Volume 2 sold out immediately, and I can see why. It is full to the brim with interesting Aussie style interiors. For a photography geek & uber nosy parker like me, I love it! Intimate house tours featuring natural homes (no overly styled images here) of Australian designers, photographers, foodies, musicians and artists. They are the kind of places that take time and energy to put together, with some of the most precious things in them passed down through families, collected on travels or picked up from the side of the road. Exactly how I like to decorate in my own home. Homes with soul and history.
The weatherboard house was one of the few bumps in a road that carried Michelle, her husband Leo and daughter Elsa from inner-western Sydney to a rural landscape in Tassie. They’d flown down to visit friends in October 2004 and, taken with the countryside around Hobart – the orchards, barns and water, all under the shadow of snow-topped Mount Wellington – moved permanently two months later. It was an easy transition. They made friends quickly, and happily swapped sandals for boots and swimmers for heavy jackets.
Leo, a former band booker at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, found a telecommunications job in the city, and they soon had another child, Hugo.
On paper, the farmhouse was idyllic, too. After renting for a couple of years, they bought the three-bedroom property on just under an acre of land in the Huon Valley. Typified by a mighty river, rustic buildings, timber mills and orchards, the area was the centre of the apple industry from the early 1900s till the late 1960s, exporting millions of crates per year to England and around the world.
Amidst this charming setting was Michelle and Leo’s house. Surrounded by pasture and bush, it had views over the valley and across the river to Mount Misery, a grim-sounding but majestic mountain range. “But we bought it in a hurry,” Michelle says, “and the house needed quite a bit of work to truly feel like home.”
And so the work began. While the sandstone foundations were solid, and the corrugated iron roof charming when it rained, the more modern interior surfaces were stripped back to reveal original features. Carpets were ripped up and heavy drapes torn down. The patchwork paint was removed and the walls coated in crisp white. Front of mind, for Michelle, was a sense of responsibility to the building, a sensitivity to its original spirit. “With old houses, I feel you’re more of a caretaker than anowner,” she explains. “You’ve bought something that already has this amazing history and you don’t want to spoil it; you want to preserve that sense of history while creating a liveable home for your family.” So the slightly uneven floors stayed and, slowly, the house’s eccentricities turned into a subtle charm.
All images curtesy of Frankie Press. Excerpt images by Luisa Brimble. Words by Nadia Saccardo.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed. A UK lifestyle & travel blog
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.