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