Made from pa­per, rock and wood

For artist Lisa Madi­gan, The Cot­tage is a retreat, in­spi­ra­tion and re­flec­tion of her cre­ative life, writes Bron­wyn Phillips.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Ask The Experts - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY SCOTT HAWKINS STYLING HANDE REN­SHAW

It may be 35 kilo­me­tres from the coast, but The Cot­tage in the Kan­ga­roo Val­ley, owned by cre­ative pow­er­house Lisa Madi­gan and her hus­band, Rob, evokes the beach with its neu­tral walls, floor­boards, rus­tic tim­bers, clam shells and white linens and tow­els. No sur­prise, given the artist and stylist grew up in the heart­land of Aus­tralian surf cul­ture, on Syd­ney’s North­ern Beaches.

Ten years ago, Lisa and Rob, an auto electrician and diesel me­chanic, were on their hon­ey­moon, driv­ing along the Great Ocean Road in Vic­to­ria and the south coast of NSW. “We were quite dis­en­chanted with the Syd­ney real es­tate mar­ket and loved the idea of find­ing some­thing in the coun­try,” the artist, in her mid-30s, ex­plains. “We hadn’t been to the Kan­ga­roo Val­ley be­fore and com­pletely fell in love with it. When The Cot­tage turned up, it felt right.”

Packing up their lives in Syd­ney’s in­ner west, the cou­ple, with their Dal­ma­tian dogs Oberon and Mia, moved into The Cot­tage and started ren­o­vat­ing and re­pair­ing. “We wanted some­thing with good bones that we could put our stamp on, and with a lot of his­tory and char­ac­ter,” says

Lisa. They cer­tainly found it in the Kan­ga­roo Val­ley. “Struc­turally, it was fan­tas­tic, it had some maintenance done, but most of it was orig­i­nal.”

Built in the 1880s, The Cot­tage was orig­i­nally home to The Kan­ga­roo Val­ley Times news­pa­per. “There was a print­ing press in what is now the lounge room – there is a big dent in the floor where the wheel had worn the tim­ber away,” says Lisa, who was smit­ten by The Cot­tage’s for­mer life in news­pa­pers. “The in­te­rior was

Kan­ga­roo Val­ley, NSW Lisa Madi­gan (with her Dal­ma­tian, Oberon) en­joys The Cot­tage as an es­cape from city liv­ing.

“When The Cot­tage turned up, it felt right.”

In­spired by the tran­quil sur­rounds, Lisa in­cor­po­rates out­side elements in the in­te­rior decor. The wood tres­tle ta­ble (top), for ex­am­ple, is adorned with dried flo­ral ar­range­ments.

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