trapped. You will feel like you need to stay here for hours to take in all of the wondrous details of things from years gone by, a time capsule of rustic beauty this is a space to get lost in. Jen has styled this place so perfectly it almost seems like travesty to remove items to take them home, but alas good news for all, everything is available for sale. Woops. Except for JC’s canoe. A suspended feature of the warehouse this piece will remain a permanent detail of the divine space at Fox Street.
Originally positioned in the back streets of Newstead the new home for Vieille Branche opens the doors for endless possibilities regarding events and private functions, items for hire and so much more. Naturally this wonderful family are optimistic about the future of this little dream turned to reality. I am certain Brisbane and travellers from afar will embrace this incredibly unique labour of love and it will continue to enrich our lives with trinkets and collectables from other eras that will adorn our homes for years to come. A visit to Vieille Branche is an absolute must. Get your vintage skates on and get down there. 10 Fox Street Albion Brisbane.
Wild at Heart Flowers was absolutely thrilled to be a part of the opening night with a carte blanche style approach it was not hard to weave some floral magic into some of their incredible gorgeous rustic vessels to celebrate the opening doors. Keep an eye out for future market days at the venue… An exciting opportunity to meet flower lovers in this fabulous space at a grass roots level.
Thank you to Jen, JC, Sue and Marcel for a delightful evening at Vieille Branche… Congratulations x
BLOGGER GEORGIA CANNON - TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
Posted by georgiacannon on July 10, 2013 Take Your Vitamins
Jen + JC had spent plenty of time pottering about with old pieces of furniture but it was on their recent trip to France, for Jen to meet JC’s family + friends, that the seed for their new venture was planted.
JC’s mother introduced them to the secondhand store close to the family home in Gouville Sur Mer, Normandy. Jen remembers her first trip there, ‘It was so exciting! They just had everything from fantastic 1700s dressers + antique farm tables to wartime icons, antique linens, Napoleonic + art deco pieces… everything! Unlike here in Australia everything was real! It was a real old French farm table, a real helmet that someone actually wore in the First World War + a milk pitcher that a real old French lady used to collect the milk from the farmer! I found the whole thing so fascinating!’
From there, with help from Jen’s parents back in Brisbane – Jen’s mum, Sue, also runs a small framing workshop from the store specialising in custom frames fashioned from recycled timber – Jen + JC went about stocking a local warehouse with bits + pieces to ship home for sale.
The buying process itself sounds like it was an adventure, ‘The shop in France was very popular; because Normandy is so close to England many tourists catch the ferry over to go on buying trips + generally lots of people would be there each day. There was a high turnover of furniture so JC + I visited almost every second day. We would take a quick look around the shop, subtly indicating what things we liked to each other, sussing out the competition, then run + grab a shop attendant who would mark the items as sold.’
After a few of these stealth shopping trips the owner of the secondhand store, Manuel, became curious as to why the pair were buying such large quantities of furniture. Once he discovered the plan he was keen to get involved. Jen says,‘Manuel gave us a lot of advice on how to treat the wood before shipping + how to pack the furniture correctly in cardboard. He also suggested we start a partnership which would enable us to increase the size of the container + fill it with some smaller objects like the exquisite marbled porcelain from the 1950s + items that we may not have necessarily had access to like the extremely old 1700s sideboards.’
The process of packing up the container was a 3hr marathon effort that was documented in this lovely little time-lapse video…
Once back in Australia Jen, a graphic designer, + JC, a photographer + illustrator, put their skills to use developing a logo + typography for their stationery suite + website + photographing each + every item for the online store. After starting primarily online they were offered their current space in Newstead which is shared with photographers Sam Thies +Josh Thies + digital creative agency Pusher.
Jen + JC are regularly in touch with their French suppliers + have started sourcing specific items by request. They are also planning another buying trip in September.
Whilst they love their French fare Jen + JC are also passionate about supporting the local Brisbane creative scene. To that end they are playing host to a Winter Market this Saturday, July 13. Do pop down to check out the space + wares of some of our local creative talent + head over to their website for more info!