19 Jan 15
Q&A with Leanne Carter-Taylor, the inspirational owner and founder of quintessential duckeggBLUE

Anyone who has been to our showroom and seen our wall of curios will understand why I am so enamoured with cult Balmain store quintessential duckeggBLUE. When I relocated Oak & Linden from London, I lovingly (and rather overprotectively) wrapped and packed my ever growing collection of miniature portraits and other little treasures I had amassed during my travels. I was worried that such treasures may be difficult to find once I left Europe’s markets behind. I soon discovered that Australia also has a wonderful network of markets and Antique stores, but nowhere made me feel more inspired  (and in need of another item to add to my collection) than Leanne Carter-Taylor’s quintessential duckeggBLUE. I was lucky enough to interview her for our blog…

“Not long after relocating from the UK, you opened your fashion boutique duckeggBlue, then your furniture store quintessential duckeggBLUE, now you also have a digital magazine. What is it that makes you move in such great leaps? Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?”

You just need to get on and do whatever it is that you want to do!  Don’t think about ‘what’s stopping you’, enough of procrastination – instead just do it (exactly as the Nike ad says!).  Be responsible for your now and the future.  I’ve worked for large companies in the UK and I would never want to go back to that….I’m too creative with too many ideas to be held back with large business ‘red tape’ …..I learnt and experienced 5 years of the ground rules and foundation of retail buying & marketing while in the UK – that was enough of a solid base for me to venture out and make my own way….I’m now responsible for both the success and the failures, but I like it that way….I’d rather the fault lie with me than somebody else…..create your own destiny.


“What is it that you love most about objects with a past life?”

Each object has a story and a history that I will never know everything about…..you know the old saying…”if an object could speak”…….not knowing what is has seen, who were the previous owners, what was it used for… the imagination runs wild! Oh to be a fly on the wall at certain stages of some of these objects’ life! It’s quite a romantic thought process, but an interesting one, also great to continue the cycle in a way and above all else it’s one of the best forms of recycling……giving old items a new purpose of life and use…..it saves on the land fill and that’s a good thing.  I think people should be much more aware of this in today’s world.  Too many people are consumed by price and value, but what they don’t see as they are too blinkered by the cheap dollar signs is all the landfill that is filled with tons of packaging every year from these mass produced items, let alone the sweat shops that they are produced in.  This is all too often conveniently overlooked.

“What is your sourcing philosophy when you go on buying trips?”

I look for interesting, sometimes functional, sometimes not, pieces of furniture or decoration that inspire me and have a story to tell.  If it can fit in the shipping container and I can fit through the doors to our store then I’m happy to purchase the piece.  I’m sure my husband and the guys we use to unpack the container wished I paid more attention to the weight of pieces!  I don’t really pay too much attention to this…. (She says with a wry grin on her face)….why would weight stop me?  It actually did once when I had the opportunity to buy some original English red phone boxes!  They were made out of cast iron and weighed approx. a quarter of a tonne (250kg)…..this just wasn’t feasible……I still regret it to the day! I always purchase to my taste level….the majority of my finds I would happily have at home.  Clients either love or hate what I do…..luckily; we seem to have a great following for my taste in all things industrial & antique.

“What has been your most exciting discovery?”

That’s a hard one to answer! I really don’t think I have an answer to that…..there have been so many pieces of furniture that I have been beyond ecstatic to find…..I think people don’t quite realise the lengths I go to find these pieces…they are all one-offs…..never to be found again….I hunt high and low in places that you really don’t want to venture too….and at very unsociable hours of the day.  So when I do find something hidden away at the back of a barn or factory, covered in muck and dirt and animal droppings (sometimes the odd dead bird or two thrown in for good measure), then you might get an idea of how happy I am to find an amazing find hidden away.  I love the fact that these pieces end up in the homes of clients that appreciate these finds…..these objects deserve a good home.

I do have pieces at home that I won’t part with….but I wouldn’t say that they were my most exciting discovery.

. Pic: Dan Himbrechts

“Using vintage and antique props has become extraordinarily popular for styling weddings. What has been the most amazing concept a client has had using your wares?”

Well exactly 2 years ago on Melbourne Cup day a rather interesting American gentleman and his large entourage visited our store.  He purchased a huge industrial timber loom that we had mounted onto one of our walls and filled it with bobbins of wool (the loom came from the French maker of all the wool carpets for the Elyse royal palace in Paris) and also a counter covered in paint splashes (I had re-claimed it from a paint manufactures workshop dating back to the 50’s).  He also purchased all the props I had styled the two pieces together with, glass medical jars, red Tolix chairs etc…..basically exactly as we had it set up in the store….turned out he was the owner and founder of the leading American premium denim label, Adriano Goldschmied Jeans, and that this display was for his flagship store in New York……it’s set up there now….looking amazing…..I quite like that story…..reclaimed from France, shipped to Sydney then shipped to NY.

“A lot of people love the idea of an eclectically styled home but are unsure of how to go about it. What advice would you give to readers ready to take the plunge?”

Buy the best that you can afford, quality always far outweighs reproduction, and most importantly decorate with pieces that you love.  Some of my favourite finds are from over 10 years ago and they still make me smile every day.

Mixing re-claimed timber pieces with beautiful quality leather and original metal is the basis for a successful industrial feel.  The differing patinas add texture, tone and layers to your home without ‘trying to hard’ and the need of over accessorizing.  I personally love a neutral palette…..my home is painted in white & black….I then add colour in the form of timbers, leather and decorative finds.

Don’t beafraid to introduce industrial lighting into a contemporary space. It can be found often in neutral colours such as black & white (my home is full of this lighting).  It adds character but isn’t a huge statement.

A mix of different chairs around your dining table always adds an eclectic feel….I have 6 chairs, 4 of which are different colours and styles….I like that I have a choice of chairs to sit on….whichever takes my mood.  You can add to your collection over time as and when you find what you are looking for.  It’s all about character and something just a little different.


“I couldn’t agree more! Leanne, your passion for finding the unique wares that fill your store is contagious and I look forward to my next visit!”

For more inspiration checkout the questessential magazine here.

quitessential dickeggBLUE is located at 497 Darling St. Balmain, N.S.W 2041. You can also checkout some of their treasures online.

Happy hunting!

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