House of orange

Collector Val Wheatley of Walloon has a ’60s and ’70s retro collection of all things orange.
Collector Val Wheatley of Walloon has a ’60s and ’70s retro collection of all things orange. David Nielsen

IT'S vibrant, creative, lively and retro - these are the reasons Val Wheatley gives when asked why she has collected hundreds of orange items.

The Walloon woman has indulged her passion for the classic retro colour by dedicating a room to an extensive collection of orange bric-a-brac, furniture, clothing and toys.

The room is a paradise for fans of the '60s and '70s, packed with fondue sets, telephones, lamps, vases, crockery and dining sets - which, of course, are all bright orange.

Ms Wheatley, who also collects teapots, said she had invested a lot of money in her hobby.

"It would be thousands, and what I spend per item varies from a couple of dollars to hundreds," she said.

"I also receive a lot of orange things from friends as gifts."

She said her friends' support had led her to get serious about the collection.

"I started with orange cups three or four years ago, and I wanted to keep it small so people didn't think I was mad, but I got a lot of encouragement and now it looks great," she laughed

Ms Wheatley said the colour evoked memories of "hippies" and her childhood.

"Orange was very popular in the '60s and '70s," she said.

"Some of the pieces here I grew up with, like that study lamp I used in the '70s, but a lot of it I find in op shops."

"I was born in the early '50s and it was a really big thing to break away from the conservatism from that era and embrace bright colours."

She said guests to the room had similar nostalgic reactions.

"This room inspires a lot of memories in people. Everyone walks in and their jaws drop, whether you see an item you grew up with or your parents grew up with," Ms Wheatley said.

She hoped the colour's small revival would grow.

"It just went out of fashion, but it's getting more popular with bright clothing and retro coming back in," Ms Wheatley said.

"With orange you're guaranteed to stand out and be noticed."

Ms Wheatley insisted her collection was not complete, and said she hoped to find more items at op shops and the coming Brisbane Vintage Fashion Fair.

She will join the team from Ipswich's Vintage Advantage at the fair, which runs from Friday, March 9, to Saturday, March 10.

Ms Wheatley hopes to open her collections to the public later in the year.

Topics:  collector colour home and decorating orange

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