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Jess Wootten and Krystina Menegazzo

Homes

Ok guys, get ready for some seriously idyllic tree-change vibes. We seem to be on some kind of inadvertent mission to promote regional Victoria recently. If any regional area is spending money right now on ‘move to the country’ type advertising campaigns, we are your people!

Jokes aside, today’s home really is the most perfect example of a shared dream fulfilled.  Jess Wootten and Krystina Menegazzo are both country folk at heart, having each grown up in rural areas, and have always wanted to settle in regional Victoria. They purchased their little miners cottage in Gordon, about an hour west of Melbourne, early last year, and it already feels very much like home.

We’re thrilled to have a beautiful little VIDEO to accompany today’s post, please scroll down to watch it!

6th May, 2015

The home of Jess Wootten and Krystina Menegazzo in Gordon, about an hour West of Melbourne. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Entrance – mid-century chair from Ellie’s Upholstery in Highett, drum found in an old shed on the property, German planter from Chapel Street Bazaar, original oil on canvas by Krystina’s mum Christine. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Jess Wootten and Krystina Menegazzo at home. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room. On table – Bridget Bodenham large vase, vintage amber jug and glasses, small vase by Fork Ceramics, salt & pepper vessels by Zak Chalmers, platter by Bridget Bodenham, salvaged dining chairs from Maria’s Junk Emporium in Foster, table made by Jess, window made by Jess! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room – from left, Secondhand Mahogany piano from Tony Boadle Pianos, handmade cowboy boots handmade by Jess’ father Ross, brass and timber cubes made by Jess, ‘The Alchemist’ print by Melbourne artist Carla Fletcher, dining chairs salvaged from Maria’s Junk Emporium in Foster, black dining chair from Ellie’s Upholstery in Highett, hardwood table made by Jess. On table – second hand vintage amber jug and glasses, small vase by Fork Ceramics, salt & pepper vessels by Zak Chalmers, platter by Bridget Bodenham.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen. Vintage Salter scales from antique store in Yarraville, hanging breadboard a wedding gift, Turkish copper coffee pot from Turkey, and many other things…! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lounge room. T-square from a garage sale in Anglesea, slow combustion wood heater from Brownbill in Geelong, reupholstered Danish Deluxe sofa from Ellie’s Upholstery in Highett, German planter from Chapel Street Bazaar with Bangalow palm. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom looking through to loungeroom – Greg Hatton stool, small dish from North Carlton Ceramics, mid-century lounge chair from Grandfather’s Axe, Bird on mantlepiece from Space Furniture, Leunig ‘Let It Go’ print, onyx descending elephants from Turkey, Parker vintage coffee table from Ellie’s Upholstery in Highett, Indian throw from the Salamanca markets. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom with Greg Hatton wooden stool, vintage bedside lamp from Tarlo & Graham, small ceramic pot made by a 3yr old Krystina, Indian throw from the Salamanca markets. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sunroom with original Ercol sunroom chair, vintage standard lamp and a mix of Australian & German ceramic planters with various ferns. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Austrian-sauna-like bathroom! Ikea shower curtain, Bridget Bodenham planters filled with ferns. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Back door which opens out onto deck. Vintage Bocce ball doorstop from Nook, Leunig artist print, original fly-screen door, mid-century lounge chair from Grandfather’s Axe. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Greenhouse constructed by Jess and Krystina last year to help get their less hardy plants through the winter. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Country lane leading to Jess and Krystina’s house. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Gordon Post Office. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 6th May 2015

We (myself, photographer Eve and filmmaker Paris) had the great pleasure of spending a day with shoemaker Jess Wootten and wine buyer Krystina Menegazzo recently, at their beautiful little home in Gordon, which is a tiny town about an hour west of Melbourne. The pair have been here just one year, and both hold jobs in the city, so spend half their week here, and half in a small apartment they rent in Melbourne. They’re both country folk at heart, having each grown up in rural areas. Both have always been keen to settle somewhere outside the city, whilst maintaining just enough proximity to make the commute to work bearable. After searching for around eight months, they found the perfect spot.

The town Gordon was founded in the early 1850s, and was one of the main stopovers on the way to Ballarat during the Goldrush era. Jess and Krystina purchased their little miners cottage here in February last year. Dating back to the 1860’s, this little weatherboard house was desperately in need of some serious TLC, and luckily, it found just the right owners!

Jess and Krystina are an industrious pair – within the first two hours of receiving the keys, they had pulled out all the carpet and soft furnishings in the house! They proceeded to undertake a cosmetic but pretty major DIY renovation of their home – pulling down an internal wall to open up the kitchen and dining room, removing a false wall to reveal the original fireplace hidden behind, and demolishing the falling down deck to make way for a new one. New (salvaged) windows were installed to maximise the green views, floorboards were polished, and every room painted. In the spring, a vegie patch was planted, and in the summer, a little greenhouse was constructed at the bottom of the garden using all recycled materials.

The interior of the house is informed primarily by the two brick fireplaces, the original timber floorboards and the classic (tiny!) miner’s cottage proportions. ‘This isn’t a large house, so our choice of interior decoration has been minimal, so as to not overcrowd the space’ explains Jess – who, at over 6ft, often has to duck his head under the low doorways here! He and Krystina wanted their home to be simple and light, with a focus on the functionality of the kitchen and dining areas, because they both love to cook.

The pair have furnished their home with much loved second hand furniture, handmade details and gifts from friends and family. Treasured pieces include the mahogany standup piano – ‘a great find from a lovely chap named Tony Boadle in Ballarat who restores, services and sells secondhand pianos’ says Jess. Krystina has been playing the piano since she was six years old, so having one of her own is a dream fulfilled.

Jess and Krystina also love the work of cartoonist Michael Leunig, and have a collection of his work. They are particularly fond of an original Leunig drawing which was a wedding gift commissioned by Jess’ family last year – it depicts Jess and Krystina sharing a glass of wine, with their dog Billie under the table. (This artwork is not seen in our photographs but features in the video below!)

‘Gordon is a hidden gem. It’s a great little creative community. It’s peaceful. It’s the rolling hills. It’s the greenness. It’s also just about an hour from Melbourne making it very easily accessible’. says Jess. ‘I love the extremes in weather. You definitely know what season you are in, whether it be a warm spring with abundant flowers, or a freezing cold winter with a bit of snow falling. Fortunately for us we also have the best neighbours in the world, which makes spending time here pretty nice’.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net