Back to the bush

How this site’s nat­u­ral beauty al­most stole the show

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Robyn Willis Pic­tures Thomas Dal­hoff

Put sim­ply, there’s noth­ing or­di­nary about this project. A coun­try es­cape for Car­nival Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ann Sherry and her fam­ily, the 242ha site in the South­ern High­lands was al­ready home to a pair of ‘shacks’ which Ann and her fam­ily had in­stalled on the site 10 years ago.

De­signed by New Zealand ar­chi­tect Ken La­tona and con­structed by Smart Shax, the dwellings are com­pletely off the grid, with no ac­cess to town wa­ter or elec­tric­ity. There’s no glass in the win­dows, only screens and wooden shut­ters to guard against the threat of bush­fires. Vet­eran land­scape ar­chi­tect Wil­liam Dan­gar cre­ated a gar­den n that also com­plied with fire re­stric­tions, as well as be­ing both h beau­ti­ful and low main­te­nance.

Ann says it has al­ways of­fered a sense of be­ing in the en­vi­ron­ment while main­tain­ing their need for sanc­tu­ary.

“This is one of my happy places,” Ann says. “You can see the stars at night and there’s so much h wildlife — I feel good when I am here.”

From the out­side in

While the gar­den was look­ing bet­ter than ever, af­ter 10 years the in­te­ri­ors were look­ing a lit­tle tired. In­te­rior de­signer Karen Ak­ers had al­ready worked on the own­ers’ city home so she was an ob­vi­ous choice when a re­fresh was in or­der.

“We use it all the time but it needed a bit of zing — and Karen is fan­tas­tic with colour,” Ann says. Karen took her cues from the site, bathing the two prop­er­ties — with three bed­rooms be­tween them — in a eu­ca­lyp­tus green colour called Te Aroha from Du­lux. “The whole house was white when I got there but I wanted to bring the out­side in­side and view the whole site as one,” says Karen. “That colour green is quite in­tense but it doesn’t read like that en masse. “I cov­ered the sofa in the same colour to make the space feel big­ger when there is so much go­ing on.” Alan Mul­lany from Mul­lany & Co slept on site for fiv five days to com­plete the paint­ing. Ke Keep­ing the colour scheme sim­ple an and sym­pa­thetic to the out­doors m meant that the in­te­ri­ors worked with the land­scape rather than against it. “You try to keep the pal­ette monochro­matic with min­i­mal f fea­tures so that the out­doors rem re­main as one of the el­e­ments (in the d de­sign),” Karen says. “If the there’s too much go­ing on, your eye just can’t set­tle.” The in­te­gra­tion of in­door and out­door spa­ces has been so suc­cess­ful that you have to look twice at the win­dow in the main liv­ing area to be sure that it’s not a paint­ing.

When art meets na­ture

Art has been a key part of this de­sign with Karen draw­ing on the col­lec­tion of indige­nous art Ann and her fam­ily had kept in stor­age.

“They had a large col­lec­tion of indige­nous art which I wel­comed, es­pe­cially in this

en­vi­ron­ment be­cause it re­ally suits the bush lo­ca­tion,” Karen says. “Some of those pieces Ann had tucked away since the ’70s and ’80s and they had not seen the light of day since.”

Karen had some of the works re­framed to give them a con­tem­po­rary edge and then used the art­works as in­spi­ra­tion for the rest of the de­sign scheme.

“The liv­ing room rug is Moroc­can but I love the pat­tern in it and the colours, and there’s a ca­su­al­ness to it that I wanted to bring to the room,” she says. “It con­nects well to the Abo­rig­i­nal art­work as well.”

In the din­ing room, Karen chose a large and spec­tac­u­lar hand­wo­ven light pen­dant made by indige­nous women and avail­able from Syd­ney re­tailer Koskela.

“Hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked with these clients, it was partly a case of ‘what­ever you think’,” Karen says. “The light fit­ting wasn’t cheap but they love it.”

In keep­ing with the re­laxed ca­sual feel the own­ers were aim­ing for, fur­ni­ture is light and flex­i­ble while linen quilt cov­ers from Adairs add a bit of tex­tu­ral lux­ury.

Since the work fin­ished, Ann says their coun­try re­treat is more pop­u­lar than ever, in­clud­ing with the lo­cal wildlife like wom­bats, wal­la­bies and koalas.

“We al­ways feel a part of the out­side — which is what I love about it.”

The mod­u­lar sofa from Jar­dan blends into the wall, draw­ing your fo­cus to a framed photo by Phillip Philip­pou. The win­dow frame at the far end al­most looks like an art­work.

The Moroc­can rug picks up the bright colours of the bush.

Art meets func­tion in the spec­tac­u­lar hand­wo­ven pen­dant light sus­pended over the tim­ber din­ing ta­ble.

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