es­cape to the coun­try

Emma Good­sir and Bernard Gal­bally switched life in the city for a ru­ral par­adise


For­mer town­ies find ru­ral bliss in a 1920s farm­house in Mel­bourne

We moved from Mel­bourne on a bit of a whim,’ says jew­ellery de­signer and gallery owner Emma Good­sir. ‘ We’d had our first child and I’d started think­ing about mov­ing to the coun­try, but my hus­band, Bernard, is a born and bred townie and I thought he’d go crazy liv­ing some­where more re­mote.’ How­ever, Emma de­cided to start look­ing for a suit­able home any­way. ‘I drove out to the coun­try­side and viewed this house; it was tired, draughty and pretty or­di­nary, but it was sur­rounded by four acres of land and I liked the views of Mount Mace­don,’ says Emma. ‘So I called Bernard with the news that I’d po­ten­tially found our home.’

Luck­ily, Bernard, a music man­ager, was game, and the cou­ple bought the house in Wood­end, a ru­ral town an hour from Mel­bourne. By this time they had two tod­dlers, Finnbar, now 16, and Isi­dore, 14, so they de­cided to fo­cus on the gar­den and leave the house ren­o­va­tion un­til the chil­dren were older. ‘ We knew we could turn it into some­thing lovely, but thought we’d let the boys ride their bikes and skate­boards in­doors while they were lit­tle and do it up when they were past that stage,’ says Emma. ‘We also wanted to see how we would live here.’

When they were ready, Emma’s fa­ther, a re­tired ar­chi­tect, helped them work out the best use of space and drew up the plans. A ve­ran­dah that sur­rounded the prop­erty was re­moved and the small win­dows were re­placed with glass doors and floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, strate­gi­cally placed to em­pha­sise the spec­tac­u­lar views. ‘The ve­ran­dah was typ­i­cally Aus­tralian and looked lovely, but it had

a low roof and was to­tally im­prac­ti­cal,’ ex­plains Emma. ‘It blocked the view and didn’t let the sun in. Now we can see Mount Mace­don and the sun­rise ev­ery morn­ing. The house is full of light.’

The orig­i­nal L-shaped foot­print was re­tained but the in­ter­nal walls were re­moved and the rooms re­con­fig­ured to cre­ate an open­plan lay­out. ‘ We had a long, dark hall­way and a mas­sive kitchen where we’d have to walk ten paces to get to the fridge,’ says Emma. ‘We made it half the size and much more prac­ti­cal.’ The liv­ing area, which in­cor­po­rates the kitchen, din­ing space, sit­ting room and a sep­a­rate TV room, was at the cen­tre of the prop­erty, with the chil­dren’s bed­rooms and bath­room on one side and the mas­ter bed­room, guest room, stu­dio and study on the other. ‘ We cre­ated ar­eas that could be di­vided off when peo­ple wanted to be on their own,’ ex­plains

Emma. ‘In­stead of a TV room, we cre­ated a fam­ily room with a large win­dow so we can see in from the kitchen.’

Emma chose a back­drop of white walls and oak floor­ing for the most part, with sim­ple fur­nish­ings and dec­o­ra­tive lighting. She added colour with rugs, cush­ions and art. ‘ We didn’t want our home to be os­ten­ta­tious or pre­cious in any way,’ says Emma. ‘ We wanted it to be hard-wear­ing and to feel com­fort­able and in­for­mal.’

Since mov­ing to the coun­try, the fam­ily has en­joyed be­ing connected to na­ture. ‘ We spend lots of time out­side and we’ve be­come more ac­tive with­out notic­ing,’ says Emma. ‘I was worried that Bernard would find it hard to ad­just, but within a week he thought the move had added ten years to his life. He feels so re­laxed as soon as he gets home.’

DIN­ING AREA Emma chose nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and sim­ple fur­nish­ings to suit the ru­ral set­ting. Thonet Bent­wood bistro chairs, £587, are avail­able at Aram. Emma found the Dan­ish pa­per cord chairs on ebay; Skandium sells the CH25 chair by Hans Weg­ner, from...

SIT­TING room/ kitchen- diner Art­work, ac­ces­sories and fab­rics fea­tur­ing vi­brant colours add in­ter­est to the sub­tle pal­ette. The paint­ing on the right was com­mis­sioned by emma for Bernard’s 50th birth­day. For colour­ful flatweave rugs, try Wo­ven. Find...

kitchen emma de­signed the cab­i­netry her­self and had it made by a car­pen­ter. Naked Kitchens’ Por­to­bello cab­i­netry has a sim­i­lar look and starts from £7,200

Stu­dio ‘I wanted an eclec­tic look in here,’ says emma. The wide in­dus­trial rack, £1,095, Out There In­te­ri­ors, is a com­pa­ra­ble shelv­ing unit

MAS­TER BED­ROOM Neck­laces by artists from Emma’s gallery, e.g.etal in Mel­bourne, make a unique dec­o­ra­tive fea­ture. the frame bench, £609, by Hay at clip­ is sim­i­lar. the Bur­dock bed at But­ton & sprung can be cov­ered in be­spoke fab­rics, from £545...

BATH­ROOM The con­crete-look bath sur­round was achieved with in­ex­pen­sive matt grey tiles. topps tiles soft dark grey tile would pro­vide a com­pa­ra­ble ef­fect, £23.42sq m

KITCHEN A de­signer fruit bowl, once owned by David Bowie, takes cen­tre stage. laura Ash­ley Ar­ti­san wall tiles in French Grey, £90sq m, Bri­tish De­signer Tiles. Ra­jasthan pil­lars, from In­digo Asian An­tiques & In­te­ri­ors

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