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Amanda Coutts

Homes

Another beautiful home from our recent(ish) trip to Byron Bay. Today we meet incredible designer / maker Amanda Coutts and her two sons in Eureka NSW.  Here, in the most tranquil spot about 30 mins inland from Byron Bay, Amanda has created a very special little home.

12th August, 2015

Kitchen details including salvaged marble tabs and copper taps used as the kitchen basin. ‘I now smile when I wash the dishes,’ notes Amanda. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area, featuring old cut glass apothecary jar, the flowers are from Amanda’s neighbours garden. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room, with stud wall constructed from salvaged weatherboards in varying finishes. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The home of designer / maker Amanda Coutts and her two sons in Eureka NSW.  Above – living room details, including a variety of second hand pieces and antiques Amanda has collected of the years. Her Nan’s couch sits pride of place in the living room. ‘After years on the family tour I got my hands on the couch and gave it a good facelift,’ says Amanda. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen and pantry area with Amanda’s ‘Nancy Kirby’ bag, a piece from her leather accessories label, named after her Grandmother. ‘She was an elegant and inspiring woman,’ she Amanda. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen details, including sinks of marble supported by the heavy iron base of an antique shoe finishing machine (!), and Amanda’s concrete island slab bench made for her by her friends as a gift. She says the kitchen is ‘simple and functional, just the way I like it.’ Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amanda’s pocket-size bedroom, just big enough to fit her amazing bed! Salvaged corrugated tin wall behind bed, hand blown glass baubles from a trip to Egypt hanging above, reclaimed church windows and antique Arabian tiles from local tile merchant Jatana Tiles. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom detail – salvaged corrugated tin wall, antique bedside table, vintage bed linen and leather eye mask made by Amanda. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom detail including marble vase, Corinthian style pole and other textures and surfaces salvaged by Amanda. ‘Decorative textures in natural materials inspire because my eye is always looking for something beautiful.’ Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Pressed metal bathroom designed by Amanda including gold plated recycled taps. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amanda’s desk, looking out onto her lush green surroundings. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The entrance of Amanda’s home. The site was originally called the ‘Carawatha Stables’, a set of disused tin shed style stables that Amanda has now converted into a beautiful home. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amanda Coutts on the verandah at her home, ‘Carawatha Stables’. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 12th August 2015

‘I live with nature, nestled into the trees, their root systems all below me’

 

 

 

‘It is magical, and I am glad I have been able to create my own home and to stay and raise my boys in such an open and clean environment. I am thankful every day that we found this place, and as the wind roars up the valley we feel like we are a ship at sea, anchored by the giant trees that keep us safe.’

Amanda Coutts is impressive.  Almost single handedly (with the help of the odd tradesperson here and there), she converted an old stables on her property into a beautiful little home for herself and her two sons Charlie and Pedro, plus their two black kelpies Janey and Black Jack.  The home is constructed almost entirely from salvaged materials, and has been designed by Amanda in a very organic, free flowing way (‘I might build another bedroom there next’ she ponders, as we stand on her balcony during our visit).

Amanda is a strong and spiritual character who you feel you have known for a lifetime within moments of meeting.  She is warm and instantly familiar – some people are just like that.  Her journey to this very special little home has been eventful, and I think is worth sharing, so in her own words, I’ll share a little of her story below.

’10 years ago I was mother of a one year old and married to the most popular musician in the country at the time’ Amanda explains. ‘I had finished 3 years In Nepal teaching villagers to make sandals, and before that a 12 year fast paced career in Film and TV. It was well and truly time to settle down, and we needed a place to get away from the hectic music lifestyle and ground our family. We found this place. A 100 year old farmhouse with giant Norfolk Pines, dairy bales, a stables and the perfect space for a music studio. We settled in and grew veggies and babies and albums’.

From idyllic beginnings, sadly Amanda separated from her partner in 2009, leaving the future of their property uncertain. ’I didn’t want to leave a place I felt was special, so I spent a few years slowly renovating, so I could downsize to a smaller building on the property’ Amanda explains. The stables nearby were in very rustic condition (with a dirt floor!), but Amanda saw the potential to convert them into a new, smaller home for herself and her two sons.  The plan was to move into the stables, allowing her to rent out the larger house on the same property.

‘I wanted to keep the old tin cladding and hardwood, so we pulled off all the tin, built a floor and put it all back on again with a higher roof and some windows. I wrote words of blessings in the concrete footings as they dried’ says Amanda. ‘I was moving out of the most beautiful dream house into a tin shed, so I knew I would have to afford myself some luxuries. I wanted an elegant, organic aesthetic to warm up a stable and make it a home. My friend Sonya from Jatana Tiles had these antique Arabian tiles that inspired my bedroom floor, I found an old chandelier, gold plated taps and some marble sinks to sooth my desire for elegance. I used all recycled materials sourced from anywhere and everywhere’

Where materials could not be salvaged on site, Amanda was resourceful. She contacted an old associate who was in the business of restoring old buildings, and acquired a container load of pressed metal he had pulled off Government buildings all over Australia.

The home is modest in size – comprising three main rooms and a verandah, but Amanda has created a deceptive sense of scale here, with high ceilings and green views from every room.  ‘It is cosy and easy to keep house, yet you never feel like it’s too small’ Amanda says. ‘When we are at home we all know what the other is doing, but still have our own space’.

This is a home made all the more special by the layers of history so clearly visible in every aged and varied surface. The walls are all different textures, and covered in artwork from family and friends. Vintage furniture, antique mirrors and other eclectic finds handed down from loved ones add another layer of detail. Amanda works in leather, so her beautifully crafted leather bags and accessories are dotted throughout the house, alongside animal hides and fleeces she has sourced, which add warmth and texture.

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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