Homes & Gardens

HISTORIC REVIVAL Antiques and earthy colours complement the character of an Arts & Crafts home in Tasmania

An Arts and Crafts home located in an iconic area of Tasmania has been given a new lease of life with William Morris prints and a moody palette


Step over the threshold of Ethelmont Rise, the beautiful home of Emma and Stuart Burgess, and you are immediatel­y immersed in a sense of nostalgia. Timeworn pieces fill this special property – from the mustard lampshades that are original to the house to the handsome antique dresser, a family heirloom that is now filled with warm yellow vintage French pottery from Poterie du Soleil.

‘The ochre tones have informed the colour palette throughout this house,’ says Emma.

The hillside Arts and Crafts house has picturesqu­e views down to the River Derwent and across to

Sandy Bay from the front, while from the back, you look up to dramatic Mount Wellington. ‘The mountain and water influence the feel of each day,’ says Emma. Built originally in 1929 on the Ethelmont Estate owned by Charles Ernest Webster, the house was first lived in by the Clennett sisters, followed by an elderly couple. ‘You can feel the palpable sense of history: spaces had been left largely untouched and our renovation has been very respectful of the Arts and Crafts architectu­re.’

The chalet-style house retains its original sash windows – lovingly restored – and has three bedrooms. Upstairs, there is a twin room with antique beds, said to have come from the Ritz hotel in Paris, while downstairs there are two elegant doubles. At the end of the hallway, a family space leads into a kitchen and dining area. A salvaged window was added and the kitchen now has views out to the garden and the mountain beyond.

The couple bought the property four years ago to use as a bolthole away from the hectic bustle of their lives in Sydney, where Emma is a headteache­r and Stuart is a horticultu­rist. ‘I discovered Hobart in my 20s – it has a great cosmopolit­an feel and a way of getting under your skin,’ says Emma. ‘It is a wonderful escape for us and our three girls: Isabella, 18, Molly, 12, and Charlotte, nine.’

In 2018, Emma enlisted the design services of Australian stylist Sarah Andrews, who helped to create a scheme for the house. Two years on with the renovation­s complete, the property is now also rented occasional­ly via Airbnb. ‘The structure of the house was sound, but decorative­ly it needed a lot of work,’ says Emma. Peeling bedroom wallpapers were stripped back and replaced with William Morris designs. ‘Ceiling timbers were restored and carpets pulled up – but we left surfaces unsanded as we were keen to preserve the original integrity,’ she says.

While Stuart acted as project manager, Emma worked her magic filling the space. ‘I am an avid collector and love the mix of antiques, newer details and more decorative finds. I am constantly on the hunt – ebay, Gumtree, our local antiques emporiums.’ In the kitchen, a 200-year-old French dining table is juxtaposed with contempora­ry painted units – upcycled from the family’s Sydney home – while zellige tiles from Morocco are teamed with classic brass hardware. In the bathroom, an antique cabinet has been repurposed by Stuart with legs removed and modern basins added, to create a bespoke vanity. ‘Stuart has a very practical, can-do attitude,’ says Emma. ‘He is very tolerant of my ideas and I love that he is able to turn them into reality!’

The house, painted in warm lime-wash shades of Blue Spruce, Chintz Grey and Triple Lead by Porter’s Paints, is punctuated with textiles in softer tones of rust, pale pink and oatmeal. Everywhere you look there are abundant floral arrangemen­ts. ‘Everything in our house has been lovingly put together,’ says Emma. ‘It is a very soulful place and we all feel very sentimenta­l about coming home.’

Emma Burgess shares her style vision and loves


Drill Hall Emporium in New Norfolk, Tasmania, and La Maison in Sydney.


The amazing zellige tiles in our kitchen.


Sarah Andrews and Sibella Court.


Musée de l’orangerie in Paris.


The importance of sustainabi­lity.


Sydney’s Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW. DESIGN HERO William Morris.


A handstitch­ed paper dress lithograph by Tasmanian Simone Pfister.

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Antique furniture, including a French zinc-topped table and English oak chairs, ensures timeworn charm.
Antique dining table and chairs, Sally Beresford
KITCHEN-DINER Antique furniture, including a French zinc-topped table and English oak chairs, ensures timeworn charm. Antique dining table and chairs, Sally Beresford
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