Vintage Treasures in a Historic 1890s Australian Country Cottage

updated Mar 27, 2019
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(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Name: Marnie and Ryan Hawson, their mini-Pinscher Dexter and Marnie’s parents’ cat.
Location: Riddells Creek — Victoria, Australia
Size: 1614 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years owned

Photographer and vintage shop owner Marnie Hawson and her husband Ryan live in an 1890s weatherboard cottage in the tiny town of Riddells Creek, an hour out of Melbourne. Perched on the edge of fields, an old post office out the front of their property has been converted into a home studio, while they’ve lovingly decorated the house with an assortment of perfectly curated industrial and vintage gems. It’s minimalism with a good dose of character.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)
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Dexter’s favourite spot (Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

It wasn’t until Marnie was organising their wedding that she developed a passion for all things vintage and industrial. She had so much fun sourcing old wares for their barn reception, that once the big day was over, she decided to turn her newfound passion into a business and online shop, epoch co. She’s since given up environmental science and embraced small business as a photographer and Etsy seller. As you can see, their house is a testament to her amazing taste and knack for collecting.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Industrial/vintage/scandinavian, with a dash of organised. I love neutrals and faded colours, so the house is not overly colourful!

Inspiration: Rescued vintage pieces, mostly from my treasure hunting from my vintage + industrial online shop ( I mostly use vintage pieces that I love as the hero of a room and build around that.

Favorite Element: I love the amount of light we get in the back of the house, and when friends are over we always end up crowded around the kitchen bench (a wooden door reclaimed from the depths of the barn where we were married, that sits on an industrial metal stand we found on the side of the road in inner Melbourne). I also have a soft spot for all the vintage post office boxes now spotted around the house, that we bought when the local post office got rid of them for new ones. My studio (that sits on the street front of our property) was the former Riddells Creek post office, and an old photo shows some of these exact boxes built into the front of it at one stage, so I find it really fitting that they’re back here again many years later.

Biggest Challenge: With an 1980s weatherboard, there’s always things that need doing – I still haven’t finished painting, and need to gap seal every weatherboard in the front part of the house. The ex-battery hens have destroyed the back yard with their digging, so a lot of landscaping is being planned which will include mostly vegetable gardens (and an even bigger yard for the chickens so they can’t ruin it again!).

What Friends Say: People always comment on the amount of light at the back of the house, and say that the house feels lovely and cosy.

Biggest Embarrassment: The garage style roller door in the laundry!! The previous owner thought it was amazing, but we need to just rip it out and replace it with something nice and simple – like a door!

Proudest DIY: Restoring the old post office into my office and studio, mostly done by my father-in-law and husband. It was very neglected and had a massive lean to it, and we’ve brought it back to most of its former glory.

Biggest Indulgence: My husband would say the washing machine we just upgraded to, but everything else has generally been a bargain thanks to my treasure hunting ways – even huge items like the former patient record pigeonholes from the Austin Hospital here in Melbourne (we have one in the kitchen and one in my office) were sourced from an old vodka distillery in a run down factory in Collingwood, and I sold another two of them to basically keep these for free.

Best Advice: Find pieces you love to put in your house that you think will be timeless and will hold onto for a long time. Something with a story and character to it will win every time over a cheap mass-produced piece made in China.

Dream Sources: Anything handmade and local, and we’re pretty lucky to have talented people making things around here. The lamp in our living room was an engagement present from my parents, and was made by a talented local. Any time we need something replaced in the future, I’d love to support a local maker.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Resources of Note:


  • Antique white USA on all interiors

  • Von Trott standard floor lamp
  • Charcoal Gumball Pouf from Temple & Webster
  • Couch from Freedom
  • Rug and lampshades from Ikea
  • Vintage leather armchair, cowhide, rosettes, sewing machine table, meat safe, clock, wooden crate, cream lamp, side table, metal sign over couch all from epoch co.
  • Cream armchair from Freedom


  • Kitchen island – base sourced from the street in Northcote, top is an old door from the barn where we were married
  • Lighting – Melbourne Vintage, then spraypainted black by me (was red)
  • Vintage hospital patient pigeonholes from the Austin Hospital via Epoch co.
  • Replica Eames dining chairs
  • Handmade wooden bar stools by Rundell & Rundell
  • Vintage ladder via Epoch co.

  • BEDROOM (Master)

  • Mandal bed from Ikea
  • Linen by Miss Molly
  • Pair of concrete and recycled hardwood stools from eBay (handmade in Victoria)
  • Black Planet lamps from epoch co.
  • Vintage post office boxes from the Riddells Creek Post office
  • Pair of vintage original oil painting portraits from the Camberwell market
  • Karlsson large wall clock


  • Side tables from Adairs
  • Linen by Miss Molly
  • Vintage lamp from USA
  • Vintage wicker basket from epoch co.
  • Vintage post office boxes from the Riddells Creek Post office
  • Art above bed painted by a friend


  • Mandal bed from Ikea
  • Linen cushion made in Melbourne
  • Vintage shoe lasts, wooden crate side table, suitcases, book shelf, and armoir from epoch co.
  • (Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

    Thanks, Marnie & Ryan!

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