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.
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log house was elegant and durable, and it had good, solid foundations, but it was in original condition and very outdated.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 While the yard was terribly overgrown and the interior outdated, we knew we could make it ours without it requiring any major works.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.