Canberra Centre Masthead

Country House Manuka: precious pieces from around the world

Sarah Nolen

As soon as I sat down with Marlene McCarthy, owner of Country House, I knew there was something special about this design house. Starting out 20 years ago in the antique market, Marlene has evolved her shop into a beautifully set homewares shop lined with precious pieces from around the world.

There is a passion in the people that run boutique shops like these that is like nothing you’ll experience from your big chain superstores. I can see the heart and the drive behind Marlene’s dream and it becomes contagious. As Marlene describes it, it’s about layering. To start with you find the table and then the linen is needed to dress the table. You then need to accompany the linen with a beautiful crockery and cutlery setting. Finish it off with spectacular vase or candle arrangement. You can have it all, and make it all work together.

As soon as I sat down to ask Marlene how it all came about she was already enthusiastically showing off an amazing range of embellished umbrellas set with Swarovski crystals made from the Italy company Pasotti.

‘There is a story behind every product, from families who have put their heart and soul into making immaculate and unique products’, Marlene is able to tell you each and every one of those stories.

Within the walls of Country House you will be able to find an array of homewares and crafted trinkets to fill your home. There are hand stitched cushion covers, Christofle crystal, decadent sterling silver cutlery, handmade candles and Portuguese stoneware jugs one of which I purchased myself.

Marlene travels to Europe twice a year on the hunt for something unique and new to bring back home to her loyal customers. It’s the thrill of the hunt that keeps her passion burning, a want to find something that China is yet to have replicated at a fraction of the price and quality.

The majority of products on display in this almost gallery style shop are purchased from family run businesses that have been in their trade for decades. For the buyer of such products there something special about knowing that your item was made with love and care from a family owned business over in Italy. That’s a feeling you won’t get from your machine made product which is pumped out by the thousands from the Asian market. I too am a big advocate for supporting family businesses and the handmade market so I have a great appreciation for Country Houses’ unwillingness to compromise on their standard of product.

Exclusive to Country House the new Jules Pansu collection of Picasso designed pillows and tapestries- the only authorised company in Australia licenced by the Picasso Foundation.

Country House directly import from Europe, there is a real focus on quality above and beyond scoring a cheap deal. They pride themselves on being able to offer that unique piece that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the country.

Sarah Nolen

Growing up in Canberra, interior designer with BIRDBLACK Design, Sarah enjoys nothing more than having people put their trust in her to transform their homes from drab cluttered boxes into beautiful masterpieces. She is a true believer in what you get is what you pay for. Constantly on the lookout for new trends and innovations she could never get bored with what she does. Find her at More about the Author

Canberra Centre Leaderboard