Favourite Things: The Bestie Cafe Duo

Emma Lyell and Tane Williams of Bestie cafe share their favourite things

Emma Lyell and Tane Williams of Bestie cafe. Picture / Babiche Martens

In March last year Emma Lyell and Tane Williams opened the doors to Bestie cafe, bringing new life into K Rd’s St Kevins Arcade. The couple had previously been holed up comfortably in Napier, with sights set on opening their own place. The struggle to find something locally, however, combined with the opportunity to move into the charming space formerly occupied by Alleluya cafe, resulted in the move to Auckland.

With salmon pink walls and greenery galore, the cafe is, they say, a “little brighter and bolder” than their home. “In both however, we don’t like anything too perfect, and no white. Also, we like to bring nature indoors as much as possible, whether that’s flowers, plants or even little collections from nature,” says Emma. “At home it is more restrained colour-wise, but with even more pottery and plants than Bestie.”

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The pair haven’t left Napier behind completely, however, with highlights from op-shopping excursions taking pride of place in their home. Pink marshmallow chairs, after all, only come around once in a lifetime.


Adrian bird Bonsai from Bioattic; Collection of Elena Renker pottery; Marshmallow chairs. Pictures / Babiche Martens

1. Adrian bird Bonsai from Bioattic
Tane: This was given to me for my 30th from our besties that own the incredible Bioattic. It’s super special because bonsai is an art form that takes so much time and care, and we know how special each and every bonsai Adrian makes is. He even takes it to plant rehab for us when he feels like it needs a little extra love.

2. Collection of Elena Renker pottery
Together: Elena’s work is special as we love her approach to her pottery, the way every piece is different and beautiful in its difference. It kind of turns something ordinary, like having a cup of tea, into quite a nice ritual. That’s what we like about pottery, it’s art that you use every day. Also her stuff is doubly special to us as we have her handmade tiles making up our counter at Bestie, hundreds of tiles all made by her over last summer. No easy task.

3. Marshmallow chairs
Emma: We lived in Napier for two years, and we would go op-shopping pretty much every week and found some awesome pieces of furniture there, but these op-shop babies were my favourite find ever. They sort of don’t fit into our current house perfectly but I’m keeping them for the dream space one day. That’s kind of weird for me as I’m not really sentimental, but I could never give away these. The lady at the shop said I could reupholster them easily, but I don’t think she realised that the dusty pink and the little gold feet is why I love them so much. Tane’s maybe not so sure about the big marshmallow chairs.

Mission 707 speakers; Wooden frog ornament, aka ‘Sexy Frog’. Pictures / Babiche Martens

4. Mission 707 speakers
Tane: I brought these for myself one time, not knowing that Emma was going to get me some for Christmas. So I ended up with a bottle of whisky instead ... These have turned out to have really good sound, plus they look all weird and futuristic, which is right up our alley. They do have a clip-on bit you can put on to hide away the front but why would you.

5. Wooden frog ornament, aka ‘Sexy Frog’
Together: There’s not much we can say about this guy. Another Napier op-shop gem — he is the highlight in our house and everybody loves to party with Sexy Frog. He’s just an all-around charmer. He often gets pushed to the back of the top shelf in our lounge but he always makes his way back to recline at the front again.

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New Zealand Herald

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