A NEW DAY
THE SMALL COMMUNITY OF JUGIONG, IN THE NSW RIVERINA, HAS EMBRACED CARLIE OATES AND HER YOUNG FAMILY AS THEY SETTLE IN TO FARM LIFE.
Border collie cross, B, naps in the kitchen. ‘Stockholm Flair’ pendant lights from Beacon Lighting hang above the polished concrete benchtop. FACING PAGE Carlie and Jarrod take daughters Dakota and Poppy for a walk across the paddock.
STYLIST CARLIE OATES HAS WORKED with some of fashion’s most famed beauties. Miranda Kerr, Poppy Delevingne and Rachael Taylor among them. But when she left behind her career, and moved with her husband Jarrod Medley to Jugiong, about three-and-a-half hours’ drive south-west of Sydney in NSW’S Riverina, she became acquainted with another species of long, lithesome creature. “King brown snakes are the only things that ever make me regret leaving the city for our life here,” says Carlie, 32, visibly shuddering. “I like to think our dogs, B and Buddy, deter them to a degree, but the brown snakes are the reason our front door — which in my mind’s eye was always going to remain open — now stays shut most of the time. We’ve had quite a few in the chook shed recently, and I’ve got to admit they make me so nervous that whenever I see one I don’t try to play farmer, I just yell ‘Jarrod’.” The couple made the move from Sydney four years ago, leaving behind the beachside lifestyle of Bondi, Jarrod’s landscaping business and Carlie’s coveted role as fashion editor on Sunday magazine. Initially they moved into a cottage on a farm where Jarrod was working but bought their own 242-hectare property, Boongarry, two years later. “We have some friends who live on a farm near Adjungbilly, about 50 minutes south of here. When we lived in Bondi, we started travelling down to spend weekends at their place,” recalls Jarrod. “We loved being in the country so much that weekends soon turned into Mondays as well. Then Carlie fell pregnant with Dakota and we said, ‘OK, let’s get out of Sydney’.” Jarrod, 34, and Carlie both grew up in Bowral, in NSW’S Southern Highlands, with animals, motorbikes and room to run around. After school, Carlie studied fashion design and styling at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, and moved into the world of fashion magazines. But long-term, going bush was always part of the plan. “There is a difffference between growing up in Sydney and wanting to stay in Sydney versus moving to Sydney as an adult,” says Carlie, as Jarrod feeds four-year-old Dakota and Poppy, 18 months, their lunch. “I grew up watching Dad mow the lawn and Mum, who is a horticulturist, working in the garden. Jarrod and I were living in a one-bedroom flflat, which we loved, but the thought of having a baby there just didn’t feel right and that’s when the stars aligned.
You make that ballsy move to change your life, move onto the land, and then something like this arises.” Carlie makes a circle motion with her hands to indicate that she’s talking about the beautiful home she and Jarrod have created for their family. Empty and unloved when they viewed it in 2014, the house was hidden under a pine interior and swathed in linoleum. However, Carlie’s stylist’s eye quickly recognised its good bones. “Structurally the house was sound. It had high ceilings and original wooden beams with tongue-and-groove detailing, so most of the character was already here. It was just disguised under a layer of pine and brown. With the pitch of the roof, I could see that all it needed was the sauna look knocked out of it and the freshness of white.” Now their home is finished, and Carlie’s design mantra of “simple, classic and uncomplicated, with lots of raw materials such as concrete, timber and steel to give an earthy, grounding yet tactile feeling” has clearly paid off. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a large window in the kitchen and living area provide sweeping views over their land towards Cootamundra. Pieces accumulated by Carlie over her career sit happily alongside IKEA furniture. One-off gems, such as the dining table and barn door to the girls’ playroom, were handmade by Jarrod. “There is nothing that man cannot do,” says Carlie, as she demonstrates the door’s sliding action, “although this door is on a complete and utter slant.” “The brief was rustic,” says Jarrod, with a grin. He worked with a local carpenter for eight months to add a verandah, fireplace, master bedroom ensuite, guest room, kids’ playroom and pantry. Before moving to Jugiong, Jarrod had never farmed. “One of the most important things living here has taught us is that country people, especially in our village, are happy to share their knowledge and give their support,” says Carlie. “The country is raw and honest, and there is no hiding your mistakes — and we’ve made many. But we’ve also learnt that the land forgives you and tomorrow is a new day, which will no doubt start with a beautiful sunrise. We consider ourselves lucky to be part of such a warm community, and Jarrod has had amazing help in learning to farm from so many people.” The couple run 1000 dual-purpose merino sheep and 20 Angus stud cows, and Carlie recently opened Curators Collective, a shop in Jugiong. Most of the furniture, homewares and fashion she stocks are sourced from artists, designers and artisans she worked with during her Sydney days. For example, there are Grandiflflora perfumes, At Mary Street soaps, pieces from Rabbit Trap Timber and Jac+jack clothing, as well as work by photographers Nick Leary and Hugh Stewart. She still consults in Sydney and locally — and the shop was a natural progression. “Everyone has always said to me ‘what do you think I should do in this space?’ or ‘do you know where I could get this?’ and I think since we’ve moved here and I’ve had time to stop and think more, I’ve realised this is just what I do; it’s what I love,” says Carlie. “I never imagined that one day I would live on a farm and have two small children, but these things have grounded me, and made me appreciate the path I am following. Both Jarrod and I struggle to imagine life back in Sydney. The luxury of the open space and our animals would be so sadly missed.”
For more information about Curators Collective, telephone 0413 362 020 or visit curatorscollective.com.au. Turn to page 122 for Carlie’s fashion advice and style philosophy.