CHARM & CHARACTER – THE VINTAGE BARN

The Ballito MagazineDecember 18, 2023

Trends come and go. If you’re anything like me, you’ve fallen into the sneaky trap of decor hypes, which you end up hating a year later (I can still remember my childhood bedroom filled with teal blue and lime green decor pieces). Another consequence of being a victim of trends is that your spaces end up looking like everyone else’s. Well, we have just the cure: secondhand shopping! Just a short drive outside of town, The Vintage Barn sits, waiting for you to explore its treasures.

Megan and Craig have been North Coast locals for over 20 years. In 2018, Craig decided to sell his food franchise business, looking for a change, and started Craig’s Van, a home movers and removals business. The couple quickly realised that much of the furniture their clients were throwing away could be easily fixed, so that’s exactly what Craig did. After a few months, they had enough refurbished furniture to fill five store rooms! They decided it was time to find a more permanent spot to offer their timeless pre-loved pieces to locals. Last July, The Vintage Barn came to life.

“We are road-trippers, so the shop is inspired by the Cape padstals and Route 66 in the US,” says Megan. The Vintage Barn is filled to the brim with vintage (older than 30 years) and antique (older than 100 years) furniture and decor, as well as collectible items such as posters and tea sets. Stocking everything from arcade games and typewriters to eclectic glassware and the iconic car-shaped couch, they provide the perfect opportunity for you to include one-of-a-kind pieces in your home, whether you want to fill a gap with a statement decoration or need a new reading chair. The Vintage Barn is also a stockist of wine barrels bought directly from the Cape!

Megan is an advocate for “mixing the old with the new” to create spaces that show off your personality. “I love history, and a lot of our pieces have stories behind them that their previous owners share with us. This gives them character.” They get most of their products from online auctions, collectors and locals who are clearing out their homes or downscaling.

Megan keeps an eye out for objects that are particularly unusual. They also offer furniture needing a bit of TLC in their “Bargain Shed”, some of which Craig goes on to refurbish to sell. He also makes gorgeous new items, such as dining room tables and chairs.

Although their furniture and decor are their best sellers, they offer so much more. Their ‘candy stand’ is popular, as well as their “man cave” stocked with CDs, records and Archie Comics as well as bar lights which they make to order. The Milkshake Bar is perfect for hungry shoppers needing a delicious toasted sandwich, hot chips, fresh coffee, milkshakes and soft drinks in glass bottles!

If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering: What is the most unusual item that has come through their barn doors? Megan has a few. “We were once given a 90-year-old cattle trough that came all the way from Australia. It has now found a permanent home in Fairview Estates. I also love our set of drive-in speakers from the 70s. These are not for sale though, yet!”

On top of discovering rare finds, shopping for pre-loved furniture and decor for your home also helps the environment. “I am against following the trends because it promotes consumerism. The world is already too full of stuff. The more we produce, the more we consume, and often products end up in landfills. Factories also damage the earth by polluting the air and water,” explains Megan. Secondhand shopping is truly a win-win scenario!

Above all, Megan wants shoppers to enjoy a unique experience while searching for gems, and her favourite thing to do is watch the reactions of those walking into The Vintage Barn for the first time. “We get a lot of people saying “wow” when they walk in. It’s the romance of the old.”

@thevintagebarnballito