Home Tours

An off-grid, characterful cottage in the Southern Tablelands

Considered modifications and thoughtful inclusions have transformed this little stone cottage into a cosy, comforting place of retreat.
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For homeowner Amanda, days at her cottage, The Stone House, begin and end in much the same way: with a cup of tea in hand and a stroll through the paddocks, her three malamute x dogue de Bordeaux dogs gambolling beside her.

Located in the NSW Southern Tablelands, the 12-hectare property she owns with husband Brad is extremely remote and entirely off-grid. “I like to say we’re in the middle of nowhere in the middle of everywhere,” she says happily. The pair purchased the property and its charming cottage in 2017. Built in 1851 by Irish potato farmer Michael Dowling, The Stone House had been sympathetically restored by the previous owners to serve as a comfortable weekender. “It just had soul and I felt that indefinable feeling you get when a place is right for you,” Amanda tells. “Much to Brad’s horror, I fall in love with potential, and it had potential in spades!”

A dresser from Gravitas and Provincial Home Living mirror create a sense of entry within the main living space.

Who lives here? Husband and wife Amanda and Brad, owners of a transport business, and their three malamute x dogue de Bordeaux dogs Luna, Lola and Yogie Bear. There are also four miniature cows on the property.

Favourite spot to sit? Amanda: “Closing in the verandah created a bit of a sun trap, and this is where I like to sit with a book in winter.”

How do you like to entertain? Amanda: “We keep it very casual – homemade pizza … a game of cards.”

Where do you shop? Amanda: “I really love vintage stuff, so Gravitas, Braidwood; Dirty Janes in Canberra and Bowral; Lunatiques; Fossil Vintage; Cabana Jo’s; and The Picnic Shed in Berry.”

Amanda and Brad in the garden.

Along with the cottage, there was also an old slab timber hut on the property that could serve as extra accommodation, along with rich red soils, water and enough outdoor space for the couple to indulge their love of gardening. “It brought all of my passions together – interiors, gardens, sustainability, regeneration,” says Amanda. “Here, we can create something that will be a gift for whoever comes after us.”

KITCHEN ‘We’ve tried to stay sympathetic to the history of the cottage while making it more comfortable and liveable,” says Amanda. The Aga surround and cabinets were repainted Mezzie + Frank Coalmine and an undermount Chambord sink was set into the new Quantum Quartz ‘Luna White’ benchtop with appliances underneath.

While the previous owners had resurrected the cottage from a state of ruin into the cosy and comfortable three-bedroom home before them, Amanda and Brad took it a step further to render it suitable for full-time living. First off, they enclosed the back verandah and outdoor toilet – “a must when it’s minus 10 degrees outside!” says Amanda – before repainting the mission brown and red-brick kitchen and dining areas white.

KITCHEN The kitchen is well equipped with Ikea canisters, Freedom placemats and various dinnerware essentials. A framed piece of wrought iron on the wall adds rustic flair.

Subsequent improvements included the removal of a wall between the dining room and third bedroom to create a second living space, rejigging the kitchen to make it more functional and spacious and updating the shower recess, tiles, shutters and paintwork in the bathroom. Given their remote location, additional water tanks and a bigger solar system were also essential. “It feels like any other home, we just don’t get as many bills,” says Amanda of the off-grid set-up.

A large original fireplace dominates the space. The couple installed a Masport ‘Westcott’ cast-iron wood heater. The original mantle above has been repainted Mezzie + Frank Docklands and holds vases of blooms from the garden, while a Haven & Space basket is topped up frequently with firewood.

Having breathed new life into the cottage and upgraded its comforts, Amanda and Brad are now happy to share it with others. They’ve relocated to the property’s renovated barn so they can rent the cottage to guests on Airbnb. Amanda promises a restorative and relaxing stay.

“It’s a cosy cottage and we’ve embraced that,” she says.”The thick stone walls insulate against noise and it feels very calming. And the smell, warmth and look of the woodfires in winter is also very comforting. Our kids sleep a lot when they visit.”

LIVING The interiors favour a cosy, country vibe with much of the furniture and decor from the couple’s previous home. An Ikea chair received a new lease on life courtesy of a Bemz custom cover. The pendant is from Amara Home.

An artwork purchased from a market and pitchfork from Braidwood Antiques decorate the walls of the living room.

One of the couple’s first priorities was to close off the verandah and outside toilet. Large second-hand windows from Gumtree help flood the area with light, while the original flagstone flooring is a comforting nod to the building’s history.

ENCLOSED VERANDAH An Ikea chair with a custom cover from Bemz provides the perfect spot for enjoying the winter sun with a book or cup of tea.

“I try to always have flowers from the garden around,” says Amanda.

“The original leadlight windows were covered with curtains and the architraves painted green,” Amanda recalls of the windows, which now enjoy star-of-the-show status. “Stone cottages and shutters go hand in hand, and they’re also very practical,” says Amanda.

A soup pot and ladle from Haven & Space and jugs from Ikea and Robert Gordon sit atop cube bookshelves, also from Ikea.

DINING An artwork by Margo Sykes, which belonged to Amanda’s mum, in the dining space. Pendant, Pottery Barn.

The home’s original stone walls bring a lovely degree of strength and natural insulation to the cottage, and only needed a few coats of Dulux Strong White paint to freshen them up. You can create a similar look and feel with a textured finish like Rendertex by Haymes Paint or Fresco by Porter’s Paints.

SECOND BEDROOM Guests will rest easy in this bedroom, featuring a vintage rug from Fossil Vintage and sumptuous linens from Society of Wanderers and Sage x Clare.

A round owl cushion from Adairs looks at home against linen from Sage x Clare and Society of Wanderers. For a similar style of table lamp, try Adairs.

An original artwork of a scene in Provence, France (artist unknown), was found at Slow Folk. Floral chair from Dirty Janes.

You’ll find Amanda and Brad out amongst their expansive garden most days. “I’m trying to capture that essence of a rambling country garden, but I think it will

only come with age,” she says.

BATHROOM Amanda’s dad made the shutters for the bathroom (and the second bedroom), which was given an updated shower recess, new wall tiles and a fresh coat of Dulux Strong White. Doorknobs from This Old House Studio elevate the black cabinetry. “The chair was a restoration project that I did with my mum – she had a matching one,” says Amanda.

“The stone jug in the bathroom was a gift from my sister,” Amanda shares.


Builder: Owen Browne, OB Builders, 0435 779 503.

Electrician: Ron Wenban Electrical, 0428 445 259.

Plumber: Will Hay, 0477 778 375.

Tiler: Luke Gorecki, 0478 157 822.

Holiday rental: To book a stay, visit endrickvalleyfarm.com or follow @thestonehouse1851 on Instagram.

OUTDOORS In this lovely patch, a tall flowering weigela shrub grows alongside smaller shrubs of columbine and foxglove. Vases overflowing with flowers from the garden add colour and freshness to the cottage’s inviting interiors.

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