Bill Richardson has always harboured an artistic flair. All you have to do is take one look at his beautiful home to see he has a unique talent. The eclectic mix of various timber tones with wicker, ceramics and interesting tactile textures, creates a boho worldly vibe.
“I just based it on things that I liked,” Bill says.
Put simply, he has an eye for style. And, while Bill enjoys managing his own commercial painting business, it just doesn’t fill that creative portion of his bucket.
It was through his world travels that Bill discovered his real passion, and so, many years later his side hustle was born –importing and selling unique furniture from abroad.
Five years ago he opened his first store, Bungalow Life.
It was here that he honed his skills and expertise for carefully curating homewares, filling the Cairns store (and his home) with unique Indonesian and Indian pieces, blending culture, texture and colour to create an experience for the senses.
Then three years ago Bill’s world collided with Sunshine Coast woman Sharon Hoskins. Bill’s artistic side and Sharon’s eye for style and fashion were a match made in heaven.
Their recently opened business is a testament to this.
Bungalow Life Gympie offers a warehouse-style shopping experience. Overflowing with homewares, furniture, clothes, shoes and handbags, the store is already proving popular with southeast designers and homeowners alike.
“Previously I had a retail fashion store in Maroochydore,” Sharon tells salt. “I predominantly specialise in Italian fashion. It’s a niche market.
“Bill and I combined our interests – art, furniture and fashion and created a separate entity in Bangalow Life Gympie.
The pair pride themselves on presenting a business with a difference, and say people would be hard-pressed to find another place that stocks such a comprehensive range of authentic Asian vintage and antique pieces.
Through the years, Bill has built up a network of suppliers. And as the world locked down during the pandemic, he was able to place his trust in these people to continue sourcing quality products. “We do buying trips but we haven’t been able to do that through COVID,” Bill explains.
“Sharon and I are off to Bali at Christmas and then I’m going to do an Indian trip earlier in the year. We have about 20 suppliers over there. All of our products are personally sourced and brought over in 20- to 40-foot containers.
“I have a process and choose [based] on my preferences.
“About 80 per cent of the pieces presented to me are rejected, and only 20 per cent make it over here to the shop.”
The majority of Bungalow Life’s furniture and homewares are authentic, but the couple is now also dabbling in reproduction pieces to ensure various price points are met.
Bill and Sharon say the key to finding the right piece for your home is to have confidence in your selection. From supersized Indonesian statement mirrors that date back 80 years, to intricately carved decades-old sideboards, there is something for every home – whether it be a modern Hamptons design, or more like Bill’s boho style.
For Bill and Sharon, it comes down to appreciating the workmanship and unique patterns in a piece of furniture.
“You don’t have to have a complete theme,” Sharon says.
“You can pick up a feature piece and fit it in with your preferred style of décor. It comes down to the quality of
Antique vs vintage
Too often these descriptions are used interchangeably when in fact antique and vintage style periods standalone in their own right. So, what exactly is the difference?
Technically, a piece of furniture must date back 100 years to be called an antique, while a vintage piece ranges back in time between 20 and 80 years ago. As long as it feels like it belongs in a different era, then a pre-loved item can be called vintage.
34 Duke Street, Gympie.
bungalowlife.com.au (Australia wide shipping)