How many design styles are there? Too many to count. The trick is to settle on one that represents who you are, through and through. The one that enables you take a deep breath when you walk into your home and settle right in.
That feeling is what Anita Jones and Carlo Malaca enjoy when at home. And the feeling is all the more special because their interior design showcases furniture they have made with their bare hands out of humble—indeed, very humble—wooden shipping pallets.
Anita and Carlo own boyandgirlco, a young but fast-growing Canberra company that creates standard and custom pieces out of recycled pallets—simple pieces clients love for what they represent, and that’s the boyandgirlco philosophy to refurbish, repurpose, rehome. The designers and builders behind the company desconstruct humble pallets and repurpose them into statement pieces of furniture for any space, celebrating how something that would normally be discarded can be created anew and built to last.
boyandgirlco designs pieces to work with almost any design style. Its standard range includes coffee tables, an eight-seater dining table, an Osprey (dining table), light boxes, office desk and planter boxes. Although “standard”, no two pieces are alike. Each has its own character and can be made to any size, shape and colour. They can also be beautifully finished with natural oil, lavender cream and wax.
Custom pieces, made in consultation with buyers, so far include a sofa table, tripod stand side table with storage, entrance table, light box with shelf, bookcases, and bedhead with storage.
The turnaround time for orders of standard pieces is two weeks and for custom pieces up to four weeks (quick by industry standards).
In line with their philosophy and design aesthetic, the team at boyandgirlco are fussy about the pallets they use and refuse to use any treated with chemicals. They source them mainly from importers who find it expensive to return or dispose of them. So boyandgirlco, almost by default, provide a valuable service by picking the pallets up and putting them to good use. The team does all the work themselves, ripping the pallets apart and removing the nails. It’s tough but rewarding.
So how did boyandgirlco come to make their entrance on the Canberra market?
The idea came about when Anita and Carlo were dining at Kitchen by Mike in Sydney, which has stripped traditional dining back to a canteen-style experience that is honest and not influenced by fads and trends. The couple fell in love with the look and feel of the place. And they fell in love with how the décor incorporated raw wood pallets from a former art installation.
While driving home to Canberra, Anita and Carlo decided to completely change their lives by adopting a similar philosophy. Reuse, recycle and lead a sustainable, satisfying life. So they sold their Balinese-style furniture, quit their comfy day jobs, researched carpentry, bought some hand tools and started on their new journey.
The first pieces were made in the couple’s garage. After friends and family started placing orders, the couple knew they were on to a good thing. They started boyandgirlco and had their first customer quick sharp. They expanded into a small warehouse in Mitchell. Not long after they were bursting at the seams again and now occupy a massive warehouse space, still in Mitchell, that incorporates a showroom.
The team has also grown. Boyandgirlco now includes Graham Rose, who designs and is head builder, and Victor Tawagi, who handles marketing and communications.