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.

Country Style - - HOME - WORDS ALEX SPEED PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRIGID ARNOTT STYLING EMMALY STE­WART

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.

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