Australian House & Garden - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

The streets are buzzing with walk­ers, jog­gers and those bear­ing yoga mats – have you no­ticed? As the new leaves un­furl on trees and spring flow­ers bloom, win­ter garb is shrugged off and the race to be fit for warm-weather at­tire is on. There are box­ers in parks and run­ners by the bays. The pools are busy, ac­tivewear abounds and the well­ness lit­er­a­ture is flood­ing in.

Only this feels like more than a sea­sonal whim. With more and more peo­ple seek­ing at least tem­po­rary re­treat from the pace of work, life and tech­nol­ogy, the pur­suit of good health, mind­ful­ness and clean liv­ing is on in earnest.

Up there with green juices, F45 classes and yoga re­treats is deeper think­ing about our homes and the way they af­fect our health and gen­eral well­be­ing. Sev­eral of the newly built homes fea­tured in this ‘well­ness is­sue’ put fam­ily health and well­be­ing at the cen­tre of their de­sign, a de­ci­sion which flows through to ma­te­rial choices, fin­ishes and fur­ni­ture and, nat­u­rally, the con­sid­er­a­tion of sus­tain­able prin­ci­ples. Says home­owner Lee-Anne (p192): “In­creas­ingly, we are mak­ing more in­formed de­ci­sions about what we eat, what we put on our skin and the chem­i­cals we clean with. I think the flow-on is to ques­tion the health­i­ness of our built en­vi­ron­ment.”

The many health ben­e­fits of gar­den­ing are well doc­u­mented and the won­der­ful Yarra river­side gar­den of au­thor and plantswoman Kate Herd is a de­light­ful heal­ing hub (p161). Un­re­solved and ec­cen­tric, in Kate’s words, it’s a test­ing ground for her hor­ti­cul­tural ex­per­i­ments, a play­ground for her daugh­ter and a wel­come re­treat for lo­cals. “My gar­den sus­tains the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, nour­ishes my soul and in­spires my work,” says Kate.

“I am thank­ful to share it with oth­ers.”

As I write this let­ter, prepa­ra­tions are well un­der­way for H&G’s an­nual Top 50 Rooms event. This one feels ex­tra spe­cial, tak­ing place 20 years af­ter H&G launched the ini­tia­tive.

Gath­ered to­gether in the mag­a­zine’s 50th-an­niver­sary is­sue were the best prac­ti­tion­ers of res­i­den­tial de­sign at the time, a weighty line-up of in­te­rior de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects and dec­o­ra­tors, in­clud­ing late greats Ge­orge Freed­man, Les­lie Wal­ford and Stu­art Rat­tle. John War­dle, An­drew Parr, Sue Carr and

Nik Kar­alis all pre­sented projects neatly in line with their aes­thetic to­day. The same can be said of land­scape de­signer Paul Ban­gay

(see p116). Also in the 1998 line-up were Thomas Hamel and Meryl Hare – and both have stel­lar projects in this year’s Top 50.

Huge thanks to our long­time Top 50 Rooms part­ner, War­wick Fab­rics, an Aus­tralian brand that con­tin­ues to in­no­vate; to cat­e­gory spon­sors and also to Cathay Pa­cific… the air­line will whisk our lucky Room of the Year win­ner off to the Mai­son & Ob­jet fair in Paris this Jan­uary.

You’ll find our Top 50 on page 53. En­joy! And don’t for­get to vote for your favourite.

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