Sally le Roux has fond memories of visiting the Pindari farmhouse as a teenager, as it was the home of a childhood friend. Set on 26 hectares around 35 minutes’ drive west of Toowoomba on Queensland’s Darling Downs, the homestead was surrounded by gardens filled with jasmine, salvias, camellias, towering tibouchina and jacarandas. “The house was always stylishly decorated, beautifully maintained and always felt welcoming,” recalls Sally. “It was such a lovely place to visit; a bush sanctuary.”
Who lives here? Sally, a medical practice manager; husband Pieter, a doctor; children, Jake, 12, Charlie, 10, and Angus, nine; Michael the dachshund and Lexi the kelpie.
What makes your home special? Sally: “The original features – pressed metal ceilings, brass window catches, the leadlights and ebony doorknobs.”
What is your home design philosophy? Sally: “It was great to be pushed out of our comfort zone by the designers.”
What is your weekend ritual? Pieter: “We love firing up the fire pit near the outdoor area for barbecuing and the kids love roasting marshmallows.”
Many years later, Sally and her husband Pieter had returned to Toowoomba from time spent in Brisbane and Perth, and were living with their children, Jake, now 12, Charlie, 10, and Angus, nine. Pieter, a doctor raised on a sheep property in South Africa, and Sally, who is practice manager of their medical clinic, hoped to one day live out of town with some land, an old farmhouse and livestock. That chance came in late 2020.
“We weren’t quite ready to take the plunge when this property first came on the market,” she says. “We thought someone would be lucky to buy this wonderful property, but didn’t seriously consider that it could be us. Some time later, Pieter went to have an inspection and thought we should seriously think about buying it. It was a big step for us and happened sooner than we planned, but we are very happy.”
They purchased Pindari and engaged interior designers Melanie Parker and Elizabeth Flekser of Ivy + Piper to create a more family friendly kitchen and help Sally, Pieter and the kids put their imprint on the living and dining areas. Together, they created a thread throughout that tells a cohesive story, yet each room has a distinct personality.
STYLE TIP: BOLD STATEMENTS
The dining room, where the family congregates for special occasions, has an impact with Dulux semi-gloss in Sunburst on the walls and ceiling. Drapery by Ivy + Piper in Le Manach ‘Palmyre’ fabric by Pierre Frey (try Milgate) frames the view to the garden. The English dresser was a find from Chelsea Coco Collectables.
The rear section was completely redecorated with bold colours and pattern, and antique furniture evokes a fresh, contemporary feel along with lighting, art and cabinetry.
“For small-scale decorating, buy interesting bits and pieces as you see them,” says Sally. “If you love them, you’ll make them work, and don’t be afraid to inject some colour. For larger-scale decorating, get advice from professionals before embarking on decorating, if you are unsure of how it will come together. It may save money in the long run, although it may be an additional cost at the outset. Older houses can have issues that pop up, and consulting with more experienced project managers helps to troubleshoot issues to get the best outcome and avoid costly mistakes.”
Pindari has been an opportunity for this family to connect with nature – and for Pieter to get back to his roots on the land. “We can’t wait to get home and our kelpie, Lexi, is always beside herself to see us,” he says. “We are enjoying growing some of our own vegies and have planted lots of fruit trees. The property is such a sanctuary for us and we feel very lucky to be the current custodians of this old home.”