From city flair to country chic
When the Sydney-born Getaway presenter, babywear designer and dedicated decorator moved to Victoria a few years ago to be with her farmer husband, she admits there was quite a bit to get used to. “At first I felt like a square peg in a round hole,” she says. While she initially thought she would have to choose one life or another, she soon discovered that living “a hop, skip and a jump” from the local airport meant that she could maintain her frequent flying and still live happily in the country. “I’ve learned to love my life on the farm,” she says. “I’m grateful to live by the seasons and enjoy the space and freedom this life allows us.”
A long driveway flanked by lush greenery leads the way to Catriona’s country idyll. Wire gates crafted by Shades Of Gray display the Getaway presenter’s signature “practical but pretty” touch – “They keep the children in, but are totally beautiful,” she says.
A gorgeous clawfoot tub sets a tone of luxury. Catriona used a set of beautiful blue tiles she found in Obidos – “the most romantic village in Portugal”– to create exotic and unique wall art. “I bought all the tiles I could physically carry and afford at the time,” she says. “They only just squeezed into the plane’s overhead locker!”
Catriona’s study enjoys sweeping views of the farm and a flood of natural light, while the smell of sweet-scented blooms drifts in through the window. “Very little work takes place at this desk, as I can never take my eyes off the view!” she says. “Plus, my children are usually glued to my legs when I’m in here too.”
A beautifully restored fireplace takes pride of place in Catriona and James’s bedroom. The mantelpiece houses favourite treasures such as cherished Lalique glassware, with freshly picked roses adding a flourish of pink. “Roses are the superheroes of our garden, having toughed out the drought,” Catriona says. “They’re so hardy, yet utterly beautiful.”
This little nook is our favourite reading spot – the boys love to gather around and listen to a story,” says Catriona. “When I was pregnant, the chair was made for me as a feeding chair. Now it’s our reading chair.”
“These prints were a total bargain,” says Catriona. “I found them in the back of a store at Marché aux Puces, the flea markets in Paris. The prints come from calendars that are around 150 years old. My friend Lindy Irons from About Interiors framed them. I treasure each and every one.”
Catriona relishes the fresh air and stunning surrounds from her rattan daybed, a wedding gift from a friend, landscape designer Paul Bangay. “Just quietly, I also love the fact that in the country you can’t see any neighbours,” she says with a smile. The painted floor decal was inspired by a trip to South America, and makes a striking statement.
The family takes to the outdoors with their dog, Tango Dancer. “I love the energy of the shearing sheds,” says Catriona. “I always feel like I’m walking through a Tom Roberts painting in there – which of course my husband thinks is nuts – but strangely he puts up with all my romantic notions!”
A table and chairs from country Victoria store Shades Of Gray bring old-world charm, with blossoming wisteria providing a divine lilac canopy overhead. “We grew it from scratch,” comments Catriona. “James selected three twiggy-looking plants and I selected another three in full bloom. Of course James’s have grown prolifically, while mine have done very little!”