During the week, you’ll find Antony Elliott and Paula Kilpatrick in Melbourne, Australia. But on the weekends, they head to this house on a little 20-acre farm 5km from Heathcote in central Victoria with Nelson, a big standard poodle, and Suzi and Lennie, their miniature dachshunds. At the farm, they join Jess the miniature goat and her two kids, Ruffy and Rolly; alpacas George and Dash; and Roger the ram and his harem of eight ewes and two lambs, Holly and Flash. The house’s decorating style is almost autobiographical and nostalgic. When decorating, Paula found herself channeling her grandparents’ house in a small country town called Woodspoint. Her nan always had a cup of tea and something delicious in the oven. Even though she was in a small country town, she always wore lovely dresses and had a beautiful tablecloth on the table. Paula wanted her own country house to feel like a holiday escape — cozy and welcoming. She’s surrounded herself with her favorite relaxing color — blue — and fresh citrus scents. Nearly all the furniture came from family, which immediately made the cottage feel like home. Thanks, Paula and Antony! And thanks to Tara Pearce for the lovely photographs. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: I love the sitting room, as it opens to a veranda that looks down at Wild Duck Creek and the most magnificent river red gum. The sheep are quite often poking about in front of the house. The gorgeous red velvet sofa was Antony’s parents, the Australian nostalgic-themed cushions are from Bonnie and Neil and the artwork is a photograph of a diorama by local artist Katherine May McCool. I have a small dachsie obsession. We spend hours reading here . . . and there is no TV/Internet, which makes life very peaceful.
Image above: This is my bedside table. The metal chair came from an old ice cream parlor sourced through Kabinett. The cage light is from Merci in Paris. Merci really is the most beautiful place. I recently met with two gorgeous girlfriends from Ireland in Merci in Paris for breakfast; it was the modern-day equivalent of Breakfast at Tiffany’s . . . we left at about 4 in the afternoon quite laden with purchases. Mine included this cage light and the most beautiful treasure — a beautiful appliquéd and embroidered dog rug, which is far too beautiful for the doggies’ dirty paws to touch. The rest of the little items are from Prunella in Kyneton, the most fabulous country florist!!! The floral curtain was left by the previous owners. I tried to keep many of their authentic touches. Monnie and Bill were the most darling 80-year-old couple. It was very sad to see them move away from the land.
See more inside Paula’s home after the jump . . .
Image above: The living space is an open plan, which means we can heat the space through the plentiful fallen wood supply on the land. The patchwork rugs I brought back from a recent trip to Turkey. I bought them at the Grand Bazaar. There is a lot of searching involved at that place, but Dhoku is amazing. These rugs are made of pieces of damaged kilim. The colour schemes are mind blowing. The whole house is so lovely and cosy in winter and has excellent cross ventilation in summer. Ant and I made the bookshelf. The ladders are Mexican and came from Market Import in Melbourne. The shelves were all whitewashed except for one, which is painted in Dulux “Sunny Days.” It is the best yellow. The bookshelves are now groaning and are at the one-book-in/one-book-out stage of existence.
Image above: My grandparents all lived in country Victoria. This clock was my Nan’s. I am such a sentimental sausage. It is a beautiful old deco clock; however, it ticks so loudly and chimes every hour, so I’ve never wound it. The five little Chinese boys were a hilarious cheeky present from some 80-year-old friends returning from China.
Image above: I have a total thing for hand embroidery. These D’oyley holders are from a fabulous little shop in Elmore Vic. My mum and nan were women of the needle and did many lovely works. This bookshelf is made from old car ramps and a slate shelf. Montreux in Melbourne often has ingenious pieces of furniture.
Image above: Gran and Pop had a pet cocky whose special treats were peanuts. This cabinet will always be known in my family as the peanut cabinet. It was such a special treat to feed the cantankerous old cockatoo. He came to a rather sticky end when he bit Pop’s finger, almost taking it off. The original artworks are by a fabulous Melbourne artist named Dawn Tan. Her illustrated recipes can be purchased here, and her blog is pretty cute, as well.
Image above: I bought the campaign chair as a birthday present for Antony in 2011 as a reminder of his father. Antony has a beautiful picture of his dad from WWII in his army uniform. I thought maybe this would be a good place where he could read books and think about his dad. The map was an anniversary present from Antony showing how Heathcote is at the heart of Victoria. The cushion is from another clever Melbourne lady, Shannon Lamden. They are available here.
Image above: The table was Antony’s family dining table when he was growing up. It has been privy to many of the important events in his life. I am a total sucker for these vintage Australian tablecloths. This one is birds of Australia. Cottage Industry in Melbourne makes beautiful cushions out of vintage tea towels and tablecloths. I have quite a collection.
Image above: I love that I have the time to cook when I am up here. We attend all the local farmers’ markets and enjoy the fabulous local produce and wine. Heathcote is world famous for its shiraz. We drink loads of cups of tea and take the three dogs on meandering walks down country lanes.
Image above: About the first thing we did when we got the house was demo the kitchen. This is my preferred approach to home renovation, as then you have to replace it. The main bench I coincidentally bought through Tara, the photographer for this peek. That was how we met. She had an awesome shop called the Vintage Yard Sale in Kyneton, which also sold on eBay. I bought three enormous pieces from Tara. The other is the amazing big red dovecote sitting on the back deck. The other bench with the sink and the kitchen stools came from a tech school in Bendigo that was selling furniture. The stools have seen many a tech school and bear the inscriptions of many a sheet metal student. The bench was at a motorcycle chop shop in Bendigo. It was quite an experience picking it up.
Image above: The lab sink came from a recycled building materials yard as did all the French doors. The small bits and pieces are from both of my grandmothers. My brother made me the chopping board when he was still at school.
Image above: This is Antony’s bedside table. The gold light sconce is French and came from amazing Izzi & Popo in Melbourne. Love love this shop. The wallpaper was designed by Catherine Martin — super amazing set/costume designer for Moulin Rouge. Her rugs and wallpapers are spectacular. [They are] available online through Porter’s Paints in Sydney. I love it, as our house is surrounded by cockatoos, and they wheel and screech around the house at all hours of the day. I learned to tell the time on this Woody Woodpecker clock. It was a present from my mum and dad when I was about five.
Image above: The cowhide is from Argentina, and the little silk pouf is from India. It is perfect for getting my gumboots on and off. I bought the dress in New York, and it is so well traveled. It has been on all our lovely holidays. The beautiful pale green hand-embroidered curtain was a memento of Hanoi in Vietnam.
Image above: Ikea and Country Road bed linen with a vintage white crocheted blanket and a beautiful rag doll made by a very clever friend who lives in Canada. I bought her to sell, but her gorgeous house-shaped eyes kept winking at me. They are called Little Ladies.
Image above: The wardrobe is another handy piece left by the original owners. I found the most divine blue metal cupboard from India, and I was going to replace it and then realized it weighed close to a ton and wouldn’t fit through the front door. Eeekkkk, poor Antony would have killed me.
Image above: The bed and bunk were left by the previous owners. The bed was made in 1915. As with many [pieces of] WWI furniture, it is the kind you can pull apart and store in the shed or take with you. It has also had legs added to make it taller.
Image above: I love my bathroom. It was a little experiment, but it works well. We replaced all fixtures with water-efficient fittings, as we only have tank water. The chair came from my gran’s bedroom, and the mirror is an original house fixture. I love the linoleum; it just feels like the right floor material for a house of this age. The ship thermometer on the door is actually an old bronze souvenir of Brampton Island.
Image above: There are a few more nods to the nautical. Besides my collection of hammam towels brought back from Turkey and these Nepalese cowbells, the bathroom is pretty much all eBay finds. The mirrors, the sink, the desk and the sink hardware are all from eBay and were outrageously cheap. The basin vessel was $20. There is a mug on top of the medicine cabinet with our toothbrushes in it that says “hello sailor.” We are both keen sailors in our city life.
Image above: Every farm needs a wet room, and ours gets a workout during winter. The farm is very dry in summer and very muddy in winter.
Image above: We just had this deck built. And we have been enjoying sitting outside surveying the pastoral splendor that is actually our neighbor’s property. He has racehorses, and currently a beautiful gangly foal is distracting me from my reading. We have painted the outside but have proceeded carefully. We wanted to keep some of the old peeling paint and feeling of time passing. (This little dog is Lennie. He is a very gifted little dog. Prior to living with Antony, I had one little dachsie, Suzi, and I was worried that when I went to work she was lonely, so I got a little friend for her.)