Update 2019 – Le French Quarter has moved to 548 River Rd, Hamilton, ph 07 855 6644. The following is for historic purposes!
Tucked along Taylor Road is a little shop of eclectic and collectable wares, operating out of an old woolshed. Number 8 Network welcomes Le French Quarter’s Vicky den Hertog to Gordonton.
It all came about because of the husband, Vicky tells me as we sit in the rustic furniture out front of the shop. “He said ‘Vicky, we have a three-car garage and I can’t get the car in. You’re going to have to do something about it.’”
Tea cups, glassware, pottery, fabrics, vintage treasures had been mounting up – she has always been an avid collector, she says. “It has always been a dream of mine to run a shop, then a friend rang and said he’d just seen an old barn and to come take a look.”
This was the old Taylor woolshed on Taylor Road, which had been used by Rustic Furniture’s David Houghton. “I just stood there thinking, this is me. It was perfect.”
She approached Kay Taylor and set to. “It had been closed up for a long time, and was full of boat motors and car motors, bits of table here, a couch there but I could absolutely see the potential. David has been great; we share the woolshed out the back and he continues to make his dovecotes and furniture.”
Over Christmas she and her small team of willing workers set to, cleaning, painting and weeding. “I’m a very practical minded person, we got stuck in. There were a few late nights, and one evening I was painting by myself and had this feeling someone was watching me. I’m not used to all those country noises and started to feel a bit anxious and suddenly this possum was staring at me through the window.”
She reacted with style and grace and not too much paint was spilt. “He got more of a fright than me. I’m getting used and absolutely loving the rural aspects now. Bill (Taylor) will turn up and say he’s moving the cows down the road, to stand in the driveway and wave my hands so they don’t come down here… The Taylors are truly special people and have been so kind.”
Gordonton is a great place, she says. “It’s a lovely little community, with a great market happening and wonderful people. I’ve gone from knowing no one to really feeling part of it.
“I get people travelling in their camper vans on their way to Hawkes Bay and stopping for a chat as well as the locals who are starting to find out that I’m here. All good things take time.”
The name came from her love of French design. “Beautiful soaps from Provence, delicate glassware, textiles. You can combine beautiful vintage pieces and collectables with something gorgeous and new and it all just works and adds interest.”
She is thinking of opening for longer later in the year. “I’ll see how it goes. I like to watch my little boy play rugby and value that lifestyle.”
And husband David is also happy. “It all came together so well. I came out from town the other morning and there were peacocks in the paddock, it’s so beautiful.”
• Le French Quarter is open Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and Saturday 11am to 2pm. Phone 027 4213 205.