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Australian Country Homes

Australian Country Homes December Issue#5 2018

Australian Country Homes celebrates the warmth of the country aesthetic. We open the doors to some of Australia’s most interesting homes and see the enviable everyday lives of those who have made the move to a calmer, more welcoming and personally enriched way of living. Brought to you by Australian Country magazine, this new quarterly publication showcases the best of Australian country residences; from the weekender to the station homestead, the farmhouse to the historical home. Australian Country Homes covers the length and breadth of Australia. In every edition of Australian Country Homes you will see inspiring ideas from real Aussies on real budgets just getting out there and creating wonderfully warm environments. You will also experience rare glimpses into the families and businesses behind some of Australia’s most desirable lifestyles. Tour the styles, the plans, and the self-made touches that create a welcoming country home.

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Universal Wellbeing PTY Limited
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4 Issues

in this issue

8 min
nothing but blue skies

In all probability, none of it would have happened if English restaurant critic Simon Hopkinson had been available. The year was 1997 and the then editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller Charlie (Carolyn) Lockhart was looking for a foreign judge to choose the winner of the magazine’s annual Best Restaurant in Australia Award. Simon was unavailable, so she approached Rick Stein instead. “What’s not to like about three weeks touring Australia, a country I already knew and loved, eating at the best restaurants and drinking fine wine,” the affable what-you-see-is-what-you-get chef, author and TV presenter recalls. “It didn’t take me very long to accept the invitation.” It’s a matter of history that on that trip Rick fell in love with the tour’s publicist, Sarah (Sas) Burns, whom he married in 2011. In 2009,…

4 min
trash to treasure

Though Colleen McLeod is quick to point out that she’s “no artist”, those familiar with her home and creative pursuits would disagree. In searching for a simpler lifestyle by the beach, she has developed a keen eye for the kitsch and quirky and spends her spare time making pottery, taking and developing photographs and hunting for “junk” to add to her home. “An artist I am not,” she says. “Art is just something I enjoy doing, and I am always both humbled and excited when someone else can see the energy behind a particular piece.” Perhaps just as much an artisan as an artist, Colleen’s lifestyle in the suburb of Normanville, on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, is very much focused on the things she enjoys. “I moved from Yankalilla, about five kilometres…

4 min
cottage industry

When Tracey Hocking, founder and creative director of iconic Australian fashion and bedding label Lazybones, and her husband, Stephen, bought Mulberry Cottage in the Byron Bay hinterland, Tracey was escaping a stressful office job in Sydney and following her dream of creating a more authentic life. “The house was called Mulberry Cottage by the last owners after a huge mulberry tree that was in the backyard,” Tracey says. “Sadly, most of it fell down after a lot of rain — and minutes after our young son had ridden his little bike under it! It’s a typical small farmhouse, built mainly from timber milled on the property. Most of the internal lining boards are teak, which is incredibly hard, though it’s sad so many of the original old trees were cut down.…

4 min
when opportunity knocks

She jokes about it, but Heather Thompson is faintly serious about her recipe for ousting children from the nest. I listen intently in the hope I can apply her sage advice to my own situation. “The farm appeared to be a wonderful opportunity for lifestyle living,” she explains. “It was very close to a gorgeous beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula, had magnificent views and was a manageable 80 acres (32 hectares).” However, when Heather and husband, Rob, secured the purchase of Brooklyn Farm, it was not a property for the fainthearted. Settled by grain-growing pioneers in the mid-1800s — who themselves had a brood of 15 children — flora such as wattle and tea tree on the farm had been stripped, pastures were barren and the derelict farmhouse contained only basic…

6 min
family focus

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that’s certainly the case for Celeste Upton and her brother, Ben Moras. As partners in the furniture company, 1825 Interiors, the siblings have followed in the footsteps of their father. In the early ’70s, Ken Moras, a painter and decorator by trade, started making beds in his garage. His hobby took off and grew into the Australian retail giants Sleep City and Everyday Living. He went on to pioneer early links with manufacturers in China and won design awards for his products. “We grew up around the business,” Celeste recalls. “We’re a hands-on family, so we often accompanied Dad on business trips and we grew up pretty much living and breathing furniture. We both worked for Dad at various stages…

6 min
cabbages and kings

Charlotte Thodey’s friends say she is the only artist they’ve ever met who sleeps with, paints and eats her subjects. Indeed, her studio in the bedroom of her home in Sydney’s inner west is jam-packed with fruit and vegetables in varying states of decay. But, then again, so is much of the rest of the house, as fruit and veg are Charlotte’s muse and she delights in giving them eternal life on canvas. “I grew up in a family of seven at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island,” she explains. “My father was a country town doctor and he grew most of our food. The garden was pivotal for our rather large family. He was busy and if you wanted time with him, you had to weed. He was into…