January 22, 2009


When Darren and I decided to move to New Zealand, one of the big questions we had to answer was "do we bring all of our furniture, or sell everything and replace it in New Zealand?" I think many people moving across the world struggle with that question.

In our case, we did have some very nice furniture that we definitely wanted to bring with us - our bed suite, a chaise lounge and our coffee table/trunk. Other items were older (my 10+ year-old couches and dining room table) or too large/unstable to move (IKEA desk).

To get an idea of the kind of furniture in New Zealand, we did a basic search for furniture stores online. We found very few sites, as bandwidth in New Zealand is quite expensive. Since we were also looking at Real Estate listings for places to rent, we began to use those listings to get an idea of how people were furnishing their homes here.

We were frightened! We saw big fluffy flower-patterned couches, and cheap dining room tables. (And no, sadly I cannot find examples now. Guess you'll just have to trust me!).

Knowing there is no IKEA here in New Zealand (and there may never be...), we decided to go ahead and bring the old couches and the assembled entertainment centre. And they have served us well over the past two years, allowing us time to explore the furniture stores in Wellington. The one glaring exception has been what Darren has been using for a desk: an old dresser I bought for $50 when I was a poor university student. The drawers were quite useful for storing desk stuff and other random bits and pieces, and the top was spacious enough for his computer and peripherals. You can imagine, though, that it was in no way ergonomically pleasing for him to sit there.

Said dresser was kept in the dining/kitchen area, as it wouldn't fit anywhere else in the apartment. Yep, it looked a bit strange, but it was useful. More useful than a dining room table? No...we haven't actually eaten at a table (other than the aforementioned coffee table) in our own apartment since we moved here. We sold the one we had in the US because we didn't love it enough to ship it here, and most of the dining tables we've come across were cheaply made, very expensive or both. Not that one would fit in the dining area with the dresser, anyway.

Then Darren found Vast. It's not on our usual walking route through town - it's pretty far down a road that leads out of town. One that we only see from a bus window as we make our way North to the Hutt Valley. There are heaps of furniture stores on this road (Thorndon Quay, for you local readers), and Darren decided to check them out one day. Turns out most of them are quite expensive (read: Freedom)! But Vast was different.

Vast is an Australian chain, although each store is independently owned by franchisees who can buy from whichever suppliers suit them (which explains the less than robust website).

So, you're thinking we found a desk, right? No, but we did fall in love with a gorgeous solid mangowood table, and four matching leather chairs. The salesman was very friendly, and gave us very detailed answers to all of our questions. (Turns out he is the owner!)

Luckily, we have a Mac, and it looks great on the table/desk. And Darren finds it much more ergonomic!

The story doesn't end there, though. Once we had cleaned out the dresser and moved it to the garage (hey, anyone need a dresser?), we found we had some desk 'stuff' that we needed to store...somewhere close to the table/desk. Back to Vast we went! Mainly because they were having a one year anniversary sale.

And we found this beautiful side table sourced from India. It is solid wood, with old shutter doors that have been refurbished, then treated to look "old" again. It was more than we wanted to spend, but I stared at it until it said "take me home". I'm not about to argue with a cabinet.

Here it is!

The detail on the doors -

Even the inside of the door is beautiful!

The best part, is that the side cabinet works well with the table and holds desk stuff (for now). If we ever find "the" desk, the cabinet can easily be used for dining room 'stuff'.

Oh, and we can't have a vase without any flowers! Darren found this wild bouquet at the supermarket. For $4! I love this country.

Oh, and if you're wondering about prices, just send me a note through the blog. I don't mind spilling since I feel we got a great deal on both pieces, but thought it would be a bit brash to state the prices in the post. And if you are really interested in the store, make sure you pay them a visit during their sale, which is on through the rest of January.


Heather said...

I do love that you can get some beautiful cheap flowers for $4 around here!

I think we'd better check out Vast for some chairs. It's getting to the point where a guest can't sit in one of our chairs without becoming worried that they have broken it =(

Nocturnal Queen said...

Love your new furniture pieces! Very nice. :-)

RooManda said...

Beautiful! I love how clutter free your house is, it's so calm and relaxing. You've inspired me to clean out a closet today.

If you ever need someone to take care of the table while you're gone, just let me know. It's gorgeous and I love it!

Blaise said...

bah. vast's website is down. Mind posting an address?

Oh and yes, we are looking for a dresser. drop me a line if you're interested in selling :)

d said...

Blaise - the address is:

262 Thorndon Quay
Thorndon, Wellington

It's not too bad of a walk from the train station, but if you want to take a bus, the 44 (Go Wellington) goes down there (Zone 1), or any of the Hutt buses (81,83).

Marrisa said...

Not only do I need to get to Vast and quickly, but you also need to tell me where to buy cheap flowers - I cant find anywhere! I hate buying supermarket as they die so quickly and even local florists are crazy....!

Love the furniture!! xx

Sarah said...

LOVE it! Our Mac sits on our dining room table too and we love having our favourite photographs spinning on the screen saver (though that doesn't happen often as we're usually busy on the Mac!). Could definitely do with one of those gorgeous dressers to store all our paper work close at hand... keep trying to be disciplined and file it away in our little 'office' room upstairs (which we never use - too far removed from our main living area!), but generally the paper work sits in piles on the dining table - not a good look!

LOVE those flowers too - stunning!


RedViolets said...

When did you move to NZ? And what service did you use to ship your furniture? How expensive was it?

d said...

RedViolets - we moved in November 2006. We used Allied Pickfords to move from Maryland to Wellington. There were some challenges (our container took the long route via Singapore!), but they made it right in the end. We used them again to move when we bought our house earlier this year.

The shipping is incredibly expensive, but it was worth it for us. While we have purchased some nice furniture here - and more quality furniture is available than several years ago - we already had some very nice pieces that we wanted to keep. We shipped a full container; with insurance, it was upwards of $20k.