A Margaret River Retreat

February 24, 2014
A Margaret River Retreat

Margaret River is known the world around for its iconic wineries and beautiful regional landscapes. For figurative oil painter Rachel and her partner, Chris, a lawyer, it is set to become a peaceful haven from their busy lives in Fremantle, some three hours’ drive away.

About six years ago Rachel and Chris discovered a five-acre Margaret River property for sale. Bordered by a national park and with a little creek that splits through it in winter, the land was peaceful and stunning – a perfect location for the two from which they could work and play.

Margaret River Retreat Home

Image above of the beautiful bush-land surrounds of Rachel and Chris's retreat

Having renovated their Fremantle property, the couple realised they wanted to do things differently with Margaret River. During their first renovation, they had tried too much to be involved in the process and were reluctant to hand the reins completely over to their team. With Margaret River however, they were prepared to learn from their previous experience and thus appointed an interior designer, Christian Lyon Design, whose work really resonated with them. Rachel and Chris worked together on a brief, capturing information about the type of people they were, the lifestyle they led, what was important to them about their surrounds. They then compiled photographs of some of the objects that would belong in their new home and personal effects that were valuable to them, in an effort to give Christian a very keen insight into the people they were, and the home they were looking to create. They then left themselves completely in Christian’s hands. Intriguingly, Margaret River was designed from the inside out.

Margaret River Retreat Reading Room

Image above of the cosy fireplace and stunning stone work

It was Christian and his interior design work that informed how the floor plan would ultimately be shaped. Rachel and Chris had over the years collected some incredible pieces, each very individual and requiring careful thought about how it would form part of their space. Christian was able to create a context for these pieces and showcase them beautifully and in ways the two would never have otherwise considered. One such example was the unique light tracking that Christian discovered whilst overseas. He returned to West Australia incredibly excited about using the system to showcase Rachel and Chris’s hanging artwork.

Margaret River Retreat Hallway

Image above of the incredible track lighting system that was sourced to perfectly display one of Rachel's original artworks

The house was also to include a home office for the couple, but located at opposite ends of the building. Additional considerations such as storage of Chris’s windsurfers also formed part of the brief. Once there was a clear vision for the interior, Christian then helped the couple select an architect. Rachel, Chris and Christian were all impressed with the work of Penny Watson from Walter Hunter and Penny Watson Architects. Her use of raw materials and a more traditional approach to design particularly resonated with Rachel and Chris. From an external perspective, the couple was keen to have the home assume the characteristics and qualities of its bush surrounds. The result (some two years in the making); a U-shaped two-level, three-bedroom home with subliminal ‘wings’ that enable it to be separated off and lived in sections whenever required (for example – guests can assume a somewhat removed presence).

Loungeroom with fireplace

Image above is another cosy room with one of the beautiful fireplaces

Margaret River Retreat Kitchen

Image above of the stunning kitchen fitted with Miele appliances and a view to inspire

Some stand-out features are the Halo lighting, the Jetmaster fireplace lounge, Chimenee fireplaces in the bedroom and study, Havwoods Europlan and Miele appliances. Rachel and Chris are yet to move into Margaret River. It’s in its final stages of completion and for now, it will be their ongoing home away from home until they eventually move permanently to their bush oasis.

Romantic Bedroom Setting

Image above of the bedroom with its rich colour palette and layered textures

Rachel’s Tips for Building:

  • Select professionals in whom you have total confidence and trust, and whose work genuinely appeals – this way you can leave yourself entirely in their capable hands. For example, our builder would send us photos from his day’s work so that we were across updates, but it was more a natural curiosity and courtesy versus a necessity

  • Spending money can save money. Our interior designer charged by the hour, and his knowledge and expertise saved us so much in terms of knowing the best products at the best value, where to find what, etc

  • You can make changes as you go, but only if everyone speaks to each other and all team members are on the same page

  • Stick to your brief. I was amazed when two years later our architect was still pulling out of her pocket the original brief Chris and I had prepared

Margaret River Retreat Bathroom

Image above of the elegant bathroom with stunning marble features

Margaret River Retreat Bath

Image above of a beautiful freestanding bath to relax in and enjoy the amazing vista

Marble Bathroom

Image above of the symetrical design of the bathroom creates a harmonious space

The Team at House of Home would like to thank Rachel and Chris for allowing us to step inside their beautiful retreat and share it with our readers