Bright Nights: Spice up your next outdoor gathering with the coloured mini paper lanterns $20 each from The Orient Express.
India is a vibrant, intensely colourful place full of intoxicating spices, dusty bazaars and opulent architecture. Transport yourself to this exotic country with jewel-toned decor, rich textiles and handmade colonial furniture.
Visit our Indian Concept Store at The Orient Express, 449 Victoria Street Richmond. For a short time only.
As appeared in Australian Home Ideas, April 2015
When things happen you know that family comes first. That’s the beauty of having a brother-and-sister team, we trust each other implicitly.
Siblings Penny Dunn and Paul Tozer describe themselves as opposites – the former mercurial and extroverted, the latter quiet and patient.
It’s an alchemy that has thrived on family ties to turn a specialist furniture store into a highly successful business.
“That’s why we work well together,” says Paul, 46. Interjects Penny who is older by two years and four months – with a laugh: “He’s quiet. And I’m very bossy. A firecracker.”
The duo is the face of Abbotsford’s The Orient Express, a 2000-square-metre showroom and warehouse of authentic Chinese antiquities and furniture established by their father Murray Tozer in 1998.
Paul is the managing director, while Penny takes care of all things creative.
Retail, antiques and furniture restoration have always been in their blood. Their parents had a Brighton hobby antiques shop, and at home, would be revamping furniture in the back garden. When Murray Tozer went to live in Hong Kong and China, his son visited and began sending back judiciously sourced antiquities and furniture. Any restoration needed would be meticulously done in their country of origin – to a great response.
With a background in retail and wholesale, Penny joined The Orient Express when her daughter, now 18, was four-and-a-half months old.
The store today has taken a broader direction from the heavy Chinese furniture it started with as requests from customers took them to Thailand, Burma and Laos.
The sibling’s differing strengths are perfect foils for each other.
She’s very definite, incredibly creative and unbelievably hardworking and loyal.
And Paul is?
Patience personified. A true strength in buying and customer service of a level that I’ve never seen, where I just go ‘oh my god!’
Brother and sister have also somehow mirrored each other’s lives in a way – both with children but at different ages – and the shared experiences are invaluable.
“We’ve been through different transitions,” Penny says. “When things happen you know that family comes first. That’s the beauty of having a brother-and-sister team, we trust each other implicitly.”
PRIZED POSSESSION Our 150-hear-old Bridal Bed that is not for sale but is displayed in the showroom. They have had this piece since they opened the business.
Article appeared in Home Style, Sunday Age, March 2015. Written by Miranda Tay