Australian Homes

Lisa Black and Robert Bleakley

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 29th July 2015

Today’s family home in Byron Bay is one of the most spectacular houses we’ve been fortunate enough to visit.  It belongs to jewellery designer and landscape architect Lisa Black, her husband Robert Bleakley and their two teenage children. Characterised by rich textures and a moody colour palette, an impressive art collection and antiques sourced from all corners of the globe, it is surrounded by meticulously maintained lush tropical gardens, with a 180° view across untouched hinterland to Cape Byron.

In a word, it’s epic.


This is the home of jewellery designer and landscape architect Lisa Black, her husband Robert Bleakley and their two teenage children. The family have lived on this property for about 15 years, but finally built their dream home here five years ago.  Perched high on the hill with spectacular views across to Cape Byron, it’s a truly breathtaking place to visit. And an overwhelming place to photograph!

Lisa and Robert first came across the land here while staying with friends in Newrybar over a school holiday period. ‘Exploring the region we found this amazing property over-run with lantana and camphor laurel, and an original old Queenslander intact, but in a dilapidated state’ recalls Lisa. She and Robert were living in Sydney at the time, and purchased the property with long term plans to move to the coast ‘one day’. However, after falling in love with the property and its stunning surrounds, Lisa remembers ‘it seemed more and more like a better place to bring up children than the city’.  The family eventually relocated much sooner than initially anticipated.

When Lisa and Robert first moved up, they lived in the old Queenslander cottage. They renovated and extended this building not long after moving in, also renovating an old farm shed to create a studio for Lisa, and accommodation for the inevitable influx of guests that come with moving to this beautiful part of the world!

Lisa’s jewellery studio is a charming old building with rustic appeal – it was renovated using old recycled windows and doors, and reclaimed timber. ‘My studio became my sanctuary, my go-to creative space where the inspiration for my jewellery came into being’ she says. This eclectic out house was also where the family planned and designed their new home, with the help of Lisa’s architect brother from California, Jan Hochhauser.

Originally trained as a landscape architect, the land and climate here inspired Lisa to create the most incredible lush garden enveloping her home.  ‘The space here provided an open palette for me, and our garden started to take shape from the moment we arrived’ she says.  Originally hailing from New York City, Lisa’s adopted home has provided a welcome opportunity for her to work with an incredible variety of tropical plants and foliage, which can be seen from every verandah and window in the house.

‘I love how the outside appears to, and in some cases actually does, come inside, and how one feels very much a part of the landscape living here’ says Lisa. ‘Watching the weather come and go, and the vegetation responding to this, is wonderful. The view is fairly humbling as well, it nourishes me each day and fuels my creative spirit’.

Lush garden surrounding Lisa and Robert’s bedroom windows on the North East side of the property. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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