A newly built home is designed with an aura of old-world charm, as Hande Renshaw discovers.
a fabulous French farmhouse in Queensland
For Cassandra and David Aird, injecting touches of old French charm into their newly built home was the most important part of the building and renovation process. “We both love the simple decorative accents of French style – the lightness and freshness of it – rather than a heavy, dark timber look,” says Cassandra. “Travelling to France in recent years has fuelled our passion for this style.”
Set on half a hectare and nestled in a picturesque Queensland valley, the property was bought by the pair four years ago, after they longed to swap city living for country bliss.
“David was passionate to own and breed horses since the day we met,” says Cassandra. “We built our house on an old dairy farm site, so we now
have a space where our horses, Molly and Sky, can graze, and for me to garden, which is my favourite thing.
“We really have our American Quarter Horse, Molly, a breed with a lovely and gentle temperament, to thank for our return to acreage living,” she adds.
The home was built by a Brisbane company, which worked closely with the couple to create an Australian Federation-style design that also incorporated their own personal style.
“I have always loved the character of old homes – I was looking forward to the design process and everything being new and fresh, but I was also concerned that a modern house would be lacking in charm and character,” says Cassandra.
To avoid a brand-new, clinical feel, the couple designed a 30-degree pitched roof and a verandah across the front of the home, with French doors opening up to the garden. Inside are traditional character features such as decorative verandah brackets and
I am intrigued by the history of pieces.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cassandra with her horse, Molly. Floral cushions add colour to an elegant bedroom. The all-weather outdoor area.
crown-shaped ceiling mouldings, as well as an old-fashioned clothes line made from recycled timber, which was built by David.
Additional buildings on the property, such as the stable and the barn, have also been designed to look old with an aged patina.
“We are so happy with the outcome – we have a modern house with a traditional twist and a nod to countrycolonial style,” says Cassandra.
The interior of the home is French provincial in style, with a simple white colour scheme throughout.
The spacious interior leads out to an equally large outdoor area where the couple spend most of their time – French doors to the front verandah and eight-metre wide bifold doors to the back alfresco area allow an easy flow from indoors to out.
The decor is abundant with antique gems. “My appreciation of vintage pieces began from an early age, from my parents’ influence,” says Cassandra. “We would often visit antique shops and I loved the smell of old waxed furniture. I was, and still am, intrigued by the history of where the pieces could have been before I found them.
“Every piece has already had a life, with decorative style and bumps and knocks,” says Cassandra. “I can tell you the story and how we stumbled across every single piece we own – and that makes lovely memories.”
For Cassandra, the home and garden are never complete.
“I often become restless and think of something to tweak – the house and garden are never safe when I get inspired,” she laughs.