A couple of weekends ago I popped over to the Old Bus Depot Markets for a few buttons and some cheese when a new stall, It’s Covered – by Penny, caught my eye. I’d been looking for a footstool for ages—not a pouffe (tuffet) or an ottoman, but a proper footstool with carved wooden legs and nice upholstery, but I didn’t want an old style one with dark timber and tapestry—it had to be light and bright and modern. I was, or had been, on a quest, and one that I’d all but given up on, but there, on this stall was the perfect little footstool and it was definitely coming home with me.
But it wasn’t just the footstool that got my attention. Everything on this stall was delightful, more stools, dining chairs, ottomans, laundry baskets, and cushions—all in a gorgeous range of fabrics and designs, and it immediately crossed my mind that these beautiful hand-made soft furnishings would be perfect in a beach house.
Penny is former primary school teacher and passionate about visual arts, so when she stopped teaching she started looking for something to satisfy her creative leanings. “I’ve always been interested in interior design,” says Penny, “and one day I saw this fabulous upholstered chair in a trendy shop and thought ‘I would love to do that’, so I started an upholstery course. I did workshops in Sydney and learnt so much I decided to give it a go.
“One of my first jobs was an old piano stool just about ready for the scrap heap. I took it apart, replaced sections, strengthened the structure, sanded, painted, and found a suitable fabric to upholster the lid. I love this piece as it still has the dents and marks of its first life. It has so much character, and at this point I realised how much I loved bringing old pieces of furniture back to life. I enjoy both the challenge and the idea of giving a piece a second chance by taking something that has been rejected and making it beautiful and treasured.”
Penny sources her furniture from garage sales, recycling centres, clean-ups, and even people she knows offer her cast-offs. “We live in such a throw-away society,” she says. “Everyone needs to be mindful of how much our planet can take in terms of disposing of unwanted items. If everyone can do something to relieve this burden; it’s got to be a good thing.”
What you buy from Penny is a special one-off item that’s individually hand crafted. It’s not off a production line and you won’t see another anywhere else. Your piece is unique. Penny also takes on commission work and is happy to do retro, trendy, or vintage styles and fabrics.
And the beach house angle? Penny’s cushions are also something special and unique. The fabric designs are from photographs taken by her husband—Brian Scott, a local well-known photographer—of beautiful coastal scenes from the south coast and around Kiama where they live. “People love the beach décor,” says Penny, “and the cushions are attracting a lot of attention in Canberra, plus they’re also lovely mementos of holidays at the beach.” Although not upcycled, the cushions are ‘green’ and made from eco-friendly fabrics with the inserts made in Sydney by Innergreen an Australian company who use eco-friendly PET products. They’re also fully washable.
It’s Covered – by Penny is just starting out and will be at the Old Bus Depot Markets over the next few Sundays. Penny also sells from My Room, and Beachside Emporium in Kiama, and a few local south coast markets.
Images courtesy It’s Covered – by Penny