Zanui at Home with Michelle Bridges took us to the idyllic Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Teaming once again with Jackie Brown, our ever-amazing interior stylist, we styled three spaces for Michelle and her young family.
With the Australian countryside in the background, this was – without a doubt – the most unique filming experience to date.
You can watch the first installment of Zanui at home with Michelle Bridges right here:
If you see something you like, you can shop the look over on our website.
In the middle of nowhere
That’s not a cliché.
The property is about an hour-and-a-half’s drive south of Sydney or 20 minutes from Bowral. It’s completely isolated and extremely private – the perfect weekend escape.
For my part, this place is a writer’s dream. It’s so unbelievably peaceful. It’s the kind of place that would inspire great poetry, even if you weren’t into that sort of thing.
Sitting on a hilltop, the house overlooks an idyllic landscape of sweeping hills and trees in all shades of green. The grass is perhaps a bit drier than usual – even this paradise hasn’t been spared from the drought. Nevertheless, the view is breathtaking.
On the first day of shooting, an eerie fog rolled in over the hills. It was so thick it felt as if you could reach out and touch it. It ruined filming, yes, but it was also a truly ethereal experience.
All day long, you can hear cows mooing and roosters crowing in the distance (not so great when you’re trying to record audio). Bees buzz peacefully about the garden. Flocks of magpies and vibrant red rosellas hop about on the grass, side by side and in numbers you just don’t see in the city.
Breathe in that country air.
The home makeover
Michelle wanted the house to mirror the country landscape. There needed to be a nice flow between the outside and the inside of the house so you could move seamlessly from one area to the next.
Starting with the bedroom, Jackie opted for a warm colour palette of earthy pinks and subdued neutrals. This was right on par with Michelle’s brief.
The wall art provided a great starting point for the other colours used in the room. The peachy pink linen quilt cover and the terracotta-toned sheets perfectly complement the colours used in the abstract artworks.
These brighter tones were offset nicely with neutral colours in the rug and the European pillow cases.
The rattan lampshades, raw ceramic vases, and paulownia wood side tables all helped to bring a sense of ruggedness to the space. This allowed the bedroom to tie in beautifully with the adjoining outdoor dining area, accessible through a set of glass-pane doors.
The great outdoors
There was no overhead covering or means of protecting the furniture from the elements in the outdoor area. It was therefore essential that we chose furniture that could withstand all the weather extremes the Southern Highlands could throw at it.
For the dining area, Jackie opted for a gorgeous, handcrafted, teak wood table and matching benches.
Teak wood is an exceptional material for outdoor use, as it produces natural oils that make it resistant to water damage and rot. Teak is also resistant to termites and other common pests that can be a problem in outdoor areas.
Aside from being perfect for the country weather, the table and benches were also a perfect fit for the look Michelle wanted. The beautiful, one-of-a-kind grains and colouration of the wood really helped to bring the natural, earthy, countryside feel to the outdoor area that Michelle was looking for.
Jackie set a beautiful table with ceramic dinnerware and lovely linens. The gold-toned cutlery and cut-glass detailing on the tumblers add a touch of luxe to the table for that extra wow-factor. Can’t you just imagine enjoying Christmas lunch out here?
Sometimes there’s no need to spend a fortune on expensive floral bouquets when creating a dining table centrepiece. You can just take a look at what’s out in the backyard, in the front garden, or down the street. In this case, Jackie simply collected a bunch of cherry blossom branches from trees in the area.
In the lounge setting, Jackie opted for a sofa and matching armchairs made of acacia wood and UV-stabilised marine ropes. These materials are perfectly suited to an exposed setting like this, as they’re able to withstand rain, shine, wind and other elements.
The outdoor rug that anchors the lounge area also needed to be weather-ready. The enhanced polypropylene weave of the rug used here is resistant to all kinds of weather as well as water, stains, mould, and moths.
The rug is also flatwoven, meaning it’s able to slip seamlessly under furniture. It also means it won’t become a trip hazard as people move about the area.
Want more ‘Zanui at home with’ content? Check out our “Behind the Style” blog posts with Georgia Love, Pete Evans and Benji & Zoe Marshall. Plus, read our exclusive Q&A with Samantha Jade. Don’t forget, you can also shop all the looks from every episode of ‘Zanui at home with’ over at zanui.com.au.