We spent yesterday in the Countryside, around an hour and a half's drive from Adelaide visiting our friends A & A on their farm. The farm has been in A's family since they took up the lease on the land over 140 years ago. While it's not common these days to find a house built by and still inhabited by the original family in the city, in the Country there are still properties that are owned by the same family, with the house and farm passing down through the generations. 



We had a long, lazy lunch with a group of our friends and a large number of children, eventually returning home to the city late in the evening. 





The house itself is late Victorian, my guess would be around somewhere between 1880 - 1900 based on the Architectural details (I forgot to ask exactly how old it is). Peeking inside homes that have had continuous family ownership is a very interesting thing - to see an old house preserved in a specific time period, as the National Trust tend to do, can be a slightly soul-less experience. Here there are layers of family decoration and memorabilia, overlaid with modern living. Many of the rooms have been left untouched, just as the generations past used them, but in the back A & A have recently completed a renovation that joined the old servants wing to the main house. This has brought inside the beautiful old exterior sandstone walls, and by leaving some of the original features in place, there's a strong sense of the old and new and they've created a beautiful new light filled, modern family living area.



back door and farm dog

In the old part of the house the room that fascinates me the most is an upstairs bedroom, which is a print room. It's covered in prints - this was something Ladies used to do to keep themselves occupied. They'd cut out pictures from magazines and arrange them on walls. This room is completely covered in illustrations and photographic reproductions from Illustrated newspapers of the time. There are a lot of pictures of Queen Alexandra and King Edward, along with Victorian/ Edwardian era beauties, etchings of cats dressed up in bonnets, race horses, scenic landscapes… it's a very quirky little room. A & A use it as a guest bedroom now. 




The house also has a Billiard room, filled with Taxidermy, such as this giant deer… there are some squirrels on another wall, a fish… 



Mixed in amongst the family photographs there are a few signed photos of the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor after he abdicated the throne for Wallis Simpson) from his 1920 trip to Australia, the Duke of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth. Some members of the Royal Family visited during their tours of Australia.



The front hall is particularly beautiful with a triple arched entry. A put a colourful rug down, and has done this throughout the house - some rooms are left as they've always been, other spaces have modern Art and bright furnishings reflecting the young family that now live there. 




Outside there are numerous outbuildings - old farms were like little villages 100 years ago. This is the smokehouse, which is a tiny little building near the back of the house. A has done this up for their Children to use as a Cubby house. I don't know if you can see the scale, but there's a garden bench next to it which shows you it's tiny - it makes the perfect little house for the children with a window and chimney as well.


It was a lovely day.

It's school holidays here, and we spent the first week skiing at Falls Creek in the Victorian Alps. This was a slightly spontaneous trip, we only booked in after seeing the snow report on television the week before. It's been absolutely dumping snow, and we had probably the best skiing I can ever remember (particularly given it's so early in the season).



This was the first time we've been skiing where all three of the children were old enough to go to ski school… which meant that for the first time in 9 years I was able to ski as well, without having to juggle baby/ toddler duties. The children all loved skiing. 4 year old S has no fear (as they tend not to at that age), and behaved as if skis were a natural thing to be on. Aside from the 12.5 hour car ride to the snow from Adelaide (and the fact that the in-car DVD player became jammed with Tinkerbelle in it, which nearly lead to a riot from the boys), it was a fantastic family holiday.



We arrived back home to find that the rain had finally cleared just enough for them to lay the lawn down. I can't even begin to describe what a relief it is to see greenery out of the windows, rather than mud and dirt. Next up are plants...




And just in the nick of time for School Holidays, which will continue for another (busy) week….

30 comments:

  1. what an amazing house! I did the same thing in an old bathroom many years ago - just started decoupaging pages from old victorian children's books on the wall! It was so cool, as is the one you show here!

    we are in the throes of summer here, so you can keep the snow as long as you like! I prefer not to see it again until December 24th!

    Love the grass!

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    1. So funny Wendy - I think you had such a late season with the snow that you've practically crossed over with our snow season! It doesn't last nearly as long here - if there's snow for more than 3 months it's a bit of a miracle…
      Have you posted pictures of your bathroom? Sounds so interesting! Love that you created your own wallpaper!! xx

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  2. I adore that print room!! It looks like the house should be in the world of interiors! There is something so romantic about a farm but then I can barely tend my window box. But the skiing looks great! Kids just naturally love snow and are so good in it. Glad you all skiied and hope you had a family race? That is one of my best childhood memories. Garden is catching up with the house now and really taking shape! Garden party soon? Xx

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    1. It is a bit World of Interiors N! I was telling A she should get the house featured in Australian Country Style magazine or something… but an international one like WofI would be perfect too.
      They all took to it, but not good enough to do a race - they enjoyed skiing with us down the home trail at the end of ski school though. Next time we go they'll get good enough to do racing I'm sure!
      Still a long way to go with the garden… am hopeful I could do something for my 40th - 6 months to go, so enough time I'm sure to finish it (still waiting for the pool to be approved by council. Has taken FOREVER). xx

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    2. Love the print room too! It's living history - if I were a guest in that room I think I'd be up all night studying the pictures! The house should be just perfect for WOI. Agree about houses that have been brought to one correct period. They can be soulless and look like museums. It's not how real families lived.
      The skiing looked fabulous. Have never been a skier and too late to start now. But when our son was going for the first time on a school ski trip he asked which option he should do: the lessons, cross country or downhill racing? Of course I said the first but he was very doubtful. When he returned I asked what he'd done and if he'd enjoyed it. He said in the morning he'd done the lessons, in the afternoon the downhill racing! He'd loved it.
      So glad the grass is down at last. It's going to look fabulous. Where does the swimming pool go? In the patch of dirt, or is that a garden bed? Happy holidays at home this week! Pammie xxx

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    3. I kept trying to sneak back in there to have a look Pammie! It's quite a fascinating little room.
      Kids have absolutely no fear with skiing - they will all overtake my abilities fairly quickly I'm sure. I think I'll have to have some lessons when I next go as it's been years, and with all the gaps in skiing (I manage to go around every 4 years) I don't see a lot of improvement… I'm sure I ski the same way as when I was 21.
      The pool is going in where the trampoline is at the moment. We're still waiting for the Council to approve it - it spent 6 weeks in planning which was bizarre given that no one can see it from the street, and the pump is against a wall with a street, rather than a neighbour…. such is local government red tape though! xx

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    4. Good luck with the pool approval! Hope it doesn't take too much longer. The family will love it next summer! Yes, kids pick things up so quickly. Languages too. And yes, if you want to keep up with them as they get older, some ski lessons sound like a good idea. Pammie xx

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  3. that lawn looks so good! dry as hell here.

    Those prints on the walls scare me ! x

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    Replies
    1. We were supposed to have a dry Winter but it's been bucketing down, not sure how they get it so wrong!
      You'd be asking for one of the other guest rooms then! I think some people do find it quite spooky… xx

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  4. Gosh I am loving the bedroom of that house you visited. What a lovely day out.
    Your backyard is huuuge! its a footie field, your kids are so lucky. We thought we had a big backyard (by californian standards, yards are tiny here, well in the Bay area anyway where its hilly and pricey) but yours is in anther league.

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    1. in my part of Sydney large lawns are not very common either , and it's also hilly and pricey.

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    2. Such a beautiful home Jody, it was so nice to get out of the city. The lawn is the size of a tennis court (which is what it previously was), so not quite a footy field, but it's interesting how the landscape designer has divided it up, as it definitely makes it trick the eye to look a lot bigger. But still plenty of room to kick a footy for the kids. xx

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    3. Funnily enough about the tennis court. We stuck a tennis net on our lawn and it gets 1000 times more use. Its not the size of a tennis court, but just having that net creates a whole other space.

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  5. Gorgeous old farm house. Love the print room.

    Love the snow! We are heading to Falls Creek in early August and eagerly hoping the snow lasts… Looks like you had a great time. Ski school is the key with small ones I think.

    Take care Heidi.

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    Replies
    1. You'll get heaps of snow T - it's been dumping for the past week and a half, and they're forecasting more snow this week. There's currently 1.5 metres, so you'll have no problem - I can't see it melting away in that time! Hope all is well with you xx

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  6. I love a nice lawn , just lying on grass and smelling the earth really restores my equilibrium.

    That hall is exceptional , arches and Doric? columns and a fanlight over the front door , gorgeous.

    Envy you the skiing holiday, not that I'm much of a skier but love the snow, my son has never shown any enthusiasm for winter pursuits, hot days on a cricket ground are more his line

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we were tossing up whether to keep it as a tennis court or garden, the thought of synthetic grass against the house and the heat really dissuaded us… it's nice to have a bit of lawn.
      The hall is so pretty! The columns have Corinthian capitals, but I think they'd be classified as composite columns as they don't have a fluted shaft.
      I'm hopeful neither of my boys will be cricket players… I'm not great at sitting in the heat for hours on the side of a cricket game!! xx

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  7. 140 years inhabited by the same family? Wow, you never see that in the US any more. The print room looks fascinating.

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    1. It's becoming a lot rarer here too now GSL - many family farms have been sold off over the past 20 years as a younger generation either don't want to farm, or find it isn't as profitable as it has been in the past. xx

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  8. I am looking forward to the next installment - the garden.
    The back of the house is very elegant. I remember from a previous post that you said it faced west. I shall be interested in your choice of sun protection. Are your windows double glazed to help minimize heat intake for our summers? I have just bought a house with a westerly facing lounge room (with verandah) and master bedroom...something which I vowed I would never do as I can't tolerate heat. I am really looking forward to your future posts as I know Adelaide is really Hot!
    Thank you. Linda C.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Linda, it does face West, so there are a couple of things that I'm doing. Firstly we're having sun blinds installed along the edge of the veranda so we can bring them down in the afternoon and keep the sun off the West wall of the house and the windows. We did double glaze the windows, but I really think keeping the sun off the masonry is key as that radiates heat into the evening if it gets the sun fully on it. Longer term we are planting several deciduous trees near to the back of the house that will grow and give a lot more protection. At the moment the one big tree we have gives a lot of shade and protects the living area and outdoor dining space of the house well, so once the smaller trees have grown a bit over a few years they'll help too with the heat and sun protection. xx

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  9. Ski trip sounds fabulous. Love your friend's house. Could you imagine a print room created nowadays??? One direction? Kym Kardashian? Even the current royals. Not quite the same effect!

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    1. Laughing at the modern print room concept. I'm sure it would be hideous and likely full of 1D, or creepily obsessed fan-ish if it had the Duchess of Cambridge plastered all over it! xx

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  10. How incredible, the guest room is wonderful.
    We have family home up north but 'we' is a loose term it went to the heirs which always means male - I'm ok with that, it's over 200 years old but alas I will never live there.

    Snow - hanging head in shame, din't know that snow made it over your way.

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    1. Ahhh, laws of primogeniture have at least kept the old family homes intact in ways that haven't happened in Europe. A lot of farms have gone out of families in the past 30 years as they are now broken up amongst offspring, or lack of someone wanting to take over the really remote properties (we have friends that were so remote they did School of the Air, which was school via radio).
      You wouldn't travel from Europe for the Australian snow! The runs are very short - our mountains are just not high enough. No skiing for 1/2 - 1 hour on a run…. more like 5-10 minutes at best! xx

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  11. What an amazing house - the entrance way is stunning. I could spend all day in that room with the prints covering the wall, all those old bits of magazines would be endlessly fascinating. Yours is a glorious country!

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    1. It is a beautiful entry - so grand and unexpected on a farm Louise. Very pretty countryside at this time of year as it's so green and lush… summertime is a little drier and the heat (and flies!) !! xx

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  12. What an interesting house. I love it and the history.
    The garden is looking amazing... I'm catching up on your posts after being offline for a while and it all looks incredible. xx

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    1. It's so SLOW Charlotte. I'm really starting to despair that anything will happen with any speed here. Still waiting for the damn swimming pool approval from the council, and we've had plants arrive, but they've not been planted yet. It's been 4 years now, and I'm a bit over it to be honest!
      The trip into the country was a lovely break though! Hope everything is finally moving with your new place xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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