When Matthew Robertson’s pregnant wife said the furniture collection had to go before the baby arrived, he saw the opportunity to tick something off his bucket list.
“I’ve always dreamed of owning a retro furniture shop so my wife’s ultimatum was all I needed,” Matthew says.
The result is Space + Style in Alnwick Street, Warkworth, which specialises in mid-century dining and lounge suites, and home furnishings.
Matthew, an architectural designer by trade, first got into buying furniture online as a hobby and learnt about different designers and what was collectable. In 2007, when the economy crashed and builders and architects found themselves out of work, he turned to on-selling furniture and now restores furniture as well.
“My work is all done by hand to get a nice finish and I’ve learnt a lot about restoring the different designs over the years. A single chair can take up to five hours to finish.”
Matthew’s connection with selling ceramics goes back even further, to the days when he needed to pay his university fees.
“A lot of the best Crown Lynn was exported so I used to buy it cheap on eBay from the United States, and then sell it here to help cover my tuition fees.”
The shop is also doubling as an office for Matthew’s architectural projects.
Originally from Lower Hutt, he began as a draughtsman before completing his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Auckland.
He has worked on a number of projects for architectural firms such as Deighton Gibbs, David Ponting and Duane Jackson in Canada.
“Duane had customers such as Sarah McLachlan and the owner of EA Games, and I once worked on a multi-million dollar house with a 4000-square metre floor plan.”
Matthew has done drawings for a number of houses in Mangawhai.
He and wife Hana Mori-Robertson moved to Warkworth in 2009. They have two daughters, Maya and Yuka, and one five-month-old son, Kenji.