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Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

In Focus | Trentham General

In Focus | Trentham General

Lynda Gardener and her business (and life) partner Mark Smith have transformed an old dilapidated bank in the quaint country town of Trentham in Victoria, into a cafe and provision store, and it’s pretty special. Stylist extraordinaire Lynda, whose work we have featured here and here on Hunter & Folk in the past, has a knack for creating the most wonderful spaces, set in the most beautiful locations. The new, moody interior is picture-perfect, and almost like walking through a real-life oil painting. Along with Bauwerk, Lynda has also created GENERAL by Bauwerk, a new paint colour celebrating the new space.

 The beautiful and moody interior of Lynda Gardener and Mark Smith’s new cafe and provision store, Trentham General. Photo -  Danny Wootton .

The beautiful and moody interior of Lynda Gardener and Mark Smith’s new cafe and provision store, Trentham General. Photo - Danny Wootton.

Hi Lynda, tell us about when you first stumbled upon the Trentham General site – was it love at first sight?  My partner Mark and I have always loved this old building. Our boutique accomodation location The Estate Trentham is literally around the corner, so we’re very familiar with the site. Once it came up for rent, we dived in and decided to make a go of it! We wanted something truly special for the town - to create a space which was unique and which would also add to the authenticity of the beautiful little area.

 Lynda Gardener’s picture-perfect styling is evident in every corner of the interior. Photo  Danny Wootton .

Lynda Gardener’s picture-perfect styling is evident in every corner of the interior. Photo Danny Wootton.

Was opening a general store on your to-do list or did it take you completely by surprise? Absolutely! It was quite random and not on my list of long term goals. Mark left his last employment as Marketing Director for the Queen Victoria Market a year ago and wanted a total change… something very different to the corporate world he was working in. He was really drawn to the country - so it all fell into place once the building became available for rent. He literally started working in his dream role, which has also included designing all the interior vision for Trentham General.

 The walls of Trenham General have been painted in GENERAL by  Bauwerk , created by Lynda Gardener.  Danny Wootton .

The walls of Trenham General have been painted in GENERAL by Bauwerk, created by Lynda Gardener. Danny Wootton.

What’s the best thing about owning a business together? The best part about running this business together has been knowing that your partner is there for the business as much as you are. The two of us working  together, all hours and having 100% trust  each other day in day out.

“When you work as a team, you don’t carry the weight on your own shoulders, you can discuss and work out the best way to work around things together.”

There were difficult days in the beginning as we had never worked together before - Mark would run certain aspects very differently to me, so it took a little bit of time to sort out and level out and also to realise it was just a different way of doing things and my way was not always the only way! 

 Mark Smith, busy at work at Trentham General. Photo  Danny Wootton .

Mark Smith, busy at work at Trentham General. Photo Danny Wootton.

Tell us about the transformation of the space to what it is now?  The renovation process was huge. The old bank was rather basic in its form inside - lots of random rooms and corridors which didn’t make a lot of sense. Our brief was to incorporate and make the best of every bit of the space. We wanted to keep the interior open, simple and quite pared back - with a very strong feature in the form of the serving bench/counter for coffee and our original shop dessert cabinet. We included large hanging baskets with oversized ferns and plants hanging from the super tall ceilings, a couple of old rustic tables, as well as custom-made tables and banquet seating with cushions made from original army tent fabrics, which were sourced and handmade for the fit out.

“We’re so very pleased with the end result, it’s everything we wished and imagined.”
 Photo  Danny Wootton .

What do you love most about the space?  The mood - it’s very, very special. The lighting in the space is very dull and very moody on dull days, however as we face North we have lots of natural light pour in from the very tall windows all along the front of the café, so we pretty much rely on all natural lighting.

 The picture-perfect culinary dishes from the cafe at Trentham General. Photo  Danny Wootton .

The picture-perfect culinary dishes from the cafe at Trentham General. Photo Danny Wootton.

 The exterior of Trentham General which was formerly a town bank. Photo  Danny Wootton .

The exterior of Trentham General which was formerly a town bank. Photo Danny Wootton.

Tell us about the new paint colour for Trentham General - what was your inspiration behind the new colour? My new paint colour GENERAL by Bauwerk is a very strong bold colour with a very moody dark tone. All Bauwerk paints are made from ingredients from the earth; there are no smells, it’s easy to use, it’s more of a wash paint - the messier you paint it on the wall, the better it works and looks… just ask Mark, he is the new official expert after painting every single wall in the entire building!

 Lynda Gardener and her business (and life) partner Mark Smith. Photo  Danny Wootton .

Lynda Gardener and her business (and life) partner Mark Smith. Photo Danny Wootton.


Trentham General  
37A High Street, Trentham, Victoria 3458


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