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: 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.