'Life is a crafty lady; I had a plan and then – a pandemic. Headed to the big smoke, I intended to open the store in Sydney, but 2020 was where plans went to perish.'
Life is a crafty lady; I had a plan and then – a pandemic. Headed to the big smoke, I intended to open the store in Sydney, but 2020 was where plans went to perish. So I decided a seaside change was what me and the business needed; to minimise operational costs and the squeeze of big city living. Since studying in Newcastle, it’s taken residence in the corner of my heart. Now seduced by its salty-hair-and-barefoot philosophy, it’s my heart’s home.
Where we landed
Palinopsia now calls 70 Darby St in Cooks Hill, home. In a quaint corner store on an iconic Newcastle street, we’ve laid our hat where the beloved Cooks Hill Book Store used to live. These beautiful booksellers were keepers of the shop since 1985; purveyors of second hand, rare and new publications. This brick beauty was built in the mid-1800s and had a history as a general store and a pub. There’s even whispers that back in 1879, it was a bordello run by a feisty Irish madame.
Roll up the sleeves
Finding a space that shared an affinity with the cut of our jib and fab foot traffic is no easy feat. With no builders available, due to the COVID reno-boom, most of the work fell on me. So, donning my tools, vision, and loads of YouTube ‘how to’s’ – I went to work on some serious DIY renovation. Wonderfully well-worn, the interior aesthetics was a puzzle of contrasting timbers, so the design challenge was to tie it all together. With the help of a shelving master, I overcame the overwhelm and got the job done. It took a month, but now I’m happy to claim expert painter, sander and tiler status. This timeline video gives you a visual snapshot of the project.
‘Newcastle is a hive of makers and innovators, buzzing with new growth.’
Newcastle is a hive of makers and innovators, buzzing with new growth. We’re at the North end of Darby Street, the beating heart of this creative core, bordering the Art Gallery and much-loved Civic Park. The monthly Olive Tree Markets are round the corner, showcasing one-of-a-kind, handmade local arts and crafts. Darby Street is the destination for boutique shopping, featuring a string of brilliant boutique fashion stores and the best homewares shopping in Newcastle.
Our isosceles space
Like all great things, our store is distinctive – a cosy triangle shop that follows the angles of its corner position. Natural light floods the space, bathing our ceramics in beautiful rays. As a nod to the cherished book store next door, browse and buy a selection of their celebrated cookbooks on our shelves. We’re smitten with this partnership because we believe in second chances and multiple lives, especially for books.
‘Like all great things, our store is distinctive, a cool, cosy triangle shop that follows the angles of the corner position.’
Everybody loves good neighbours
The much-adored Blackbird Corner first called this corner home after subdividing the space in 2006. So now both the Cooks Hill Book Store and Blackbird Corner are my most excellent neighbours here on Newcastle’s ‘eat street.’ The art gallery expansion on the other side of the road and the rest of our boutique neighbours make our neck of the woods a cracking creative cluster.
‘Big premises, bigger dreams. The time is now: we’re diversifying our product range to showcase local talent.’
With big premises come bigger dreams. The time is now: we’re diversifying our product range to showcase local talent. Browse our homewares store to find tableware, dinnerware, and magnificent, sculptural pottery pieces by Ceramics by Teval. We’ve got prints and artworks by local artist Melody Suranyi, as well as screen printed napery: table linen and napkins. Whether you pass by every day, live round the corner or just visiting – we’ve got beautiful things to peruse in our quirky new premises. Drop by our handmade ceramics store and soak up the goodness.
Photography Jess Porter
Cooks Hill Book Store Profile Photo Shan Rose Photography