KEEP­ING IN CHAR­AC­TER

IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER DAR­RYL GOR­DON’S HER­ITAGE-LISTED HOME IN JAM­BEROO, NSW, COM­BINES CLAS­SIC STYLE WITH TREA­SURES COL­LECTED OVER A LIFE­TIME.

Country Style - - CONTENTS - WORDS MELISSA PENFOLD STYLING ALEXANDRA GOR­DON

In­te­rior de­signer Dar­ryl Gor­don and his part­ner, Si­mon Mil­ner, have re­stored the her­itage-listed home, Ter­ragong, in NSW’S Jam­beroo, back to its for­mer glory.

IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER DAR­RYL GOR­DON’S grand, her­itage-listed Ge­or­gian home in Jam­beroo on the NSW south coast is a place to en­joy good wine and beau­ti­ful din­ners — or so he and his part­ner, Si­mon Mil­ner, have dis­cov­ered since renovating the prop­erty over the past three years. “When the ren­o­va­tion was com­plete in 2016, we invited all the lo­cals who had helped on the house over,” says Si­mon, a mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant. “We thought it would be a two-hour drinks party. It turned into a huge, all-night bar­be­cue for ev­ery­one, fam­i­lies in­cluded! We did it all again last Christ­mas. It’s a fan­tas­tic com­mu­nity. That’s been a bonus we didn’t ex­pect.” The cou­ple fell in love with the per­fectly-pro­por­tioned, two-storey build­ing — home to one of the coun­try’s old­est dairy farms — af­ter its long-term own­ers, the Marks fam­ily, put it on the mar­ket in 2007. “I was fix­ated with the prop­erty be­fore I’d even set foot in­side,” says Dar­ryl. “It was the per­fect house. I didn’t have a clue where it was — it could have been on an is­land, and I would have bought it. I was in love.” Set on 4.8 hectares of pas­tures, wood­lands and crab ap­ple tree or­chards, ‘Ter­ragong’ is reg­is­tered with both the Na­tional Trust and Aus­tralian Her­itage Com­mis­sion. Dar­ryl, who honed his skills at Cole­fax and Fowler, and has cre­ated el­e­gant in­te­ri­ors for some of Aus­tralia’s most prom­i­nent fam­i­lies, in­stantly saw this land­mark build­ing’s po­ten­tial to be­come an ex­cep­tional home and busi­ness as a smart bed-and-break­fast. Built in 1858 by Ir­ish im­mi­grant farmer, Kiama mayor and NSW par­lia­men­tar­ian John Marks, the prop­erty had been in the fam­ily for seven gen­er­a­tions when the adult chil­dren of ma­tri­arch Agnes Marks de­cided, af­ter she died, to sell. When it came back onto the mar­ket seven years later, in 2014, Dar­ryl and Si­mon were ready, sell­ing up prop­er­ties in Syd­ney and Oberon, NSW, to make the move. Less than two hours from Syd­ney, the land­scape here is fa­mous for its beauty. The ocean shines against the lush coun­try­side above and dairy cows graze so close to the cliff face it’s a won­der they don’t fall off. It’s the mix of bu­colic sleepi­ness and dra­matic scenery that gives the re­gion its quiet but per­sua­sive pull. “We love all the clichés of the dis­trict, that ev­ery­one else does,” says Dar­ryl. “The val­ley, rolling hills, great lo­cal pro­duce and, most of all, the in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive com­mu­nity. They’re so hard­work­ing and have been so in­ter­ested in what we’ve done.” The 52-year-old de­signer had the project of his dreams on his hands restor­ing the house. It was in good shape, but >

ren­o­va­tions were am­bi­tious and in­cluded knock­ing down a kitchen an­nex and adding a big new farm­house kitchen with ev­ery­day liv­ing area, as well as five bath­rooms, a pool and ex­ten­sive land­scap­ing. The rooms now look like some­thing straight out of World of In­te­ri­ors magazine, with three guest bed­rooms on the ground floor, each with en­suites. It’s the sort of place where a fire burns in the grate year-round and a de­li­ciously dusky half-light sat­u­rates every squashy arm­chair-filled corner. Dar­ryl ran the en­tire 18-month project him­self, bring­ing in lo­cal ar­ti­sans and trades­peo­ple. He wanted things that looked at home in the 160-year-old house but would also still feel fresh in 20 years’ time — it was about meld­ing old with new and nudg­ing the place for­ward with floors warmed by ra­di­ant heat, so­lar power and a fresh colour pal­ette of Far­row and Ball and Re­sene paints through­out. “The or­der I fol­low when I de­sign a house is ar­chi­tec­ture, defin­ing the space and do­ing the fin­ishes, fur­ni­ture plans, light­ing, then colour and fab­rics,” he ex­plains. “This house didn’t need to be lay­ered with bold prints and pat­terns. I didn’t want things that would date.” All the cou­ple’s be­long­ings came with them when they moved. There are an­tique four-poster beds from Ra­jasthan, an­tique cop­per pots, busts and a life­time’s col­lec­tion of books used like works of art to line walls in the for­mal sit­ting room. “There are 65 boxes of books in that room,” says Dar­ryl, with a laugh. “It took me two days to un­pack them!” When de­sign­ing the ex­ten­sion, a sense of flow was im­per­a­tive and Dar­ryl was care­ful to use sim­i­lar pro­por­tions to the rest of the house. “It was about cre­at­ing a space for mod­ern needs with con­nec­tiv­ity and an open floor plan,” he says. “The for­mal din­ing and draw­ing rooms also work re­ally well as they haven’t dis­turbed the ar­chi­tec­ture of the house.” Linen cur­tains, archival Wil­liam Mor­ris wall­pa­pers and light­ing based on 19th-cen­tury English also fea­ture, and “I found eight Cole­fax and Fowler din­ing chairs I’d made for a for­mer client, which add au­then­tic­ity,” says Dar­ryl. Break­fast, af­ter­noon tea and canapes are served in the li­brary or new open-plan kitchen, with Si­mon cre­at­ing menus from lo­cal pro­duce and eggs from their own hens. With ev­ery­thing fin­ished and the bed and break­fast run­ning well, Dar­ryl says the house is pretty much the way they want it, although there are fur­ther plans for the gar­den. “I have such a great out­let for cre­ativ­ity in my work. I love com­ing home, clos­ing the door and not think­ing about the cur­tains, the chairs or the car­pets. We are very con­tent.”

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PRUE RUSCOE

ABOVE, FROM LEFT Dar­ryl (left) and Si­mon cur­rently keep six Isa Brown chooks at Ter­ragong; the for­mal din­ing room fea­tures eight Cole­fax and Fowler spoon­back din­ing chairs and carvers, up­hol­stered in ‘Mar­rakesh’ fab­ric from Holly Hunt. FAC­ING PAGE A verre églomisé mir­ror by Ju­lian Chich­ester hangs over the orig­i­nal Car­rara mar­ble man­tel in the li­brary. The Head of Lao­coön bust is from How­ell and How­ell An­tiques. For stock­ist de­tails, see page 150.

CLOCK­WISE, FROM LEFT A Re­gency pe­riod cop­per hot wa­ter urn sits on an an­tique ma­hogany butler’s tray, with a back­drop of ‘Ti­bet’ wall­pa­per from Clarence House, New York; The Pomegranate Room in Ter­ragong is named for its 1864 Wil­liam Mor­ris ‘Pomegranate’ wall­pa­per; an art­work by the late Mau­reen van der Giessen hangs in the li­brary be­low a wall sconce from Visual Com­fort. The 19th-cen­tury arm­chair up­hol­stered in blonde horse­hair is com­ple­mented by a Kuba cloth cush­ion, made from fab­ric the cou­ple bought at the Marche aux Puces de Saint-ouen, France. For stock­ist de­tails, see page 150.

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