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Home Stories: Taylor Pitsilos

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I have a lot of friends who are into ‘vintage’, but personally, I find it hard to clear through the clutter and define what it actually is.

Some like finding pieces in garage sales that look like they were salvaged from the Titanic, some get into the popular Rockabilly trend and others inherit Grandma’s old lamp that looks like a Tiffany piece (but most likely it isn’t). So, I was really looking forward to hanging out with Taylor Pitsilos to find a better definition.

Taylor owns Designer Op Shop on Lonsdale Street in Braddon (at least for the moment until it moves to a Fyshwick location and becomes an Emporium) and her home is a new apartment in the centre of Woden.

She studied fashion business, then dived straight into running the store and retail work. Why? Because Taylor and her mum had been collecting vintage items for years. Rather than becoming those people you see on one of those ‘I’m a hoarder get me out of here’ TV shows, they decided to turn their obsession into a business.

After a tour of the shop, our photographer Cass and I went back to visit Taylor’s home. By the time we got there, the vintage thing really started to click. Essentially vintage is about high-quality items in classic style, going against the fad and, most importantly, not being disposable.

In a collision of modern and vintage, I noticed the way Taylor fused classic elements like crystal vases or ornate gilded framed pictures, with modern pieces like fashion magazines and marble coasters all grouped together into what she calls ‘clusters’.

Last time I tried that styling tactic at home, it looked like as if I had either run out of storage room or had to leave the house in a hurry. I didn’t realise that the trick is in the balance; heavy with small, modern with old, structured with the natural—see the photo of the flowers on top of the Tom Ford book to illustrate the point. Armed with this knowledge, I couldn’t wait to go home and cluster way more objects than just the tightly packed items in my fridge.

A challenge for many vintage enthusiasts is that items don’t come matching. Taylor’s advice is to thread them together using a stripped-back colour palette. In her home, for example, that palette is grey, deep green and a touch of gold. Of course, you can get more creative, as long as at first glance the eye has a common thread to rest on before landing on gems like that the mid-century armchair in the corner.

Our conversation got cut off there because Taylor’s doggie came back from a walk and launched himself directly at Cass. That photo of him running at the camera is the last one you’ll see from Cass for a while. The doctor at the hospital did say she should be able to shoot another story in a few weeks.








Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here and read about Canberra Centre’s home wares haven here.

Home Stories is brought to you in partnership with Canberra Centre

Photos by Cass Atkinson

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