sneak peek: rachel bending of bird textiles

Rachel Bending, the creative force behind Bird Textiles, lives in an 80-acre wildlife sanctuary in Byron Bay, Australia, with her partner, Campbell, and the couple’s 9-month-old daughter, Quincy. Byron Bay has been a popular vacation destination since the ’70s when it became known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back surf culture. Most of the locals, however, live in the outlying areas — the hinterland — which have become a hotbed of creativity, attracting artists all over the world. In keeping with the eco-vibe of the wildlife sanctuary, Rachel’s home is a strawbale house with solar power, solar hot water, a graywater reedbed, compost toilet and 50,000 liters of roof-catchment drinking water. There is a seamless flow between the outside and inside of the home — outdoors, there is a solar-heated plunge pool and even an outdoor bathroom with expansive views across the forest and rainforest. Thanks, Rachel, Campbell & Quincy! — Amy A.

Image above: The private location of our home allows us to indulge in the luxury of an outdoor bathing area, and the subtropical climate enables us to use it all year round. The salvaged clawfoot bathtub was a gift from a friend, and the flooring is travertine. Cushion by Bird Textile and seat benching fabric from Ici et La. This outdoor bathroom is my favorite room.

Image above: In summer, the bifolds on each end of the living space open so that the natural breeze that passes through the valley cools the space. In winter, passive solar principles ensure the angle of the sun warms the polished concrete floor, leaving the space warm and cosy.

Image above: Wallpaper by Osborne and Little, stools by Zaishu, bed by Ikea

Image above: The spine of the main corridor is a dramatic dry-stone feature wall that extends its length, separating social areas from private areas of the home. The wall was hand-built by a local stonemason, Rachel and an assistant, and is a throwback to Rachel’s heritage growing up in Wales, UK.

Image above: 1950s kitchenalia is housed in open-plan shelves. An old laundry sink found in a local reclamation yard. Hospital tapware from Enware.

Image above: Fresh eggs daily from M’Lady the Transylvanian Bald Neck/Silky highbred chicken (you asked!), with Dorothy and Glynis in the background.

Image above: Guilt-free luxury in this stunning plunge pool, filled with water collected from the roof and heated by the sun.

  1. Alison says:

    Gorgeous!!! Where is this?

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      australia, in a nature sanctuary (more details in the intro) :)


  2. Bev Weidner says:

    Little does she know I’m moving in. LOVE.

  3. Rachel says:

    This is beyond amazing!

  4. Angelia says:

    I haved loved their textiles for several years, fun online site.

  5. Can I just say how killer that bedroom wallpaper is?! The entire home actually. Love it ;)

  6. Dalit says:

    most of all love the outdoor bath

  7. Claudia says:

    This. House. This house! Beautiful and striving to be low impact. and I almost hate to admit it, but i was obsessing (okay, still am) about that Ikea bed, although I think it’s no longer being made in green… This house is pretty much the house I want someday.

  8. Sylvia says:

    You’re kidding me. This place looks amazing!

  9. akpeony says:

    delighted to see Zaishu stools featured in two photos!

  10. This is AMAZING!!! I don’t even know where to start with this house — the fab wallpaper?? That plunge pool? THE VIEW?? And I really really love her bookshelf set-up. Can you tell I loved this place?

  11. Michele says:

    so jealous of this place

  12. Lauren says:

    Ummm, the outdoor bathing area is jaw dropping insane!

    The whole house is spectacular!

  13. Mariane says:

    Yes, my dream house, contemporary in architecture, cozy on the inside, green all over! I have fond memory of Byron Bay and Australia (I have been there twice) wish I knew about your place then, could have tested your hospitality!!

  14. Paulina J! says:

    This is GORGEOUS!!! That’s what I call living in paradise. I would seriously drop everything right now to live somewhere like that. Love that the doors can be opened to let the breeze in.

  15. Carlo Craig says:

    Wow, amazing, everything. The tub, the pink plaid chair, those big glass folding doors, that bookshelf, and the chickens!

  16. Diane says:

    This house is amazing!

  17. Everything about this house is breathtaking. Love it!

  18. kara rane says:

    so powerful to bring the outdoors IN,, love the balance you have achieved..

  19. Rinna says:

    There are not words to convey how i would love to move my family into that home, area, country! How does she have such an amazing house with a young un? even more amazing!

  20. Larissa says:

    Let’s do a home exchange! We’re in Chicago!!

  21. rebecca says:

    The web ate my comment. {insert gushing paragraph here}. I love this. I want to live there. Wonderful. I haven’t had a new fave sneak peek in a long time.

  22. nicolee says:

    I’m moving in with Bev!

  23. Katie says:

    Oh my gosh, this house is a wonderland!

  24. yeah chickens! i love me some fancy good lookin’ homes with nice lookin’ chickens. cool stuff. :)

  25. MissHeliotrope says:

    Lovely, but you’d have to live in Byron Bay…

  26. Tisha says:

    I think I’m in love.

  27. Emily says:

    Missheliotrope – I’d love to live in Byron Bay. Any day. Also been lusting after a Zaishu stool/table of my own. One day.

  28. kitt says:

    That is my dream bathroom!

  29. Adele S. says:

    Something very different, but that’s what it makes interesting.

  30. Katy says:

    Simply stunning – not sure bathing outside would be quite the same in rainy UK!

    ps… in the UK we call silkie cross Transylvanian Naked necks, Showgirls! Too cute!

  31. Definitely one of my favorite sneak peeks. Love everything about it, especially the outdoor bathroom and the plunge pool. Thanks for the beautiful tour. :)

  32. Vera says:

    I can’t get over the bathtub!!! This house is so wonderful with so much personality and charm.

  33. Linda Hunt says:

    How very refreshing and calming at the same time! I would love to escape to there for awhile.

  34. Christy says:

    Her use of textiles is so much fun! What a livable home!

  35. linda Blackmore says:

    I love this. It is beautiful. My only “thing” while I was admiring the open living and tub was, “Doesn’t Australia have a lot of deadly snakes?” hahahaha

  36. Bec (In Australia) says:

    sometimes i forget how lucky i am in live down under… gardening is so easy!!

  37. Jess says:

    Wow looking at this house makes me unbelievably happy!

  38. Kathy says:

    Oh, the perfect lifestyle. They are certainly blessed.

  39. Kiki says:

    no time to comment; I’m packing my suitcases – outdoor bath I’m coming, bald-neck and feathery silky chickens, I’m coming, darling Rachel, I’m coming!
    This must be the most exciting, beautiful, natural and totally cool place you ever featured!
    Thanks from all my heart

  40. rachael says:

    The moment I saw the leading photo I knew it was an Australian property. One can tell from the light! Lovely, lovely, lovely! I live in nearby Murwillumbah and it is, indeed, a wonderful part of the world!

  41. Sheetal says:

    JEALOUS!! =)

  42. April says:

    Love that outdoor tub area!!!

  43. It’s amazing! I love the color palette and the place, it seems like a paradise. I love it.

  44. Eileen 2 says:

    Liking that framed lettering graphic above the wooden stairs

  45. Ah that bathtub…sigh.

  46. arnela says:

    love it, all!


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.