The couple behind Junk & Disorderly gallery video

Chris Skelton/FAIRFAX NZ

Richard and Nicole Stewart are collectors. Their Auckland home is full of various collectable items, from clocks to family portraits.

Trophies are the latest obsession for collector extraordinaire Nicole Stewart (old surfboards and vintage toys are her husband Richard's thing). Not just any old trophy though.

"Once you get into a collection you become a lot more fussy. Now it's got to be quite unusual. I've got one from the 1930s that says 'Waitress of the Month'."

The couple started Auckland second-hand business Junk and Disorderly 25 years ago, but the collecting definitely began before the dealing, says Nicole.

Nicole and Richard Stewart in their living room.
JANE USSHER

Nicole and Richard Stewart in their living room.

"I started when I was six or seven. Smurfs were my first collection, then I went on to rubbers." 

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I think it's a generational thing: Elderly people kept everything "just in case". Their children are more minimalist and don't want mum and dad's old stuff. That's why it ends up in shops like ours. I collect things with stories behind them. For example, I have the runner-up plate for a Miss New Zealand from the 60s. It seems sad that someone in the family hasn't kept it. 

People can't believe: We can sleep in our bedroom with all those people watching us. But I don't feel like that at all. Richard and I don't have any of our own family portraits like this – my grandfather lost everything to fire and flood – so it's like taking someone else's history on board.

I don't worry about dust: So long as the house is clean and hygienic, it's not really a problem. In our room, on some of the portraits there's a cobweb chain. We kind of like it.

The Stewarts bedroom - they're happy to sleep watched over by other people's ancestors
JANE USSHER

The Stewarts bedroom - they're happy to sleep watched over by other people's ancestors

Our friends: Tend to be more modern and contemporary. They admire our place, but I don't think they could live in it themselves. 

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What matters: Is not the collection, it's the collection process. I'll build up a collection, then it's time to move on to something else. Fifteen years ago it was Cornishware. I had 300 pieces, then sold it. You've got to be patient. If you can find things you want when you want them, it's not as much fun as waiting and finding that particular treasure you've been looking for.  

Collection of clocks, all set to different times.
JANE USSHER

Collection of clocks, all set to different times.

Shop for your home
Fold Clock by Made of Tomorrow
Fold Clock by Made of Tomorrow
$49.00

 - NZ House & Garden

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