Today I want to share with you a great Melbourne furniture store find. Tucked around the back of the Balaclava shopping strip, is The Cool Room. True to its name, in one large space it displays an eclectic range of funky new, vintage and recycled furniture, in addition to eye catching ornaments, lighting and all sorts of unique bit and pieces.
It is hard to know which way to look when you enter The Cool Room. A low slung recycled timber table caught my eye, followed quickly by a stencilled tabletop with vibrant red recycled steel legs, converted industrial table, modernist style lounges and a huge Campari sign hung across the back wall. And that was just the first 10 seconds of stepping through the door. Owner Ric Delbridge sources all the pieces himself – some are restored vintage pieces, others he has created using recycled timber and steel, and others are stylish finds he has come across in his travels.
It is clear Ric is passionate about each and every piece of furniture he holds, and can regale stories about how they were made, where they were found, or how they can be customised. Ric shared with us his inspiration behind his store, and the real reason he named it The Cool Room.
1. What was the defining moment to create the Cool Room? After a car accident I was unable to work as a nurse, so I decided to open a second-hand furniture store. I always collected furniture, and friends would say I had a good eye. It’s not really work when you do something you’re passionate about.
2. Tell us a bit more about the building of the Cool Room. The Coolroom is located at the rear of 133 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, between Marlborough St and Carlisle Street. It is accessible via the carpark. The history of the building is an interesting one. Previously, it was a carving room for a Kosher butcher that fronted Carlisle Street. As a result I found it easy to name my business, as the building was indeed once a coolroom.
3. What do you see as the benefit of recycled /up cycle furniture? By reusing, repairing and reselling furniture we reduce the amount of hard waste going to landfill. This is important to those concerned about the environment. Recycled and vintage furniture has a history, adding character to a room. Finally, recycled furniture can often be better designed and made, even cheaper than some current-day mass produced furniture. Personally I see recycling an important lesson to teach our children.
4. Do you have a favourite or memorable find? Did you keep it? Yes, it was a wooden toy of Don Quixote and his horse. I keep it in the coolroom protected under a glass dome.
5. What does a normal work week involve? The coolroom is open Friday through to Monday. The rest of my week is spent placing orders with my upholsterer, for recovering and restoration. Designing and ordering new couches, chairs and desks to be made. Searching out new finds for the shop.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s next for Ric at the coolroom? Well, you’re the first to know, but we have started to produce vintage and industrial style furniture here in Melbourne, using recycled timbers. We will continue to be a shopping destination for funky lighting, clocks, stools, chairs, lounges and that odd treasure.
If you want to talk to Ric about any of the pieces you see here, he is more than open for a chat. Alternatively, he is happy to discuss your needs, and can make you the perfect item of furniture you have always wanted – made with recycled timbers, recycled steel and even your own vintage fabric if you are lucky enough to own it! (Psst – you can also check out some of his pieces on ebay if you cant make it down to see him in person!).
Rear of 133 Carlisle St, Balaclava
(entry through Marlborough carpark)
OPEN: Saturday – Sunday 10-5pm