A Collector at Home in Australia

No matter where she might be traveling to, photographer and prop stylist Kara Rosenlund is guaranteed to find something to bring back home. She is usually traveling in her caravan, Frankie, and her last trip was rather isolating in a remote desert, but yet she managed to find sun-bleached animal bones to bring home with her – a small reminder of the stark desert. Kara knows that while those types of souvenirs might not be everyone’s cup of tea, she personally finds a lot of inspiration in nature. “Mother Nature is absolutely the best designer, decorator and stylist,” Kara says. Kara and her husband, Tim, settled in this Queensland, Australia cottage in 2010 after a short stint living away from Australia in London. And when they came back to the continent, they knew they wanted an un-renovated little cottage that they could make their own. They used lots and lots of white so that Kara’s treasures can take center stage without feeling cluttered or crowded. -Amy

Photography by Kara Rosenlund

Image above: “Being an old 1890s weatherboard cottage, I wanted to stay true to the way of life and the authenticity of the original home; both through small sensitive renovations and also with decorating the house,” Kara says. “This style of ‘workers cottage’ was very popular in Queensland around the turn of the 20th century and still proves today to be such clever design in terms of energy efficiency. There is one main hallway with three bedrooms running off the thoroughfare to catch the cool breezes, high ceilings for the hot air to rise (it gets very hot in Queensland) and generous verandas on both the front and the back of the house for outdoor living – we never close our windows and have our doors open all year round. (The horse print is available on my site.)

Image above: “My favorite thing to cook is traditional, slow-cooked dishes with European influences, like osso buco with polenta or a cassoulet; hearty home dishes. My favourite thing to do is to start a slow dish in the late afternoon, open a bottle of wine and watch the afternoon light turn into the evening with friends in the kitchen.”


See more of this Australian home after the jump!


Image above: “I love how when you open the front door you can see straight through to the back door, there is something very old fashion about this vista. Plus I love the light bouncing about off the floors and walls. One of the first things we did was to sand and paint the floor boards white, the dynamic of the entire house just in terms of the amount of light we had – it became very uplifting.”

Image above: “We love to entertain and really love Christmas, we go all out for a cracker of a Christmas Day. We usually have family over for a big long lunch and get the backyard wood-fired oven cranking early on in the day to use instead of a conventional oven. Christmas in Australia is always a very hot day, so all entertaining is done outdoors on the cool deck or in the backyard barefoot under a tree. Come the evening we will light an outdoor fire and play lots of music!”


Image above: “Apart from the kitchen, this would have to be our favourite room in the house. We added this room onto the kitchen so that we would have a dining space and also a room to muck about in and play records and basically relax. It’s a very casual room that promotes relaxing and reading on the banquette seating amongst the old buttery tan cushions or watching the fire.”


Image above: “The mantle is just an old piece of wood; I wanted something basic and traditional to display just a few favourite objects. The portrait was just recently found for a cool five bucks!”


Image above: “An old orchard ladder now lives inside in amongst some oil paintings found at a antique fair and an old glass demijohn turned into a lamp.”


Image above: An old pulley system hangs off the kitchen shelves in amongst the stacks of mismatched plates, bowls and collected wire bits – all surprisingly serving a practical purpose.”


Image above: “Our flock of pekin bantam chickens – Bettina, Nigella and Trixie. Our girls come up the back stairs to say hello a few times a day, it’s all open plan so they just walk on through and will cackle out to let me know they are upstairs, I’m sure they are actually just cackling out for a treat.”


 Image above: “These salvaged old arched windows are actually from a local salvage shop; I saw them a few months back and thought they might work somewhere in the house though never thought the bedroom. In actual fact I actually tried them in every room, trashing and disorganizing the entire house as I went, until they finally worked in the last room as the headboard!”


Image above: “The bathroom is a very functional yet traditional space; it has a wet room and also an old cast iron claw foot bath which we found and had resurfaced. Nothing beats filling that old girl up on a winter night and just sitting in and watching the stars out the window from behind the shutters.”

Image above: “Our collection of cook books, art books, reference books, piled high on an old gardeners bench. Above it, another photograph of mine from a recent trip out into the outback; I just love the rich colour palette of the Australian landscape, this is what I craved the most while living abroad. ”


Image above: “This hatrack is really practical as I madly dash in and out of the house daily. A handy spot to pile up summer hats and bags… and also I love it when my eye catches this old photograph of my mother when she was a girl, taken in her fathers veggie patch not far from where we live today.”


Incredible pictures! The decor so perfectly mirrors the Australian landscapes she talks about loving in the last photo.


Simply adore the mash-up of creamy whites and vintage collectibles. Totally my style and one of my favorite house tours. Thanks!


Wow! THIS is how you do an all-neutral space. Just lovely.

Ms. Weatherbee

Wow this is gorgeous! The neutral, natural color palette is soooo pretty! I would love to have a kitchen filled with adorably perfect vintage stuff. Unfortunately, when you open my cabinets you’ll find a random hodge-podge of mismatched dinnerware and a bunch of weird plastic stuff.


This doesn’t even look real! It’s like the whole world this house lives in was dipped in Sepia. SO lovely :)


Very nice, although I think it could benefit from a little editing.


Holy shit. The browns and whites are to die for! It’s rustic, its modern, perfect!


Just so, so beautiful!! I love her sense of style. I feel relaxed just LOOKING at pics of her home, it would be such a haven.


I agree with Kiki who said it looks like the home “was dipped in Sepia.” But I don’t care for it. Gimme colors. To each his own. I do love the bathroom, though. Are chickens messy indoors?


Although overall I like this Aussie home I can’t help but be distracted by the over use of photoshop. One thing I love about Sneek Peaks on Design Sponge is you are looking into real homes this one seem a little staged.


So bloody gorgeous!! Her space is inspirational. So stylish, but a real home.


Love the cottage and style. Where in qld are you located?

Rita Marie

Beautiful photography and home!!! Wow! I have a ton of color in my home, but I would totally love to completely redo and go to this pallette. It is serene and cozy at the same time.


It’s the color scheme that makes this work, something anyone could do with a similar simple color scheme. Nothing looks out of place or inappropriate because there is no odd color to distract. I like what they’ve done but I couldn’t live with the total absence of color.


This could fill up a whole book! I would so greatly appreciate a source for that striped linen throw on the sofa.


the chickens are adorbs….and love that marble mortar & pestal (?)


Absolutely beautiful! Can you share where your bedding is from??


fallen down the rabbit hole such is the utter gorgeousness of your light and love infused home. thank you for sharing the beauty and the ‘girls’!!!


These small sneak peeks into others homes are my favorite posts on this blog. Although everything really is wonderful. Looking into how others live in and decorate the spaces is very inspiring and such a beautiful break in the day. This house is just gorgeous. The muted palate throughout is serene and calms your mind. I can imagine living in it produces the same feeling, hence the calming void of bright colors. One of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.

Patricia Stanich

I am totally in love with every aspect of this home. beautiful job


I love everything about your home, especially your hens! Hen Envy!


Looks cluttered, but cleared out it would be beautiful!

judith hall

This house is the house I want!! It is so comforting, inviting and just feel soothing. I love every square inch of this neutral haven!
p.s. I do wish you would remove those antlers that everyone had been so taken by. I was talking to my friend who is a designer for a regional living magazine and she assured me just recently that the antlers or skulls with antlers are on the “out” list for trends.


Wow what an amazing place. The chickens are great, so is all of your stuff. I am a sucker for color and pattern, but I see that I’d would not work here. I really like your collection of different whites, black, and neutrals.


What a beautiful home! Not my style but I can really appreciate what a lovely, calm home this is. Yay you!


Isn’t the caramel brown so warm and inviting? Whenever I see this colour it just makes me feel grounded in lusciousness!

Anna S

I would like to know where I kan find that picture with the two horses? I’ts beautiful!!!

The Girl

Amazing pictures. Great inspirational blog. I have used two of the pictures here in my last post. I linked back to your blog.