On first glance, Drift Home and Living at Forresters Beach appears to be like so many other coastal homeware shops.
But as one of the first to set up shop on the Central Coast, Drift has had the advantage of time to develop its own character and style.
Even after three or four sweeps of the vast multi-roomed store on the corner of Forresters Beach Road and The Entrance Road, I’m still only scratching the surface of its intriguing offerings.
It’s no surprise that punters regularly travel from Sydney and Newcastle (and have come from as far as Nowra and Perth) to browse the eclectic and beautifully-styled space – it’s like Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium for coastal chic homewares and furniture.
There’s a majestic peacock-blue antique Indian cabinet, baskets and shelves filled with palm- and pineapple-covered cushions, woven armadillo rugs, glass floats, shells galore and some all-mighty big pieces of driftwood.
“It all came about because I love driftwood,” says owner Katrina Jones.
Born and bred in Bateau Bay, where she now lives with her husband and two sons, Katrina says she’s always had a fascination with driftwood. The three monster branches decorating the store were found during family trips to Nambucca (on the NSW mid-north coast) and aren’t for sale.
“How can you put a price on something you’ve got for free, that means so much?” she asks.
Katrina also offers an interior design service and says timber is a key element to softening the sharp lines and shiny surfaces found in modern homes.
“You can add texture with a timber tray on a Caesarstone bench or a wooden stool in a bathroom,” she says.
Among some of the timber treasures in Drift is a rice tray from Thailand (add some green apples and pop it on a bench), an old grinder that becomes a stool when turned upside down, a trough from Burma, some Chinese milking stools, chandeliers made from wooden beads (which would look right at home in beach houses) and Katrina’s favourite item in the store – a bowing elephant carved from a single piece of Thai teak.
“I like pieces that have a story,” she says, adding that she also enjoys selling wares that contribute to a good cause.
She points out some oblong baskets that help provide an income to mothers in Zimbabwe.
Drift also supports local businesses by stocking handmade sea glass jewels by Lisa Carney Designs, nautical cushions from Little Shadows, and intricate hand-beaded linen covers by Wild Grass Textiles.
The walls throughout the store are dotted with Pearl Beach artist Peter Baka’s recycled beach works, including Moby Dick whales, wooden yachts and mermaids and fish scaled with shells and driftwood. There is also one of his more ingenious creations – a dog made from wood and golf clubs.
Along with Mooch at Killcare and Pearl Beach General Store, Drift is one of only a few places that stocks the artist’s sought-after works.
In between popular Central Coast hubs Terrigal and The Entrance, Drift is a little off the beaten track, but that’s part of its charm.
When deciding where to set up, Katrina didn’t want to be in the thick of it at Avoca or Terrigal.
“It had to be Forries – it’s perfect,” she says.
Coastal Chic Tip: Drift is open from 10am to 430pm every day. Allow lots of time to explore the store – it’s a coastal chic wonderland.