House By The Water – The Movie.

Every spare moment has been spent in the garden lately.  Planting, reticulation, lawn preparation, mulching and cobblestones, of course…  No time at all for blogging.  We’re on a mission.  Guests are coming for Christmas.

 Fortunately, the “House By The Water” videos, made by our builders, are ready.  You can enjoy a little chat in our kitchen and living room instead of reading a post.  There are two short videos.  Click on the pictures below to view.  I don’t think I’ll take up vlogging, but it was fun to do this once.



Aunty Kate’s House

Sunset over the city.

Sunset over the city.

Aunty Kate,  do not read any further!

My sister is the biggest sap I know.  If she reads nice things about her home – the first home she owned together with her partner, and their first family home – she’s going to cry.

As I’ve said before, Kate has great style.  She has an eye for beautiful old stuff and stylish new stuff, and a weakness for buying it.  She has the patience and talent to reupholster a chair, paint some art, sew a beautiful quilt and give new life to old furniture.  She is also brutally honest, so she keeps me on the straight and narrow with my styling ideas for House By The Water.

Aunty Kate’s apartment in Breakfast Point, in Sydney, is on the market, so it’s a good excuse for us to take a sticky beak.



The perfect place for wine and cheese!   Adirondack chairs from Ocean Country Furniture.   Pots from Bunnings.

Living area

Rug from Pottery Barn.

Rug and cushions from Pottery Barn.  Moroccan leather pouffe from Table Tonic.  DIY reupholstered arm chair and paintings by Kate.  Framed photos by her partner.

Aunty Kate said "If she saw another real estate picture of limes or lemons, she'd scream."  So she go pomegranates instead.

Shutter love.

Aunty Kate said “If I see another real estate picture of limes or lemons, I’ll scream.” So she bought pomegranates instead.  Since working for Sydney Markets (and being a judge of “miscellaneous vegetables” at the Royal Sydney Show!), my sister knows her pomegranates from her persimmons!  There is always a bunch of fresh and fancy flowers in her home.

The shutters throughout this apartment are partly responsible for convincing me we need shutters in our new home.  They look so good, the light control is great and they are tough!  Note the sliding shutters.

Breakfast Point living area.

Entertainment unit made from Tasmanian blackwood, by Oz Design.  Wall paint is Dulux Sisal (but be warned Real Estate photography has a tendency to oversaturate the colours.) And the flower-in-vase  painting is by my mother-in-law.

Custom cabinetry.

Custom cabinetry.

My nieces’ room.

Photos exclusive to HBTW!  And by my special request.  I love this room.  It always looks gorgeous and has morphed over time; originally a guest room, then home to one little girl, then two!  It’s a showroom of many of Aunty Kate’s talents.

Girls room.

Room for two little rabbits. Painting by Kate.  Wall colour Taubmans Blue Waltz.

Ahh…  I’m getting sentimental now.  That cot is up to baby number 5!  My 3 kids slept, sang and cried in there, then Aunty Kate’s two little girls.

Toddler bed.

Hello Charlotte! Bunting, mobile and quilt all handmade by Kate.

Community space

Old fashioned cricket field - the scene of my son's first birthday.

Old fashioned cricket field and pavillion- the scene of my son’s first birthday, hosted by Aunty Kate.

Fancy a pied-a-terre in Sydney, or a few more angles of Aunty Kate’s home?  Pop over to to see more.


Farmhouse tour.


Photo by Matt Rex.

Photo by Matt Rex.

Come and have a sticky beak at my Mum and Dad’s farm house in frosty North-East Victoria.  They started with a 2 bedroom shack beside a small walnut grove and a few paddocks for cows.

Ten years ago, with the help of local builder, Rob Boland, they extended the living areas and bathroom and added a bedroom, to create an interesting, light and open, modern home.  The house features 3 separate roofs and exterior wall cladding in Colorbond “ironstone” corrugated iron.

3 Roofs

Front Entrance.

Front Entrance.

Deck for cuppas.

Deck for cuppas.

Should you drop by, you can be sure of a cup of tea and some home baked goodies on the deck, followed by a garden tour.


Tasmanian Oak Kitchen Island and Alpine Ash floors salvaged from bush fires.

“Tasmanian Oak” kitchen bench tops and Alpine Ash floors salvaged from bush fires.

When I’m visiting, I often take over Mum’s kitchen while she takes over supervision of the 3 little pigs.  This kitchen has been the hub for years of entertaining a large extended family and has served as my benchmark for sizing up the kitchen in House By The Water.  You might remember that this is my “gold standard” for kitchen bench size.

Living area:

An atrium above the kitchen keeps the living area light at any time of day.

An atrium above the kitchen keeps the living area light at any time of day.

Dining room:

My Dad made the dining table when Mum was pregnant with me.  That’s an estimated 14600 family dinners!  When the clouds lift, Mount Feathertop is at the centre of the dining room view.

Master bedroom:

The pitched ceiling is lined with corrugated iron which gives a nice sense of space and a farm house touch.  The bed is centred in the room so you can check on the cows in the morning without getting out of bed.


Bath with a view, if the neighbours aren't home.

Bath with a view, if the neighbours aren’t home.


The laundry was originally a small shed, a couple of metres away from the back door of the house.  It doubles as the farm control centre, also housing the electric fence unit, chook pellets and an impressive gumboot collection.

Mum's ergonomically designed laundry trolly.  She pushes the wet laundry up the nearby hill to the old Hill's Hoist.

Mum’s ergonomically designed laundry trolly. She pushes the wet laundry up the nearby hill to the old Hill’s Hoist.

Right now the wood fire is roaring in the living room and the house is busy with grandchildren.  Toys and games are everywhere.  The kids will be outside soon to help with some farm jobs.  Dad is “up the back” renovating his tractor shed.  Mum is in the shower, but I think I’ll have another cuppa and wait for the bathroom to warm up another degree or two.

Header photo and photos in the last gallery are thanks to Matt Rex Photo.