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A look inside Catriona Rowntree’s family home

Tour Catriona Rowntree's patch of paradise in rural Victoria.
Catriona Rowntree on the verandah of her country home in Victoria.Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling: Julia Green

It’s shearing day at Catriona Rowntree and her husband James’s sheep and grain farm, an hour’s drive west of Melbourne. Wool flies through the shed as the couple’s two boys Andrew and Charlie lend a helping hand. When their work here is done, there are chooks to feed, eggs to collect and vast plains to run through. This is boys’ own territory – it is a working farm after all – yet step inside the family’s home, a beautiful bluestone cottage that was once the farm manager’s residence, and the picture is all feminine loveliness. Call it the Catriona effect. “It’s pretty meets practical,” says the seasoned traveller. “I fly the flag for pretty, while James is the voice of reason with practicalities. There’d be a lot more pink if James didn’t rein me in.”

When the Sydney-born Getaway presenter 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.”

Catriona Rowntree with her dog at the gate of her property in country Victoria.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

Who lives here?

Catriona Rowntree, television presenter and longtime Getaway host, her husband James, a farmer, and their sons Andrew and Charlie.

How has having children changed your approach to decorating? Catriona: “I used to have a coffee table with sharp edges – now gone – and my linen-covered couch takes a beating every day. I feel like their toys are taking over the house, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Any current obsessions? “I’m obsessed with Pinterest and have been known to sneak onto it in the middle of the night! But I also love print and when James sees me stroke the page of a magazine or book, he knows he’s in trouble. I’ll soon be putting him to work turning a crazy idea into reality.”

Catriona Rowntree reads on a French provincial style lounge in her guest house.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

The stylish TV presenter has injected classic French provincial charm into every space: white panelled walls are home to gilt-trimmed mirrors, glamorous chandeliers hang from the ceiling and delicate treasures picked up from trips to the far corners of the world are elegantly displayed.

Outside, a verdant garden of climbing wisteria and David Austin roses has sparked Catriona’s new-found passion for gardening, although she admits it’s still largely James’s domain. “I trust him with the farm and he trusts me with the home. I’m respectful of his wishes and taste,” Catriona says, before she adds with a grin: “That said, an awful lot happens when James leaves the house.”

Pergola to the rear of a country home. Purple wisteria covers the pergola.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)


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.

(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

Reading nook

“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.”

Catriona Rowntree and her sons reading a book on a purple chair at her country home in Victoria.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

Master bedroom

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.”

White fireplace with round mirror above it in the home of TV presenter Catriona Rowntree.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)
Floral prints from a French market at the home of Catriona Rowntree.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

Guest house

Visitors receive five-star treatment with their very own guest house, resplendent in classic French country style. “I wanted it to be like my ultimate hotel room,” Catriona explains. The dreamy daybed and grand mirror were picked up in Paris, while the coffee table is from local antique store Lilypond.

Guest bathroom

An ornate mirror and gorgeous clawfoot tub set 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!”

French provincial style guest bathroom with claw-footed bath tub.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)


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.”

French provincial style study.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)


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!”

Shearing shed

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!”

Catriona Rowntree and family at the shearing shed at her property in rural Victoria.
(Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling; Julia Green)

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