Dining Room Ideas

Home tour: A Highland retreat

A playful sense of creativity abounds in this Southern Highlands home
Chris Warnes

The seasons change with full dramatic effect over this slice of paradise – a one-acre block in a beautifully preserved Georgian-style village in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Visitors to this NSW property are welcomed by a beautifully landscaped masterpiece of rolling lawns, a sweeping gravel drive, delicate blooms and a lush mixture of native and exotic greenery. 

Country kitchen
(Credit: Chris Warnes)


The country charm continues inside the home with lively red bringing colour to the kitchen – built by Camden Kitchens – from the pendants to more subtle hints in the print by Vivienne Littlejohn. The dark-painted bulkhead in Taubmans Fable frames a series of painted plates created by various artists.

Country dining room
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

Dining room

A double-sided wood-burning fireplace divides the living and dining areas, bringing structure to the open-plan space as well as adding warmth and atmosphere to both zones. The fireplace surround is painted render topped with offcuts of timber. Bought from The Bronte Tram in Bowral, the dining setting has the character of a decades-old heirloom. A large print by Ray Arnold dominates the wall adjacent to the fireplace.

DIY decoration

Fancy getting creative with old fence palings, timber offcuts and strips of mirror glass? Well, take design cues from this room and turn a blank chimneybreast into a work of art with decorative panels. If you’re building, you can collect offcuts of timber from the building site. The result is a little bit rustic, unique and utterly reflective of the personality of the home’s owners.

Living room with Indigenous stingray artwork
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

Living room

Worlds collide in this globally inspired corner of the living area, with a stunning stingray painting by artist Georgina Parmbuk hanging over a Chinese-style console, bought on a trip to Melbourne. The flooring is engineered Sydney blue gum, with a standard grade chosen specifically for its imperfections. 

Country bedroom
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

Main bedroom

Timber French doors frame a pretty garden view in the main bedroom, furnished in soothing neutrals. A woodcut print by Vivienne Littlejohn hangs above the bed. Print cushions and linen from Pillow Talk combine with a knitted Rebecca Judd Loves Home Republic ‘Zephyr’ throw from Adairs to turn the bed into a snug nest.


Country artist studios
(Credit: Chris Warnes)
Old bathtub pond
(Credit: Chris Warnes)


Two artist studios are set together in an L shape, with a sunny courtyard in the middle. Lush greenery sprouts around the brick pavers and an old bathtub has been quirkily adapted into a fishpond. The area is also well set up for entertaining, with a barbecue and pizza oven, and a grapevine-draped awning, turning the space into a little slice of Tuscany. 

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