Co-Founder of ABI Bathrooms & Interiors.
Co-Founder of ABI Bathrooms & Interiors.
2020 was an interesting year… a lot of time was spent at home and there was no better time to freshen up your surrounds and it seems a lot of Australians had this same idea. One Gold Coast company that saw a huge surge in the home improvement space was ABI Bathrooms and Interiors. As one of the fastest growing bathroom suppliers, ABI’s aim is to bring Australia’s best prices on luxury tapware and bathroom products to you. We sat down with Co-Founder and Designer Luli Farrell on how ABI’s crazy year of growth and what’s in the works for this dynamic local company.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Since forever! I’m GC born and bred.
What do you love most about living here?
I love all the amazing beaches and swimming spots there are. I also love the trendy cafes and restaurants that seem to be popping up everywhere. The Gold Coast has grown so much in the last few years, it’s an exciting time!
Tell us about your business ABI.
ABI is a family-owned business that was created with the mission to create high quality and beautiful bathroom and interior products that are accessible and affordable for everyone. We started out in the matte black tapware space, before introducing our rose gold finish, which was the real game changer for ABI. Since then, we have since grown our range to include seven different finishes in a wide range of products, including everything from mirrors to vanities and even baths. We have also begun expanding internationally into New Zealand and the UK which has been so exciting.
Tell us about your career thus far.
ABI was just starting out as I was just graduating from my Bachelor of Architecture. Being a family business, I got involved and it just so happened that I found a new love for product design. During the early days of ABI, I did everything from running the showroom to packing orders, designing new products, marketing and so much more. Although it felt like so much pressure at the time, I learned so much about running a business that I am so grateful for. Since then, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with so many talented people like Shelley Craft. My team and I have also designed so many new products and we’ve built out our new office space (that we are already outgrowing). I now help manage a talented team of over 100 amazing people. It’s been a crazy ride!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I can find inspiration anywhere, especially when I’m not necessarily looking for it. Sometimes my inspiration comes from seeing a gap in the market or sometimes it’s finding a way to transform an everyday item into something beautiful. Other times it can be as simple as the shape of an earring I see. Customer and staff feedback also play a big part in shaping our product range.
Tell us about your new showroom.
Our new showroom was a huge project, but we are so proud of the result. Our main goal was to create a welcoming place where people can explore our range and feel inspired to create their dream space. We wanted people to feel completely at ease and confident during their ABI experience, that’s why we put so much thought into the space, from the working product displays to the smallest features and details.
What’s your proudest business moment?
I think the proudest moment for me would have to be at the end of last year, when I finally had the chance to stop and reflect on just how much we had accomplished since we started out! It’s amazing to think that this time last year we were less than half the size we are now. Also, the day we hit 100,000 followers on Instagram felt pretty surreal.
What else is in the works for ABI for 2021?
We have so many exciting things planned for 2021. ABI will be opening a showroom and launching online in the UK early this year. We also have so many new products in the works. We have a few other big announcements that we can’t reveal just yet – watch this space!
Any advice for someone wanting to start a business on the Gold Coast?
I’d have to say don’t let fear hold you back. If you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it work. I love the quote ‘one hour of doing is better than 10 hours of thinking’. You can’t plan for everything that might happen, you just need to go for it and learn from your mistakes.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Café for breakfast: Refinery Coffee in Currumbin
Coffee spot: Weekdays: Next Door Espresso, our local in Burleigh and Weekends: Rafiki in Mermaid Beach
Restaurant for dinner: Definitely Eddy & Wolff
Bar or pub for a drink: A wine at home with family over a bar any day
How does your weekend usually look? It normally starts with a long walk on the beach before stopping for coffee & an açai bowl. Then I usually head over to spend time with my family and friends. It’s definitely my favourite way to spend my downtime.
Ryan Manthey is the Gold Coast local tradie turned business owner of Mint Designer Kitchens. From kitchen renos to multi-million dollar homes (we’ve heard there’s been remote-controlled drop down bars and showstopping back-lit marble counters), Mint has been specialising in making client’s dreams a reality since 2009. Operating out of a purpose-built, fully-equipped showroom in Southport, clients can be inspired by the full range on display. The recent increase of people spending more time at home has led to Gold Coasters reassessing their living situation and turning their home into a sanctuary, leading to a very busy time for Mint. We sat down recently with Ryan to talk about the company’s success and why Mint is leading the field in custom designer kitchens and bathrooms.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
As long as I can remember. I was born in Mackay and moved to the Gold Coast when I was two. My family lived in the same house on Hillview Parade at Ashmore until I was in my 20’s and since then I’ve bounced around the GC and am now living in Surfers Paradise.
What do you love most about living here?
I love everything about the Gold Coast – the laid back atmosphere, the people, my crew of friends and most of my family are here. On the weekends, when I get any free time, I go boating on the Broadwater or jet skiing with my friends. I love that at the end of a hard day at work I can walk to the beach, put my feet in the sand and the ocean and chill out.
Tell us about your career thus far.
After I left grade 12 at Trinity Lutheran Collage, I did an apprenticeship with a shopfitting company. Following this, I worked at large commercial joinery manufacturer. I started to think about starting my own business and in 2009 Mint Designer Kitchens was born. Mint started out with just me on the tools and has grown to one of the Gold Coast’s largest bespoke kitchen and joinery businesses with a large showroom and factory in Southport.
Tell us about Mint Designer Kitchens.
Mint Designer Kitchens is a leading Gold Coast designer, builder and installer of custom made, high end kitchens, bathrooms, bars and laundries on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. We started out in 2009 as a small business and in the following eleven years, have grown both our factory and our staff to enable us to deliver many different projects per week. Our designer kitchens range from renovations to transforming our client’s homes to new builds and rolling out multiple kitchens, bathrooms and laundries per week for our builder/developer clients.
What sort of projects do you work on?
As we are a large business with salespeople working in multiple verticals, we always have a wide range of projects on the go ranging from multi-million dollar builds to large scale builders and commercial joinery. We are known for our unique and complex designs, often building solutions that other cabinet makers won’t even attempt.
What is the process of creating a kitchen/bathroom from concept to reality?
Firstly, one of our experienced kitchen designers meets with the client to help them visualise and realise the design that would best suit the aesthetic of their house within their budget. As this is what we do all day everyday, we are able to guide them as to the best concepts that will maximise their end product from both a design and functionality perspective. We draw each project up and produce a full 3D render so they can see exactly what it will look like. Once that is signed off, one of our drafters will complete the functional design and embed the drawing to our machinery using the latest technology ensuring our joinery is absolutely accurate. Once the board and stone has been cut, our installers install the finished project ensuring the client is 100% delighted before completion.
What are some of the items that I can save on in the renovation of a bathroom or kitchen? And what should you never do on the cheap?
It all comes back to design and materials. There are many ways to design a functional amazing space to a budget. We could use some standard range materials and highlight some features is a good way .
What does Mint do differently?
Mint custom makes our clients’ projects meaning that the end product is specifically suited to their environment and style. We believe in using quality products and not cutting corners with cheap materials that save money up front but will cost more in the longer term. We only employ the best of the best, both in our showroom and on the shop floor, so whatever stage of the process, you will be dealing with people who know what they are talking about. Our designers are up-to-date with the latest designs and technologies, so we are able to offer innovative solutions that the client may not be aware exist. We also take pride in letting nothing beat us, so you if you look at our Instagram or in our showroom, you will see projects that other cabinet makers are not able to build (such as our unique drop down bars).
What can a customer expect when working with Mint?
We will not finish a job until the client is 100% delighted with their final product. Most of our work comes from referrals which tells us that our customers are very happy with our process and proud of their new kitchen.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant for dinner: Edgewater Dining & Lounge
Bar or pub for a drink: Northcliffe Surf Club
Café for breakfast: Koi Dining & Lounge Bar
How does your weekend usually look: Most weekends I work Saturdays and the rest of the weekend I spend as much time as possible with my beautiful one year old daughter Vivi.
Oh Burleigh you little beauty, what’s not to love right? Since the dawn of time (or the dawn of the GC at least) Burleigh has been one of the most-loved suburbs amongst a slew of strong contenders.
Sure, the beach is beautiful (that Hill is iconic for a reason) and James Street boasts all the best eats and acai bowls galore but it’s more than that, Burleigh has a soul of its own born of cruisy, barefoot, salty seabreeze vibes you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Gushing aside, we’ve found the best of Burleigh so you don’t have to.
We say when in Burleigh do as the locals do, so here’s our guide to the best eats, bars, shopping spots and places to visit so you can see why the locals love it and you should too (or else).
The fine dining venue has become part of the fabric of Burleigh’s bustling heart, but it’s also become one of the Gold Coast’s premier dining destinations. Tucked away on West Street, the five-star, seasonal produce-led restaurant is an absolute must-visit and your dining experience there is one you won’t long forget. The produce is sustainable and the wine list is filled with some of the most stunning natural wines in the world. The service is impeccable too, but in a fun, not-too-formal way. We LOVE.
Where: 2A/8 West Street, Burleigh Heads
Literally opening out onto the sand at Burleigh beach, Rick Shores is loved (not only locally) for its stunning sunset views and those tiny little taste sensations otherwise known as Bug Rolls. If you’ve never tasted one, you’ve been wasting your life, make a booking RIGHT NOW and order them all. Wash them down with one of Rick’s signature cocktails and you’re a bonafide Burleigh-ite.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Yum, contemporary Cantonese food, we love you. Mr Hizola’s is dishing up the goods in the form of tasty share-style dishes and we are here for it. Particularly the sizzling steak dish that is all kinds of delicious and an array of epic cocktails to match.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
If you’re looking for fancy food but with the relaxed vibe that’s quintessentially Burleigh, look no further. The stunning space offers incredible Vietnamese dishes inspired by Head Chef Jake’s trip through Vietnam and a desire to eat some of the very best street food in the world every single day. Same. It’s a refined style of dining paired with mouthwatering cocktails and a sleek, paired back vibe. Jimmy Wahs is one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive eateries and we are big fans.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Town Hotel
If you haven’t seen this new reno, then where have you been? One of the best glow ups on the GC recently (in our humble opinion), Burleigh Town Hotel has nailed the pub-style menu and good vibes. The perfect place to set up for the arvo with your besties and the kids, there’s loads of space for the little ones to roam and plenty to keep them entertained while you kick back with a beverage in hand. Say less.
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Gelato Co
We’re softies for the sweet deliciousness that is gelato. Burleigh Gelato Co know how to deliver on flavours worth melting for, they’ve got all the classic Italian flavours you know and love along with their own signature specials. Guaranteed you’ll love them un-cone-ditionally.
Where: 9 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
The guys behind Seadog know coffee. Starting as a humble little hole in the wall – literally – Seadog has become the go-to for a quick bite and a brew. And don’t worry, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – you really are seeing double because you’ll find the crew on the bustling James Street or down the other end at the old faithful Burleigh Bowlo, perfect spot for a piccolo and park hangs.
Where: 8/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads and 1, Bowls Club, Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Tarte Bakery & Cafe
There’s good reason this gem is heaving at all hours, the home of the iconic muffin top (IYKYK) and some of the best coffee in town, it’s not just locals who love it – you’ll find Gold Coasters and beyond flocking here for a taste of the goods. Come for a coffee and to get around their huge menu with something for everyone – literally, it’s impossible to not love something. Plus, we’re pretty sure it’s mandatory to leave with a pastry in tow – go on, you deserve it.
Where: 1748 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Social by name, social by nature – Social Brew is one of Burleigh’s best coffee hangouts whether you’re looking to catch up with the crew or a spot to work for the day, there’s a reason these guys have stood the test of time. A staple spot to visit in Burleigh for their signature iced coffee, come for the caffeine and stay for the bites.
Where: 34-36 James Street, Burleigh Heads
The baked goods that come out of this friendly little bakery are honestly something else. Owners Geoff and Lisa are passionate about baking and opened Burleigh Baker to provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious Artisan Sourdough and boy do they deliver. They use only the finest ingredients and the traditional process of fermentation. Do not buy bread anywhere else. You’re welcome.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Something To Drink
Paloma Wine Bar
From the brains that brought us Labart is the one and only Paloma. This small but mighty wine bar has one of the largest selections of boutique wines (we mean, it is in the name) with some seriously epic eats to accompany. We can’t go past the steak frites – seriously, don’t sleep on this – and if you don’t know where to start on what to sip the expert team always nail the reccos. Pop a Pet Nat on your must-try for something a little bubbly or if you’re more of a red drinker, their signature chilled reds are the ultimate for a hot summer’s day.
Where: 12 James Street, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good time, slightly fancy Australiana bar of your dreams and it is perfectly at home in Burleigh Heads. Rosella’s very quickly became a firm local favourite when it opened last year and with both a drinks and food menu made up entirely of Australian produce, we are in love. There are cocktails made with Nutri Grain, some of the tastiest toasties around and all the very best Aussie beers. It’s refined, beautifully decked out and created by a couple of absolute legends. Love.
Where: 6/1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Justin Lane Rooftop
Don your finest frock and rally up your girlfriends for a Sunday session and a spot of people watching on the roof at Justin Lane. With cocktails in hand and a balmy breeze blowing in through the windows, you need never go anywhere else again. After a few hours, pop downstairs for one of Justin’s famous pizzas and that’s your Sunday sorted.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
A somewhat hidden little speakeasy in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Lockwood Bar specialise in all of the very best varieties of whiskey along with many a local tipple transformed into tasty cocktails. It’s a laidback, jazz bar kind of vibe, low lit, often with live music and once you’re inside, you likely won’t want to leave. We dig it.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Brewing Co.
If there’s one thing Burleigh deserves (the big legend), it’s a brewery and Burleigh Brewing Co. certainly delivers. After opening in 2006, Burleigh Brewing Co. has produced nine delicious drops with delightful names such as ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ and ‘FIGJAM’ – perfectly Burleigh. Get a sixer for Netflix and chill or head into the brewery from Wednesday to Sunday afternoons to get amongst it. There’s live tunes too, what a combination.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
Something To Do
Well hasn’t this simple little piece of Mother Nature become a local legend? No matter the day of the week (but particularly Sunday arvos) “the hill” as it’s affectionately known is packed with picnic rugs, ball games and groups of revelers basking in the sunshine. Looking out over the ocean and with the city in the distance, it’s the perfect spot for a late afternoon lemonade or early morning coffee date with the crew. If you’re feeling energetic, take a stroll around the hill to Talle Creek for some Insta-worthy scenery or if you’re into hill and chill then order some takeaway and perch up on a picnic blanket to soak up the scenery.
Where: The south end of The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Bowls Club
A relaxing little beachside club loved by young and old alike, Burleigh Bowls has been around since 1937 and is certainly a prime piece of real estate these days. Barefoot Bowls roll on from 12 to 5pm every Sunday and it’s a measly $5 per person including coaching and bowls (AKA ball whipper snappers). Live music can be heard on Sunday arvos from 2 to 6pm. Get down and support your local while sipping on a schooner.
Where: Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
David Fleay Wildlife Park
Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a wildlife park with a difference. Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s most iconic natural habitats and meet the resident wildlife — all in just one day. Explore the park solo or join the dedicated Park Rangers at the daily wildlife shows.
Where: Corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Lane in West Burleigh
Shop With Us
If you’re in need of some retail therapy then James Street is the only place you need to go. The range of shopping has everything you need whether you’re looking for some new additions to your home from Maison & Maison or to update your wardrobe at Emte you’re guaranteed to leave suitably more stylish. If you’re looking for the perfect piece of art to dress your walls at work or home, Art Yarramunua is our pick for their incredible collection of indigenous art, expertly curated to celebrate the rich cultural history of Australia’s indigenous communities.
Where: James Street, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Farmers Markets
Everyone’s favourite Saturday morning market adventure. Get up early, grab your basket and set out in search of fruit, veggies and of course, your first coffee of the weekend. These days the farmers market also boast locally made clothing and homewares, flowers, meat and seafood and delicious breaky and lunch options. There’s also live music and plenty of laughter floating around. Happy days.
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
The Village Markets
Our beloved boutique fashion and lifestyle market, The Village Markets, is home to hundreds of local makers and has helped to launch the international careers of countless creatives. Head down for an early morning coffee and breakfast while wandering through the stalls until it’s time for lunch. Oh, and there’s always live music if you need a breather. It’s the best way to spend a sunny Sunday
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Imagine a life without caffeine. Horrible, right? How would one get through the day? Unthinkable. Let’s all take a moment to be grateful for caffeine.
Luckily, we locals need never think about a lack of caffeine ever in our lives because the Gold Coast has abundant options for exceptional brews.
One such neighbourhood forever capturing the imagination of coffee drinkers and lunch-goers is Burleigh. Be it a quick coffee catch-up or a grazing-style brunch with special people: you’re covered. Here’s a list of the twelve best spots to get your caffeine fix when you find yourself in one of the city’s favourite suburbs.
Bunlee Bun & Brew
Between munching down some epic rice paper rolls or a stacked-looking banh mi, we suggest you take a try of their cold drip coffee on tap here at BunLee. If you’ve ever had iced Vietnamese coffee — or cà phê đá, as it’s known — you’ll know how tasty it can be. It’s up to you what milk to splash into it, or if you prefer, just take it black: perfect for when you need to put that pep into your step.
Where: 2/26 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Take an award-winning local barista, throw in some fantastic coffee from carbon-neutral roasters Locale Espresso, and place it conveniently just off Reedy Creek Road and you’re looking at the exact blueprint of Dover’s Drop, a prime industrial district coffee location in Burleigh. The perfect place to pull a pit stop when you’re going about your day, but be careful: their loungey outdoor space with beanbags may keep you longer than planned, not to mention their Sourdough Crumpets!
Where: 9 Dover Drive, Burleigh Heads
A newbie to the bustling beachside locale of Burleigh, Magnolia Lane is sandwiched between the beach and the GC Highway, meaning whether you’re zipping about town or lounging beachside, these guys have you well and truly covered for your caffeine needs. The unwavering attention taken to dialling in their machine and weighing each and every shot of coffee shows right through from your first to last sip.
Where: 6/1863 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Aptly positioned in the heart of Burleigh Heads, this is the early morning post-workout/dip in the ocean hangout spot of the ages. Crew showcases Sunshine Coast Tim Adams specialty coffee with exceptional barista skills and a cheat meal-inducing menu you cannot say no to. Hinge all of this on one hell of a people-watching location, and you have a mighty fine place to slurp your morning cup of motivation.
Where: 3 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Sparrow Coffee Co.
Laidback and easy-going Sparrow offers you a prime opportunity to get yourself a quality coffee on the go with little fuss. With another three locations across the country and their roastery of choice being Allpress, you’re guaranteed a quality cuppa every time. It’s also the perfect spot to fuel up before a workout if you go to nearby Elevation Fitness or Jetts!
Where: 2/151 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads
Where do you even begin with a place that literally falls over itself with excellent house-made food, great-tasting coffee, and a great location to watch life go by. Chloe Watt‘s creation Tarte is one of the finest cafes on our coastline: period. Give yourself some slack and indulge in any one of their off-the-charts pastries/baked goods with a perfectly poured cup of coffee as dappled light from overhead trees sprays across the pavement of Burleigh Heads — our idea of bliss.
Where: 2 West Street, Burleigh Heads
Next Door Espresso
Touted as not your average coffee shop, this aesthetically pleasing venue is awash with white and is nearly always an afternoon suntrap that, to us, screams brunch with close friends. Northern Rivers’ Moonshine Roastery are the foundation of an always great-tasting coffee served in the cutest looking handmade clay cups. Be sure to bring your credit card, as adjacent homewares store St Barts is always worth a look in also!
Where: 24 Junction Road, Burleigh Heads
A kickstarter in the Burleigh coffee scene, Commune Espresso has been around for as long as we can remember, and in this chasm of lost time, they’ve been serving up some of the tastiest brews around. The space itself is epic, complete with lots of outdoor relaxing areas and a ping pong table to use up that caffeine-induced energy. They also make their own almond milk; that’s how dedicated they are to delicious coffee.
Where: 1844 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Canteen Coffee & Kitchen
A firm favourite in the coffee game, Canteen has been lauded as one of Australia’s premier espresso bars. They brew their own blends, sourcing in-season beans and roasting fresh daily on demand. They offer a Signature Espresso Blend with notes of chocolate, berries, toffee and spice and Single Origins, which change weekly. They certainly know their stuff, highly recommended.
Where: 23 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads
So good they’ve got two locations in Burleigh; Nook offers little spaces with a big passion for coffee. They’ve been slinging tasty brews since 2008, and for this, the local community loves them! Nook offers a smooth cuppa that’s consistently delicious, and the crew are stoked and always smiling to be involved in your morning coffee routine. Plus, if you head to their beachside location, you can sip away whilst overlooking world-famous surf.
Where: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads and Stocklands Burleigh Heads
Quest Coffee Roasters
The smell wafting out of Quest alone should draw you in and, once you’re in, you may never want to leave. The space is half micro-roastery, half sitting-down-to-enjoy-your-coffee space, and it’s an absolute must-visit if you’re a lover of excellent brews. They roast premium Arabica beans on James Street, and if you’re in the market, you can purchase their green and roasted beans or a blend. Make sure you have a chat with the team; they love to discuss all things coffee.
Where: 20 James Street, Burleigh Heads
The original Seadog emerged on the local coffee scene with a bang and is an actual hole in the wall, which was once an ATM. Stop by and let affable owner Brodie Green and his gang serve you up their very own roasts; one going by the name Sunrise Blend – with tasting notes of Milo! When they’re not actively supporting charities with free coffee giveaways, you’ll find them at their second venue beside Burleigh Bowls Club, eternally bathed in sunshine and salt air. Two great locations for coffee in Burleigh!
Where: 50 James St, Burleigh Heads or Burleigh Bowls Club — entrance via Memorial Park
Words by Alex Mitchenson.