Real Home: Country Living in the Adelaide Hills

A carefully considered mix of eclectic curiosities and and country style has breathed new life into this 1960s home.

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Photography: Kirsty Burns

Tucked part-way up an unsealed road on the outskirts of Mylor in the Adelaide Hills is a little slice of paradise. A winding driveway manoeuvres its way past lush gardens overflowing with blooming English roses in every colour and a modest paddock that’s home to two sheep and a yard full of chooks; long green grass is periodically interrupted by the odd Claret Ash and Golden Elm tree, which provide great afternoon shade. This idyllic, country life is just what homeowners Ollie an Jo were looking for when, mid-way through 2015, they stumbled across this picture-perfect block and original 1960s solid brick ‘gem’.

“The house was untouched and had last been decorated in 1965, with axminster carpet, a 60s kitchen and and amazing pink terrazzo bathroom,” says Jo. But the couple, who had both grown up in semi-rural communities, were in no rush to redevelop. “We had been on the hunt to find the perfect Hills home and were looking for good bones and an established garden,” ads Ollie. “This  house in our eyes was absolutely perfect.”

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The couple, who at the time were about to get married, lived in the original home for almost three years before embarking on the refurb. “I started planning the renovations when i was on maternity leave – it was something to keep me busy!”, says Jo. “Our aim was to update the kitchen and bathroom, open up the formal sitting room to create a main living area, and turn the fourth bedroom into a cosy study with a custom bookshelf.”

While Ollie and Jo did a lot of the work themselves – including carefully removing the retro kitchen and selling it on Gumtree – they did get advice from the experts when it came to colour selections and custom cabinetry. “Interior designer Caroline Karp from indigo West Designs was amazing, she instantly knew the look and feel we were trying to create. She helped select colours for the exterior eaves and facias, the kitchen cabinetry, custom floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in the study, and all of the tapware and bathroomware.”

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The overarching look and feel of this cosy home is modern simplicity mixed with a dash of drama, Some of the highlights of the perfectly crafted space include the country-style kitchen with views through the original matt lack steel windows to the rolling hills and the organic Jurlique arm next door, The hand-painted joinery in Dulux Spanish Olive, together with the brass cup handles (picked up at Stepney Salvage) and butler-style sink, add to the old English feel.

Leading on from the heart of the home is the new open-plan living space, which consists of a lounge area, complete with a Meranti timber Mantle on an open fire place and ad adjacent playroom for two-year-old Phoebe. Vintage Persian rugs fill the space, along with an inviting lounge from Provincial Home Living, two armchairs picked up on Gumtree and reupholstered, and a collection of knick-knacks collected on travels and from flea markets.

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The study is also full of vintage finds, including a rocking chair bought by Jo and her mum in Yorke Peninsula 11 years ago and an old factory cart that’s used as a coffee table. “It was an original factory cart and was repurposed by Joe from Fly Furniture”, says Jo. The towering custom-made cabinetry in the study was also part of Ollie and Jo’s original vision and makes this grown-up space the ideal “adult escape” where the couple can unwind. The shelves are filled with a mix of well-read books, antiques and pre-loved collectables.

On relection, there’s very little that Ollie and Jo would change. “We managed the whole project ourselves, which allowed us to pick and choose the trades we wanted to use,” says Jo. “It also gave us the flexibility to complete some of the projects on our own.” The end result is a family home that is a treasure trove of styles. Jo’s love of eclectic curiosities and French art mixed with the country farmhouse bones and the picturesque setting make this the dream they were searching for.

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