This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Home Designed From The Outside In

Homes

Some homes just hum on a special frequency – and today’s tour of landscape designer Sam Cox’s Wattle Glen property has an authenticity and integrity which we hope radiates through the screen!

We chat with Sam about his love of the Australian landscape, and how his ethos of ‘being in nature’ has informed the design of the beautifully understated home he shares with wife Lisa Hatfield, son Tom, and dogs Dot and Dash. This is a home to savour, and one we imagine will be long reflected upon by students of landscape architecture and design, as a best practice example of designing a home and garden which are seamlessly connected.

24th October, 2018

The TRULY magnificent mudbrick home of landscape architect Sam Cox, his life Lisa Hatfield, son Tom, doggos Dot and Dash and alpacas José and Pedro! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking out to the pond from the living room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The firebox built into a mud brick fireplace is the focal point in the living room in winter, particularly for Staffies Dot and Dash! Sam and Lisa used a traditional mudbrick render i.e. river silt and cow manure on the walls and the fireplace and then coated with specialist mudbrick interior paint by Grimes&Sons. Fibre floormat hanging from Maningrida Arts & Culture. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The open plan living space is the centre of the home, looking out to waterfall/pond built by Sam. The house was built on a tight budget, and the family used a lot of salvaged materials and borrowed labour. ‘It was very rudimentary in the early years but over time we have reworked and refined aspects as we could afford,’ Lisa Hatfield says! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The entranceway. Armchair by Greg Stirling. Mimi Spirit Hunting print by Graham Badari from Injalak Arts.  Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The kitchen is built with salvaged timber. The island bench is built from basketball court flooring, timber posts scrounged from a job site and messmate rafters. Redgum benchtops were cut from a mate’s property in Central Vic. The stools are recycled hardwood from Christian Cole Furniture. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The fibre wall sculpture is by Maningrida artist Lulu Laradjbi from Maningrida Arts & Culture. Cabinet by Christian Cole Furniture. Parker lounge suit circa 1973 from Lisa’s parents. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Hallway and study. Wine barrel stool built by Timbits Furniture (aka Sam’s dad!) in the 70s. Bookshelf visible in the study by Wilkins & Kent. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Dining/living area. The watercolour of Sam’s childhood home in Yandoit, Victoria was painted by his Grandfather. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The 3m long kitchen table was salvaged from a chemistry lab at University of Melbourne. It has student names scratched into the surface dating back to 1914 (!).  Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Sam & Lisa’s bedroom. Artwork by Ghost Patrol. Armchair restored by Tane Furniture. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The guest bedroom. One Too Many Mornings artwork by Lisa and Sam’s friend Lachlan Rose. Ikea lamp. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Mud brick walls, hardwood shiplap panelling and soft green tiles provide a simple palette in the bathroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Tom, Dash, Lisa and Sam. The basalt boulder retaining work by Sam wraps around the back and side of the house, immersing it in the landscape. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The family’s pet alpacas, José and Pedro! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 24th October 2018

‘My parents were into the self-sufficient farming movement of the 70’s.’ – Sam Cox.

Sam Cox is a bit of a legend in landscape design and architecture circles, having been taught by the guru of Australian landscape design, Gordon Ford.

Sam purchased his Wattle Glen property 20 years ago, with a vision to build a home that combined their shared appreciation for the Australian environment. Sam explains ‘my parents were into the self-sufficient farming movement of the 70’s’, and this background has heavily influenced the design of his Wattle Glen home. Sam highlights ‘our home and personal style has evolved from the outside in.’

The use of mud-brick was influenced by architect Alistair Knox (of the infamous Warrandyte House previously featured on TDF!), who advocated for ‘living in the environment.’ Sam explains how he pursued a strong connection to place, and attempted to create a home with a sense of ‘being in nature.’ The interior flooring is beautiful Castlemaine slate, which extends outside into the paving stones – connecting the outer and inner seamlessly.

The interiors are uncluttered, simple and constructed of natural and recycled materials. Sam and Lisa’s favourite piece in the house is a stunning fibre sculpture by Maningrida artist Lulu Laradjbi, purchased on a trip in Arnhem Land. Sam highlights that visits to Northern Australia have influenced his understanding of place, and enhanced his deep love of the Australian landscape.

As to be expected, Sam’s landscape design prowess is in full flight in the garden! He explains ‘the waterfall and pond, sheltered by a tree canopy and nestled into a basalt rock outcrop, are an extension of the central living space. We love to open the doors and bring inside the soothing sounds of the water running over rocks.’ This peaceful home is fully immersed in the surrounding landscape, and clearly demonstrates Sam’s connection to this sunburnt country.

The Latest

Architecture

A Home That Balances Mid-Century And Modern

Hindley & Co architects bring mid-century design into the 21st century with elegance and restraint, in Newtown, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry

News

Frida Kahlo In Bendigo

An exclusive exhibition drawing on the archives of Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home, comes to Bendigo Art Gallery.
Elle Murrell

News

A Zen Group Show In Sydney

Saint Cloche gallery celebrates the feeling of home with CASA, an end-of-year group exhibition.
Sally Tabart

Small Business

Knowing When To Call In The Experts, According To KeepCup

This Melbourne-born business has taken the world by storm, but they haven't gone it alone.
Fiona Killackey

Indigenous Art

A Joyful Exhibition Featuring Some Of Australia's Most Talented Indigenous Artists

A group exhibition and celebration of Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated gallery.

News

An Australian Christmas Story Takes Over Fed Square

Beci Orpin illustrates a distinctly Australian Christmas story in collaboration with creative film producers General Strike.
Sally Tabart

Travel

A Stay At Mitchelton Hotel, Nagambie (+ Giveaway!)

Lucy's review of Victoria's newest boutique hotel, designed by Hecker Guthrie – and your opportunity to WIN a stay!

Architecture

A Concrete House In A Coastal Setting

Exploring Australian beachside Brutalism, with 'The Concrete House' by AuHaus in Torquay.
Miriam McGarry
  20 hours ago

News

A Sustainable Collection Of Objects 'For Gardening' By Australian Designers

Sarah K and Bree Claffey react to the scale of mass production that pervades our modern world.

News

ACCA’s Explosive New Program Of Reality-Warping Works

The first pieces commissioned by The Macfarlane Fund supporting emerging artists to create career-defining works.
Sponsored

Homes

The Sleekest Apartment In West Brunswick

Explore the exacting apartment of photographer Sean Fennessy and stylist Jess Lillico.

Every Painting Tells A Story

Uncovering The Hidden Symbolism In NGA's New Blockbuster: 'Love & Desire'

Our collaboration with National Gallery of Australia, celebrating their incredible new exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from London...

Art

An Exhibition of Modernist Suburban Homes, Painted In Brilliant Detail

Artist Robyn Sweaney looks back to the modernist homes of the 1960s, in a new exhibition at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

Creative People

11 Great Craftspeople Who Can Make You A Table

A round-up of the best bespoke furniture makers and designers in Australia!
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

Regional

Surreal Scenes At Mountaintop Mushrooms

Our regional columnists discover a world of wonder inside an unassuming shed in South-East Queensland.
Karen Locke

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

An Iconic Mid-Century Home In The Trees

An Eltham architectural gem, with breathing space for Kate Stokes, Haslett Grounds and family.

Homes

An Artist's Eclectic Home In Daylesford

A house that isn’t on Instagram (yet). Welcome to the truly magical mud-brick home of artist Helen Connell.
Lucy Feagins

Homes

Casa Warrandyte

A tour of Stace Burt and Kenny Pomare's family home in the leafy Melbourne suburb. Drenched in natural light and offering beautiful bush vis...
Fiona Killackey

This Week

Regional

Surreal Scenes At Mountaintop Mushrooms

Our regional columnists discover a world of wonder inside an unassuming shed in South-East Queensland.
Karen Locke

Travel

A Stay At Mitchelton Hotel, Nagambie (+ Giveaway!)

Lucy's review of Victoria's newest boutique hotel, designed by Hecker Guthrie – and your opportunity to WIN a stay!

Architecture

A Home That Balances Mid-Century And Modern

Hindley & Co architects bring mid-century design into the 21st century with elegance and restraint, in Newtown, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry

News

ACCA’s Explosive New Program Of Reality-Warping Works

The first pieces commissioned by The Macfarlane Fund supporting emerging artists to create career-defining works.
Sponsored

Art

An Exhibition of Modernist Suburban Homes, Painted In Brilliant Detail

Artist Robyn Sweaney looks back to the modernist homes of the 1960s, in a new exhibition at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

News

A Sustainable Collection Of Objects 'For Gardening' By Australian Designers

Sarah K and Bree Claffey react to the scale of mass production that pervades our modern world.

Indigenous Art

A Joyful Exhibition Featuring Some Of Australia's Most Talented Indigenous Artists

A group exhibition and celebration of Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated gallery.

Small Business

Knowing When To Call In The Experts, According To KeepCup

This Melbourne-born business has taken the world by storm, but they haven't gone it alone.
Fiona Killackey

Architecture

A Concrete House In A Coastal Setting

Exploring Australian beachside Brutalism, with 'The Concrete House' by AuHaus in Torquay.
Miriam McGarry
  20 hours ago

News

An Australian Christmas Story Takes Over Fed Square

Beci Orpin illustrates a distinctly Australian Christmas story in collaboration with creative film producers General Strike.
Sally Tabart

Homes

The Sleekest Apartment In West Brunswick

Explore the exacting apartment of photographer Sean Fennessy and stylist Jess Lillico.

News

A Zen Group Show In Sydney

Saint Cloche gallery celebrates the feeling of home with CASA, an end-of-year group exhibition.
Sally Tabart

News

Frida Kahlo In Bendigo

An exclusive exhibition drawing on the archives of Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home, comes to Bendigo Art Gallery.
Elle Murrell

Every Painting Tells A Story

Uncovering The Hidden Symbolism In NGA's New Blockbuster: 'Love & Desire'

Our collaboration with National Gallery of Australia, celebrating their incredible new exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from London...

Creative People

11 Great Craftspeople Who Can Make You A Table

A round-up of the best bespoke furniture makers and designers in Australia!
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

Similar Stories

Homes

An Iconic Mid-Century Home In The Trees

Breathing space and a new outlook for Kate Stokes, Haslett Grounds and family.

Homes

An Artist's Eclectic Home In Daylesford

A house that isn’t on Instagram (yet). Welcome to the truly magical mud-brick home of artist Helen Connell.
Lucy Feagins

Homes

Casa Warrandyte

A tour of Stace Burt and Kenny Pomare's family home in the leafy Melbourne suburb. Drenched in natural light and offering beautiful bush vis...
Fiona Killackey