It was love at first sight for Amanda and Brad, who found a rus­tic log cot­tage out­side Can­berra with bags of char­ac­ter and great po­ten­tial.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

With a dream for coun­try life, Amanda dis­cov­ered the per­fect prop­erty to cre­ate a mod­ern home with charm.

“BRAD AND I WERE LIV­ING in Syd­ney’s Suther­land Shire when we had our twin boys. By the time they were three years old, we were crav­ing the space and fresh coun­try air you sim­ply can’t get closer to the city. I spent five years in the ACT as a child, and I of­ten thought one day I’d move back to raise my fam­ily.

We rented in an in­ner Can­berra sub­urb for two years while we looked for a home to buy. Then on a cool May day, in a small town 25 min­utes’ drive north of Can­berra’s CBD, we drove up a gravel road to­wards a house that was open for in­spec­tion – and my heart skipped a beat. I just knew this was our new home. The sin­gle-storey log house was el­e­gant and durable, and it had good, solid foun­da­tions, but it was in orig­i­nal con­di­tion and very out­dated. How­ever, it had buck­et­loads of char­ac­ter and a gor­geous view, which is what sealed the deal for us – that, and the sand­stone fire­place!


We were in­stantly at­tracted to the rus­tic fea­tures of the house: the ex­posed beams, pan­elled walls, log con­struc­tion and, of course, the sand­stone fire­place. While the yard was ter­ri­bly over­grown and the in­te­rior out­dated, we knew we could make it ours with­out it re­quir­ing any ma­jor works.

The first thing we did was paint. For the ex­te­rior we chose a dark char­coal, while inside we painted the orig­i­nal pine pan­elling white. It’s made our home warm, cosy and mod­ern. In the fire­place room, the sand­stone was lost against the white, so we painted the walls in the same dark char­coal to cre­ate con­trast. It was the best de­ci­sion we made. The room is now both el­e­gant and rus­tic – it feels like a warm blan­ket wrapped around you. Other changes in­cluded re­plac­ing the old car­pet with bam­boo floor­ing, com­pletely ren­o­vat­ing the main bath­room, swap­ping the cur­tains for blinds, re­plac­ing the kitchen splash­back, door han­dles and tap­ware, and in­stalling the com­bus­tion fire­place.


Our home’s in­te­rior – the in­door plants, sand­stone fire­place, tim­ber beams and north-fac­ing sun – re­flects the out­door el­e­ments. The mod­ern coun­try style is invit­ing and not too pre­cious, and my in­spi­ra­tion comes from liv­ing where we do. The smells, light, peace, colour and tex­tures all in­flu­ence how I dec­o­rate, so I am drawn to ob­jects with tex­ture – rus­tic, un­even and unique pieces. We are lucky to have four dis­tinct sea­sons here, and I of­ten re­dec­o­rate ac­cord­ing to the weather. My col­lec­tion of art has more mean­ing to me than any­thing else in the house – it’s all by my beau­ti­ful, tal­ented mum!


Ours is just a sim­ple log house, but it’s so beau­ti­ful here. We’ve made a home away from the bus­tle of life, and it feels re­lax­ing and cosy all year round – we re­ally wanted to cre­ate a home that was warm and grounded. As a fam­ily, we en­joy the sim­ple things in life; we’ve watched count­less sun­sets to­gether, ac­knowl­edg­ing how grate­ful we are to live in such a spe­cial place. Our sons have started to cot­ton on, run­ning to take pho­tos of the amaz­ing sun­sets. These are the mo­ments I know we’ve made the right move, and it’s why we love liv­ing in the coun­try.”

LIV­ING ROOM Grey area The dark wall colour brings drama and con­trast to this for­mal liv­ing room. The “Cow” art is by Amanda’s mum, Yvonne Clough.

DE­TAIL Slow burn The fam­ily tend to en­joy the beau­ti­ful open fire on week­ends, when there’s time to re­lax.

OUT­SIDE Bright idea Vi­brant yel­low on the front door adds a “cheery pop of colour”, says Amanda.

GREAT IDEA Dried twigs as­sem­bled in tight cir­cles as wall art.

KITCHEN Home hub The fam­ily gath­ers daily for cof­fee and con­ver­sa­tions around the is­land bench. HAND WO­VEN Bisque In­te­ri­ors rattan pen­dant light, small, $269, from Zest Light­ing. UP HIGH Quartz plant stand in Moon­shine, $190, from Ivy Muse. LIGHT TOUCH...

DE­TAIL The lit­tle things An eclec­tic gath­er­ing of items here cre­ates a func­tional and in­ter­est­ing vi­gnette. Lamp from Free­dom; ra­dio from Of­fice­works.

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