The Talbots are self-confessed hoarders and we’re absolutely fine with that

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photographs: Nick Gordon

Warren Talbot is a man of multitudes. A proprietor of playthings. A grabber of goodies. A curator of clutter. A stockpiler of stuff.

Warren Talbot has got a lot of shit.

Like 160 pairs of shoes for starters, which is fine considering that he’s a modern day Al Bundy selling waffle-soled shoes for a living. However, the Vans marketing manager’s accumulation of assets doesn’t end with shoes. No, guy has several skateboards, two bicycles, two motorbikes, six surfboards and then all the trappings and accessories that each of these pursuits requires.

Because what good is a motorbike if you don’t have riding boots (on-road and off-road varieties), a patched-up vest to fly your bike gang’s colours, a bubble visor helmet, riding goggles, a regular visor helmet, various leather jackets, a tool roll and a bunch of customised bits and bobs?

Six surfboards wouldn’t necessarily require six leashes because you could just switch up from board to board whenever you chose to ride another one in your quiver, right? Wrong. And even six is too low of an estimate as to how many leashes this guy has. And the same goes for fins and fin keys and wax combs and board bags and grips.

However, when he finds real quality it turns out he's a bit of a minimalist. Of course I'm referring to his wife, Barbara, who's completed his world in the way that only one woman could.

Ah yes, sweet, beautiful and successful Barbara, a girl so special that she was able to satisfy a spoiled-brat like War. And unlike most other girls who become girlfriends, then fiancés and, ultimately, wives, Barbara never attempted to tame War, instead she has challenged him to keep up.

Because like the sight of Barbara in a bikini, watching her jol is a sight to behold and perhaps it’s no coincidence that the word BAR appears in her name. Twice.

“It was a good move leaving Sea Point,” laughs Barbara, while sitting on a step in their front yard. “We used to have too many after parties there.”

War, who’s tinkering on his bike, adds, “Yes it’s probably for the best. People were scared before and now at least they have an excuse not to mission because it’s too far.”

What are their after party tips?

“Booze and music?” suggests Barbara.

“Yah, good friends, good booze and good music,” adds War.

“It doesn’t even have to be good booze,” laughs Barbara.

While they’re still a very sociable couple, they’ve calmed down significantly, which has a lot to do with getting married earlier in the year. This is the Talbot’s second home they’ve shared in their seven years of dating, and while they miss the double-story that they rented in Sea Point, they’re happy to be paying off a bond now.

“I’m from Jeffrey’s,” says Barbara. “And seeing the ocean every day reminded me of home, so it was tough leaving. Property prices are ridiculous though, you just have to suck it up and move to an area you can afford.”

Observatory was the perfect place for the Talbots to buy their first home, although living in a small space with no garage was always going to be a challenge. Somehow they made it work and Warren reckons that it all comes down to “being good at Tetris.”

“You know, getting all the right blocks in the right place? You just have to pack everything on top of everything else. It’s all pretty organised. I know where every item is. Big things at the bottom, small things on top.”

The Talbot’s semi-detached home makes the most of its relatively small footprint by using space that would normally be wasted. A mezzanine level takes advantage of the high ceiling space and a record player sits under the stairs along with Warren’s prized vinyl collection. The sometimes-DJ has quite the collection, which includes records by bands he’s brought into the country for the Psych Night parties that he sponsors, the next one being The Black Lips.

Otherwise they’ve reclaimed space in their roof for storage, the little attic crammed full of boxes filled with shoeboxes, clear plastic containers filled with sneakers, a two-metre rail with jackets and then other odds and ends. Inside the living areas floor-to-ceiling mirrors create the illusion of space, bringing in light, and a small plunge pool in the courtyard adds a sense of tranquility. The spare room has plenty of storage and a double bed to pile things on top of. The walls have hooks on them to hang things off of. Even the bed (which was built by James Louw, the guy who does shop fitting for Levi’s stores) has slide out drawers, which, again, are mostly filled with sneakers.

And then instead of hiding away all the surfboards and helmets and skateboards and jackets and hats and sunglasses… they’re used as part of the décor. Sure when their pet Pit Bull Bella gets over-excited at her owners' arrival home and mistakenly knocks over a 9ft log, it’s not ideal, but the Talbots aren’t very precious and will just prop it up again. These are just things after all.

“I don’t keep both bikes here,” says War. “One’s always at my friend’s workshop, Anvl, who built my Yamaha XS400. But with summer coming it’s nice having both on-site and being able to have the choice. Choice is a key component in my life.”

Living in Observatory, an area that’s on the brink of the city line means that the couple is spoiled for choice when it comes to bars, restaurants and heading out somewhere else.

“We’re right next to the highway,” says Warren. “And everywhere is just up the road and then to the left. It’s a straight shoot to the office.”

Barbara’s stores are ten kilometres away in each direction. After studying fashion she noticed how many vintage boutiques there were overseas and that there was a dearth of them back home.

“So I brought back some stuff I’d thrifted and started selling at the Labia Market. Reworked dresses and stuff. It went really well, did more markets, saved up, opened up my first store in Long Street and now there’s a second in Claremont.”

Barbara’s brand, Babette Clothing, now does a little bit of everything: vintage, vintage reworks, local designers, imported stuff…

“It’s basically just a little bit of everything that I like. I can’t imagine doing anything else. This is the dream. I have fewer clothes than Warren because I keep circulating. Still, it’s a lot. I haven’t actually counted but I’d say I have about 40 hats, like, 15 sequin jackets, ten leather jackets, and then boots and sneakers I really can’t even tell you.”

The infamous after-parties usually end up as a purge session for the couple to get rid of some of their clothing and apparel. Usually it’s after War’s passed out and with Barbara dishing out his gear to whoever is still standing.

 “I do give him a hard time sometimes, but it’s fine, I know we’ll get a bigger house soon.”

Which is a genius solution to having too much stuff: buy a bigger place to keep it all. Bigger place, bigger parties, bigger collections... What’s not to like?