the next generation
ARCHITECT EMMA TEMPLETON TURNED THIS OLD COTTAGE INTO A FAMILY HAVEN WITH A MODERN EDGE.
Not long after she met Alex Morgan in 2010, Emma Templeton clearly recalls the first time she came to Broken River, near Mansfield in north-east Victoria. “I first visited the farm on our third date on an unseasonably cold May night. I remember it well, as I wasn’t sure it was a sensible idea to visit somebody I had only just met in a remote location, two and a half hours from Melbourne. I came in the dark of night, and woke up to frost and a lovely crisp early morning. Who knew on that frosty morning, that seven years later I’d end up with two children and a happily ever after story?” For her partner Alex though, memories of being at Broken River stretch back much further, to his childhood; of weekends and holidays on the 1600-hectare grazing property that his family has owned for more than 45 years and of winters spent skiing in the nearby snowfields. “Alex has amazing memories here,” says Emma. Melbourne-based Emma is an architect whose practice specialises in high-end residential work, while Alex works in the finance industry. Now with two young sons, Will, three, and 10-month-old Arthur also in tow, their regular visits to Broken River follow a familiar pattern and have a sense of continuity. While the main homestead is still in use by Alex’s family, in 2013 Alex and Emma took over one of the worker’s cottages overlooking the river for their own weekend and holiday escapes from the city. “Before Will, we would come up each weekend without fail. These days we have made a commitment to be here at least once a month, and try to do twice a month. With two children we find it harder to make quick weekend trips...but the kids love it once we arrive.” The timber cottage dates back to the 1920s, and was added to some time later in the 1950s. “This was the original manager’s house, and it was repositioned here from way up the valley a long time ago. It had sat here with no one in it, and Alex thought it could be a weekender — and then I made it comfortable.” The cottage had a separate dining and sitting room and “a seriously old kitchen with a huge fireplace and a tiny window looking out to the view down to the river”, plus old vinyl flooring. The couple lived on-site while the wall between the dining >
and sitting rooms came out and the aluminium-framed window was replaced by two custom-made, double-glazed windows. The old vinyl soon came up, and coir floor coverings were laid in the main rooms. The kitchen was gutted, and opened up to a deck with sliding glass doors that frame the views of the big old red gums on the river bank below. “In winter the river fills up and there are lots of beautiful birds. Alex and I both love cooking — I like baking and Alex does the meals — so the kitchen was important,” she says. Custom-made cupboards line one wall, the cooktop has a mirrored splashback and overhead there’s a chandelier that Emma bought direct from a London company, giving the space a touch of glamour. “The windows capture the east light and the valley view. And with the mirror, I can see who is at the front door.” Next came a new bathroom and laundry. Like the rest of the house, the bathroom finishes are understated with painted lining boards. “In my practice I do a lot more contemporary stuff, but I do like things that have timeless aspects to them,” says Emma. Here too mirrored panels enhance light and space, this time above and below the bath. “We thought it would be cost effective, and that Will would like to look at himself.” Emma says. These days there’s no hesitation about arriving at the farm in the dead of night, the cottage is welcoming all year round. In winter Emma loves to cook, knit and sew while at the farm, and looks forward to a time when Alex and the boys will be off to the snow. In summer the deck sweeping around the side and back of the cottage is where they gather for meals and enjoy the country environment. While Alex takes an active role in the running of the farm, he and Emma also like to spend time in the garden or go for walks. “We bush walk to the state forest, and get up into the rock pools that are part of the Broken River. We dream about what we should do next.” For more information about Templeton, telephone (03) 9419 2199 or visit templeton.com.au
One of the crossbred ewes on the 1600-hectare grazing property. FACING PAGE, CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT Emma with three-year-old, Will; the kitchen features cupboards to the ceiling, painted in Porter’s Paints Mineral, and a chandelier from Ochre; in the sitttting room, the sofa has been covered in Raoul Textiles’ Zarape Stripe in Cocoa from Tigger Hall Design. The stools are from Cloud Studio, with cushions from Nord Living, and the lamp is from Cult Design’s Porcelight range. The photographs are by Alex’s other creative sister, Katie Carmichael; the mirrored splashback and full-length sliding glass doors bring the view and light into the kitchen. For stockist details, see page 133.
This Broken River property has been in Alex’s family for more than 45 years. FACING PAGE, CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT The minimal bathroom uses mirrors to enhance the space and Laminex ‘Aquapanels’ — waterproof laminate panels — in the shower. The Roman blinds are made from ‘Mali’ linen by Boyac; the kitchen opens up to the deck and the river flflats beyond; the Agape ‘Ottttocentro’ basin and the Duravit enamel and metal base feature in the bathroom, along with timber panelling; the deck, where the family spend a lot of time in summer, looks out to the garden and is furnished with ‘Tio’ easy chairs and a ‘Tio’ triangle coffffee table from Luke Furniture. For stockist details, see page 133.