Steve Grant and Tracey Finch are sat on a row of old, weathered chairs ripped out from a theatre somewhere, they’re not sure where – “maybe Kapunda?”
This pew once might’ve had an exciting life – days spent entertaining guests with popcorn stuffed down its cracks and young lovers sharing saliva atop it as the credits roll.
Now though, the material is torn through like a patient on an operating table, guts and bones in the shape of foam and steel on full display through the gashes.
To the wrong eye, it looks like something long past its used by date, destined for the scraps.
To Steve and Tracey, owners of Scullery Day’s Vintage, it’s anything but. It’s potential.
“It’s all about having an eye for what someone will eventually use it for,” Tracey says.
This couple has always harboured a love for antiques, but Tracey had magpie eyes focused on all things shiny before she moved to the Barossa.
“When I moved here, the rust kept talking to me though, so I started buying it,” she says.
“Once you love rust, you get addicted to it. You can’t stop.”
The persuasive rust pointed her in the direction of Steve, who was himself collecting the auburn treasure and selling it at garage sales. They quickly became each other’s most prized picks.
“I met Trace and then one day I said, why don’t we just do this together?” Steve says.
“And now here we are.”
“Here” is a tin shed on the outskirts of Truro housing everything from mannequins to gumball machines, cogs to car bodies.
An abundance of items so plentiful they spill out the shed door and creep all the way down to the back of the property.
Everything has one commonality, that deep orange tinge of rust the pair can’t get enough of.
They describe their goods as “rustic, bygone wears” and go to great lengths to find them.
“We travel across the country, knocking on doors, getting call outs, stopping wherever things are being sold. Just trying to find anything with history,” Tracey says.
“Now that a lot of the main thoroughfares are all picked out, you’ve got to get off the beaten track and bounce around a bit to see what’s down there,” Steve explains.
“That’s what we like doing, we find a road we’ve never been down and just keep driving until we find something.”
When they arrive at a property, it’s not all easy pickings though.
“Dealing with old blokes, guys that have had stuff on their property since their grandparents were alive, usually they’re relatively well off financially so they don’t need the money,” Steve shares.
“So, when you go knocking on their door to try and buy stuff, they say, ‘Nah it can stay there. Grandad had it there, dad had it there and the boys can have it there when I’m gone.’
“By letting them know that we will be saving these things and getting them to a good home rather than off to the scrap market, a lot of the time that will sway people’s minds.”
And making every effort to save these things is what they do best.
With all the gems they gather on the road, Tracey and Steve hold a Shed Open Day once a month at their property, take appointments for people to look around in between those days, have an online store, and also have a few selling spots across the border in Victoria and New South Wales.
They’ve found a real uptake in people wanting projects in the past few years, giving exciting new lives to objects that would’ve otherwise faced a scrapyard sentence.
“Because people aren’t tripping around the country or overseas, they are interested in buying a project to do with that money they would have otherwise gone on holiday with,” Steve says.
Tracey agrees, noting, “That’s become more of a focus.
“The idea that, really, what you’ve got in the end is your home so it may as well be how you like – making it into your palace.”
Corroded car bodies have been restored to their former glory, scrap bits of metal have been melded into works of art, and a row of former theatre chairs, just like the ones Tracey and Steve are sat upon, have found their way into the home theatre of a National Trust house.
“A lot of rusty bits and pieces we pick up, we can’t necessarily say what it once was, but we know someone will come in with a creative idea and suddenly see something they can do with it,” they say.
“It keeps it alive.”