“Watershed”: an event or period marking a turning point or major change. “Union”: a state of harmony or agreement.
Herein lies the essence of Watershed Union. Bruce Grant founded Watershed Union three years ago with the idea of bringing together dispirit styles of product to create an altogether new look.
The business was born from Bruce’s own experience searching for a balance of New York loft and Hamptons-style furniture for his home. When he didn’t find what he was looking for in Australia, he headed overseas to continue his search. Friends and family loved the look so much he decided to make it a full time endeavor.
In the beginning the showroom consisted mainly of vintage industrial pieces and as the business grew so did its range. If you walk into the store today you will find a large selection of furniture, lighting, homewares, wall décor, cushions and more. It’s about showing customers how they can incorporate existing furniture with the industrial look. The end product is an interior with neutral tones and textures that incorporate key pieces with character and interest.
Watershed Union is situated on a busy street in Hawthorn, enticing locals and passersby to come in and experience the unique style that it has to offer. “We’re always getting great feedback from customers on our windows and website,” says Bruce, “although I can’t claim any of the credit for this as our Store Manager Vikki creates these vignettes.”
One of the big focuses of Watershed Union is to repurpose and restore rather than use new materials in their custom pieces. Bruce achieves this by combining materials such as salvaged Australian hardwood timbers and vintage cast iron legs from old machinery (sourced from the US) to create unique dining tables and wall tables. Showcased with beautifully upholstered chairs, the result is a dining setting that is both distinctive and homely. One of the most interesting aspects of the designs at Watershed Union is that Bruce doesn’t make an effort to hide blemishes within the materials. This gives each piece its own story.
Watershed Union’s signature piece (featured in the image below) is a selection of unique vintage industrial carts, circa 1920s – 1950s. With current stock salvaged from a disused joinery factory in St Louis, USA. Bruce carefully restores pieces like this in the rear workshop of the store to reveal beautiful patina of the American oak timbers and markings. The cart featured below still has its creation date stamped on its side and was a working piece of equipment used to move parts and finished product on the factory floor.
According to Bruce many customers love the look but don’t know how to achieve it. So how do customers find the Watershed Union experience? Kim, a regular customer of the store, explains: “I never used to like industrial furniture or knew how to style it with contemporary pieces. Watershed Union incorporates unique pieces in an existing setting, highlighting the combination of industrial pieces with warmer products”.
Recently Bruce has noticed a growing interest for the industrial look not only for city homes, but also holiday homes (both coast and country). And, with television shows like The Block highlighting the industrial chic, it’s definitely on the rise.