New life for waterfront jewel

Reinvigorating Williams Cottage: Ed Cruikshank and Jo Walker PICTURE: CODY TUCKER

Two former Brits are breathing life into Queenstown’s oldest remaining house.

Wanaka’s Jo Walker bought Vesta Design Boutique, in Williams Cottage, on Queenstown Bay, last November.

She’s tidied up the inside and outside of the restored 1860s cottage, and introduced modern lines of jewellery, gifts, ceramics, homeware and affordable art.

Walker – who’ll rebrand the business ‘Williams Cottage’ – has also teamed up with local furniture designer Ed Cruikshank, who’s just taken over one of the front rooms.

“With his creativity, pro-fessionalism and knowledge combined with my passion, enthusiasm and drive, I believe between us we can take Williams Cottage to a new level,” Walker says.

“With the fireplace reopened and the room stripped back to its original [state], I thought that Ed’s work was the perfect fit.”

Cruikshank closed his Arrow-town showroom two years ago to concentrate on producing private commissions from his home studio in Dalefield.

“But what I realised is I had quite a few customers who said, ‘we don’t get to see your work any more’.”

He’d had his eye on Williams Cottage for about four years.

“I thought, what a wonderful place that would be to show people how new furniture can be kind of timeless.”

He says ‘The Cruikshank Room at Williams Cottage’ will display a few pieces of his furniture, a portfolio of his work and some contemporary New Zealand art.

It also houses his Firebrand range of poker and blower called Infernorator.

“We are designing things for this generation but often they’re going to last for at least one, two, three generations, who knows how many – what I found really interesting about Williams Cottage is that it represents that ethos.”

Cruikshank notes that the cottage is also in the midst of an art precinct, while nearby businesses like Louis Vuitton, Eichardt’s Private Hotel and Botswana Butchery restaurant already stock his work.

Walker says other additions will include a tea/coffee/cake offering, new sculptures in the front garden, David Trubridge light pendants and, potentially, a florist.