A Hamptons style Christmas on the Mornington Peninsula

It took a special couple to see past a thorny block on the Mornington Peninsula and build a dream home, complete with six geese a-laying.
The outdoor white Hamptons style entrance with geese on the steps.Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay

Running away from cows with a baby on her hip wasn’t exactly how homeowner Samantha imagined her first moments on her new property. The 6.5-hectare empty block on the Mornington Peninsula was home to territorial cows and covered in blackberries that had to be cleared. But these obstacles didn’t deter Samantha. “I knew this would be the perfect spot to build a country home,” she says.

The outdoor white Hamptons style entrance with geese on the steps.
What came first: the family home or the geese’s house? For Samantha and her husband, the latter was constructed before the main building on their Mornington Peninsula property. “The geese have been with us a long time,” says Samantha, “since our previous property.” Now, 15 years since the construction on their dream home was finished, the deck is one of Samantha’s favourite places to sit. “I enjoy Christmas out on the deck, watching the geese wandering around,” she shares. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Who lives here?

Samantha, founder and designer of Beautiful House, David, who runs an IT company, two of their three adults sons, Aaron and James, plus a plethora of animals.
What makes a great home? Samantha: “Everyone who’s in it, really. I try to create homes that are comfortable and functional.”
Christmas decorating style? “I love traditional decorations with lots of ribbons and bows. I have a neutral colour palette and then I add all my blues and a bit of green.”
How do you spend the summer? “We always spend it at home, in the outdoor living area, catching up with friends and entertaining. I love my garden with hydrangeas and dahlias.”

The entryway with a decorative white console and a cat sitting on the floor.
Coco the tabby cat greets visitors in the entrance hallway, where festive flourishes from Provincial Home Living add cheer, including the wreath, woven basket and small white houses. A miniature Christmas tree from Adairs takes pride of place beneath the Provincial Home Living wall mirror, between navy chinoiserie-style lamps from Habitania Homewares. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

The vision of big verandahs, window seats and rolling pastures was enough to convince Samantha and her husband David to buy the block and start building their family home for their three sons, Jared, Aaron and James. Although they owned an IT business and didn’t work in construction, they had already built one home together and knew they made a good team.

“We are both hands on,” Samantha shares. “I source products and take on the decor side, putting a storyboard together and going through it with him. He takes on more of a project role.”

A wreath and miniature Christmas tree on the entrance console.
A tray from Carrington’s of Loch Village adds texture to the console table at the entry, housing an Adairs Christmas tree with a blue and white bow. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

They started work in mid-2007 and, after a shockingly smooth 10-month build, moved into their home in May 2008. With six bedrooms, two of which are used as home offices, and three bathrooms, there’s plenty of room for the family of five. The end result is exactly as Samantha imagined when she first looked out on the overgrown paddock.

“There’s this big bench in the middle of the kitchen with a chandelier above, which I love,” she enthuses. “We have these French doors that open up onto the outdoor living space, which has a sitting area full of cushions and we’re surrounded by white hydrangeas in the summer.”

The family room with a vintage style white table adorned with a Christmas tree and mini plants.
The connection to the expansive fields continues as you step inside. The family room is decorated with topiary pots from Early Settler, artworks from Etsy and Laura Ashley lamp bases and shades in duck egg blue. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

While this effortless blending of interior and exterior zones is perfect for entertaining guests during an Australian Christmas, there’s still plenty of traditional wintry charm inside. “I have a fireplace in the living room where I hang these striped stockings with some beautiful pale blue linen bows. The boys are probably a bit big now but I still put them up,” Samantha says with a laugh.


In-built joinery in the kitchen island is an entertainer’s dream, especially with so much storage for wine bottles, enjoyed by Samantha and David. “I love the country-style kitchen and the large island bench,” says Samantha. “I always have a vase filled with beautiful blooms from my garden. It’s the perfect space for summer entertaining with friends and family, with French doors opening up out to the outdoor living space.” The chandelier above the island is a particularly beloved detail.

Samantha and David in their country style kitchen with timber accents and white furniture.
Samantha and David enjoy a glass of bubbly in the generous open-plan kitchen that was built with entertaining in mind. Dulux Natural White sets the tone in this spacious kitchen. Tasmanian Oak benchtops and flooring add warmth to the space. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A Christmas table setting with festive baubles.
Baubles from Villa Maison bring festive cheer to the table setting. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Living room

Hamptons style reigns supreme in the living room, with lashings of blue and white as far as the eye can see. The Christmas tree, an artificial one that has been in the family for years, often takes Samantha two days to construct and decorate due to its size. “My colour scheme is shades of pale blue, navy and white,” says Samantha, who decorates the tree with ornaments from Adairs and Provincial Home Living.

An all-white Hamptons style living room with a Christmas tree by the window.
The ‘Avalon’ three-seater Hamptons sofa from One World Collection is adorned with cushions, including Beautiful House’s linen check ruffle and cushions upholstered in Schumacher ‘Cabanon Stripe’ fabric from Grant Dorman. ‘Noble’ table lamps in Green and White from Provincial Home Living are a feature of the space. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Botanical prints from Etsy sit above the ‘Butler’s’ table, also from Provincial Home Living, and complement the tones of the ginger jars within Samantha’s display cabinet, complete with boxwood wreaths from The Doors of Berry with blue bows from Beautiful House attached.

“I’ve made a really lovely space to sit in the living room with a fireplace. I love doing a beautiful Christmas setting for my boys.”

A classic white mantlepiece with a green Christmas wreath and mirror.
Samantha and David’s eldest son, Jared, 28, lives in Melbourne while Aaron, 26, and James, 19, live at home. Despite their age, Samantha loves hanging the striped stockings she made them over the fireplace each year. A wreath and mirror from Provincial Home Living sit above the classic mantelpiece. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A Hamptons style white console with blue lamps under framed floral art.
Custom lampshades from Beautiful House are paired with lamp bases from Canvas + Sasson in the living room. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)
Blue and white Christmas presents under the tree.
Samantha’s blue and white palette continues under the tree with wrapping paper and gift bags from David Jones. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Home office

Turning a hand to interior design, decorating and styling was a “natural progression” for Samantha, who works part time at an op shop on the Mornington Peninsula. Interior design was what she loved doing so she created her company, Beautiful House, in 2017. Soon her office filled with soft furnishings, such as fabrics and ribbons.

Samantha in her Hamptons style home office with white and timber furniture.
Samantha in her home office. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A collection of ribbons and a blue vase on the office table.
Her Early Settler desk is spacious and is decorated with a ginger jar from Orient House. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Main bedroom

Layers of linens create an air of relaxation in Samantha and David’s bedroom. The blue and white striped coverlet and Belgian flax linen coverlet, both from Pottery Barn, are complemented by the cushion covered in Westbury Textiles ‘Indigo Bouquet’ fabric.

The main bedroom with French doors and classic white and blue furniture.
Scalloped lampshades from Canvas + Sasson. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

“We have these big French doors that open up into the outdoor space that I just love.”

A country style bathroom with a clawfoot tub and pink glazed tiles.
A freestanding clawfoot bath from Early Settler takes centre stage in the ensuite while an artwork from Etsy continues the botanic motif seen throughout the home. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)
Decorative coral on a white side table by the bath tub.
Coral from Signature On Hastings adds a natural touch to the ensuite. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Alfresco area

After 15 years in the home, this will be far from the family’s first Christmas as hosts but the holiday is still as special as ever. “I love it,” says Samantha. “It’s about us coming together, having my boys there, celebrating the day.” It’s those simple little pleasures, like sitting on the verandah and watching the pet geese wander around, that create that magical, festive feeling.

While David cooks steak on the barbecue in the alfresco kitchen, Samantha whips up a roast pork, sumptuous seafood and a pavlova for dessert in her country-style kitchen. “My mum does the most amazing Christmas pudding and trifle,” she shares. “We have lunch and then open all the presents.”

The outdoor alfresco dining area with a classic blue and white table setting.
With 6.5-hectares, there’s plenty of room for their animals to roam. “We have two cats, two dogs, a parrot, some geese and a sheep named Mary,” says Samantha. The furry, feathered and fluffy members of the family can be seen from the outdoor dining area, where the family often gathers for Christmas lunch. The bird house, from Country Style & Life, adds country charm while the Canvas + Sasson tablecloth carries Samantha’s Hamptons colour palette to the exterior. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

“I love preparing a beautiful table that’s simple but full of traditional Christmas food, and enjoying the views of the green paddocks.”


After experiencing the bliss that comes with living in your ideal home, Samantha has created her own interior design, decorating and styling business, Beautiful House, so she can help others realise their dreams as well. “I try to create homes that are comfortable and functional to live in,” she says. And that’s certainly what she achieved with her own home, building a charming, timeless and welcoming abode from the cow-filled ground up.

An outdoor dining table with geese in the background.
A selection of fresh produce, elevated with classic yet simple ingredients, makes an ideal Christmas lunch. Patterned bowls from Provincial Home Living hold lobsters, prawns and lemons while Royal Doulton crystal glasses from David Jones, fill with sparkling wine when the event begins. Samantha’s bamboo cutlery from Harris Scarf’s ‘Chyka’ range adds a natural element. As always, the geese are never far away. “Hopefully this year we’ll have beautiful weather and we can sit outside again,” says Samantha. (Photography: Kate Enno / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Interior design, build and landscaping: Samantha Johnstone, Beautiful House,


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