livin’ on a prayer

This church turned sweet fam­ily home is a study in con­scious up­cy­cling

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

This church-turned-fam­ily home ex­pe­ri­enced a heav­enly makeover.

When we’re look­ing for some­thing for the house, our first point of call is al­ways a lo­cal sec­ond-hand store, or even a buy, swap and sell site,” says Amanda Cal­lan, of the eclec­tic north­ern NSW digs she shares with her part­ner An­drew, sons Banjo, five, and Percy, two, and pup Mag­gie. “An­drew and I both love the look of old things, and we feel like there’s so much stuff out there al­ready – it just seems sen­si­ble to re­use.”

The fam­ily ar­rived in pretty Billinudgel and moved into their old, ’30s-era tim­ber church nearly five years ago. It’s from here that they run Church Farm Gen­eral Store (church­far­m­gen­er­al­, their line of hand­made soaps, sauces, pick­les and pastes that they sell on­line, at var­i­ous re­tail­ers and out of nearby farmers’ mar­kets. They used to make it all on-site, bot­tling the prod­ucts right here in their kitchen, only mov­ing pro­duc­tion to a warehouse when de­mand took off.

The church was just an empty hall when they first ar­rived, so the fam­ily did some ba­sic ren­o­va­tions, but al­ways with re­spect to the orig­i­nal walls. “When we moved in, it had such a nice feel about it – we re­ally wanted to keep that. The thought of any­thing too mod­ern just didn’t seem right,” says Amanda. “When

we were ren­o­vat­ing and choos­ing ma­te­ri­als, we were in­spired and in­flu­enced by the era the church was built in. Fam­ily mem­bers had ren­o­vated an old Queens­lan­der not long be­fore, so we scored pas­tel-coloured tim­ber pieces that we used to make our kitchen, plus old win­dows and doors that we’ve used in our build­ing and the shed and cabin on the prop­erty. One per­son’s trash is def­i­nitely some­one else’s trea­sure!” she laughs.

If they’re not re­pur­pos­ing a piece that has al­ready lived a long life, like the din­ing ta­ble that An­drew made out of an old door, Amanda says this fam­ily chooses wisely. “If we’re go­ing to buy some­thing new, we like it to be made by some­body we know and that we can keep for­ever. We have stools by Martin John­ston, rugs and throws from Pampa, beau­ti­ful hand­made fur­ni­ture from Pop & Scott and Si­bella Court fix­tures from Newry­bar Mer­chants – they’re great for hooks and hold­ers,” she says.

If you fol­low the fam­ily on so­cial me­dia, you would have spied the home’s idyl­lic coun­try sur­rounds, com­plete with am­bling cows on the land next door. Banjo and Percy en­joy the wide open space, which in turn af­fects the fam­ily’s dec­o­rat­ing choices. “We spend a lot of time out­doors in the dirt and mud so any­thing light in colour has no chance!” Amanda says.

The open-plan style of the con­verted church, with its beau­ti­fully acous­tic high ceil­ings, makes for plenty of qual­ity fam­ily time and noisy meals. “My favourite spot is the kitchen. It’s where ev­ery­thing good hap­pens. An­drew is an amaz­ing cook. But if you ask him, his favourite spot is prob­a­bly the couch,” laughs Amanda.

But there are plans afoot for this old gem. The pair in­tend to take the house a lit­tle higher and have even added an open, pointed ceil­ing since they let us in­side to pho­to­graph. Maybe the next life for this old girl will be even bet­ter than the first.



MASS AP­PEAL The kitchen ta­ble An­drew made from an old tim­ber door is a favourite piece. “It isn’t the most prac­ti­cal be­cause it’s a bit bent, but we could never let it go,” says Amanda

STAIR­WAY TO HEAVEN A spi­ral stair­case, colour­ful tim­ber and plenty of green­ery cre­ate points of in­ter­est all through­out the fam­ily home

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