Brunswick is known for its music, bars and great food, but it also has some hidden gems. Tucked away in Gale Street we spoke to Troy the owner of Retrograde Furniture. Troy uses recycled timber to create beautiful furniture that’s not only easy on the eye but more importantly, built to last. 


What’s your background?

I randomly fell into a job, I started off making stair parts in Connecticut in 2003, it was an entry level in a factory. From there I was off the tools travelling around the country, measuring and working with builders to make stairs.  A lot of stuff happened from then till now, and well, here I am.


What’s the benefit of recycled timber?

Definitely the look of it, the character it gains over the decades of being exposed to the elements. Each piece has its own look and you can’t replicate that.  

Another great thing about recycled timber is the lack of ecological impact, using recycled timber has. A demolition crew a few k’s away taking down a building, versus the process of taking down trees, all the petroleum involved during the process of not only taking them down but the milling, drying and transporting of them. Using recycled timber just makes sense, it’s really quite good for the environment.



Where does your timber come from?

Mostly the Melbourne area, we get a lot of timber from old torn down factories, they have large pieces of older timber that’s better suited for bigger pieces of furniture. We occasionally get some timber from houses too.


What made you decide open Retrograde in Brunswick East?

A lot of other companies are in more industrial areas, but I value being in Brunswick, it’s such a beautiful area, our workshop that our pieces are created in is situated right behind the great barn doors in our showroom.

I like the idea of having a showroom and factory in the same building, it’s cool for people to be able to see the tools and see the stacks of timber and know where their furniture is coming from.


Who are your customers?

We have a mixture of customers walk through the door, we get a lot of younger couples who have just purchased their first home, as well as older couple’s who are renovating. We also have a lot of locals pop past from North Carlton, North Fitzroy and Brunswick.


Do you get time to get out into Brunswick?

I frequent Wild Life Bakery, they are just around the corner, coffee is good, food is almost too good. Across Lygon St I go to Toledo a couple times a week, they are awesome.



Growing up with veneers and chipboards covered with plastic that looked like wood,  it’s really cool to see real wood make a comeback. I think that’s a great thing.

If you are around the area drop by to see the showroom, the team are working just out back. 

They’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12pm – 4pm or by appointment during the week.

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