It may be grand in scale, but by cleverly combining family heritage and heirlooms with designer buys and country comforts this family have created an ambient space that feels like home.
Words and styling Laura Mappas / Photography Kirsty Burns
Olivia Just, former retail marketing executive and passionate home decorator, her husband Alistair, their two daughters Charlotte, nine, and Sophie, seven, and their six-month-old Cavoodle, Tilly.
It’s impossible to miss; standing tall on a quiet street in one of Adelaide’s leafy inner city suburbs, this home’s grand scale is instantly impressive. For homeowners Olivia and Alistair, it’s a far cry from the farmhouse at Sellicks Hill where the couple used to live, and where they still spend their summers. “We moved into this home six months ago to be closer to the girls’ school, and we certainly achieved that,” laughs Olivia – they can now see the school gates from the outdoor deck and hear the bell ring every morning! “Alistair continues to manage the family farm so he commutes between the two properties during school term, and we stay there during school holidays and whenever we have a free weekend.”
The two-storey colonial home was built in the 70’s and then extended in the late 90’s. More recently, the bathrooms and spacious kitchen, with its picturesque garden views, have had a facelift. “The kitchen was updated by the previous owners,” says Olivia, “and fortunately they had great taste!” Caesarstone benchtops, Smeg cooking appliances and 2-pack cabinetry give the space a light, modern feel, while the large island bench is perfect for family living.
This open-plan space, which lies adjacent to two formal living areas, looks onto the dining room with its large polished dark timber table (purchased from One Rundle) and functional floor-to-ceiling black cabinetry, which nestles neatly against a modern mantle. “The cabinets were custom made by Mr Bookcase and they’re a great place to display all of the crystal and vintage silver that I have been collecting over the years. They’ve been stored away in cupboards at the farm so it’s good to be able to see and admire them every day!”
The minimalist kitchen wasn’t the only welcomed addition credited to the previous owners – they also left behind a well-established garden, which can be admired through the large sliding doors that lead from the dining area to the outdoor deck. The immaculate grounds are lined with perfectly pruned box hedging, urns and Manchurian pear trees. Sandstone steps lead to a small raised space on one side, while a large charcoal wall, flanked by lush hedging, makes a contemporary backdrop for the sparkling pool.
The classic black and white colour palette from inside the home is continued outside with the addition of scatter cushions that echo the theme. “We also recently installed some fabulous new black and white striped awnings on the upstairs windows, which enhance the façade and provide protection from the afternoon sun.”
In a nod to the past this home is scattered with family memories and heirlooms, which fit perfectly with the old-worldly yet contemporary style that Olivia has masterfully achieved. In daughter Sophie’s bedroom there is an antique tapestry footstool that also belonged to Alistair’s grandmother while on the walls you will see paintings featuring landscapes of the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula, including one of Myponga Beach, which is home to the family beach house. “We also commissioned a local artist to complete a series of paintings featuring vistas from our family farm and these pieces feature throughout.”
“I love ‘antiquing’ and mixing old with new,” says Olivia, who draws her inspiration from pinterest, style blogs and magazines. “I often move furniture around to refresh a room and try different looks – it’s not unusual for Alistair to come home and find the house completely changed around!”
But while she clearly isn’t afraid to experiment with different styles Olivia’s penchant for country comforts is unmissable, even in this new more contemporary space. Large inviting armchairs and cosy nooks, together with rustic timber outdoor furniture and welcoming rattan successfully blurs the line between the two, and the result is a sophisticated, elegant space that manages to retain the warmth and ambience of home.