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A Spectacular Northern Rivers Home Built By The Whole Family!

Homes

After raising their children in Western Australia, Jane and David Fewson packed up their lives to travel Australia, and fell in love with the NSW Northern Rivers region. In 2014 they found a dilapidated 1970s house on a macadamia farm in a small town near Tintenbar, on Nyangbul land, 30 minutes south-west of Byron Bay. 

The couple have since completed extensive renovations to the house, and added an Airbnb rental (with a second in progress), alongside their daughter Hannah and a team of local craftspeople. Together, they have totally transformed the property into a serene, expansive family home that currently houses Jane and David, Hannah and her fiancé James Grant, and their 18-month-old daughter Purslane (Pursy). The young couple is currently renovating their own home – yep, on the same property!

Two houses, two Airbnbs, and three generations = one very special home for this family.

9th December, 2020

Hannah Fewson, with her parents Jane and David Fewson, and Hannah’s daughter Purslane (Pursy) with bull terrier Len and blue heeler Bean. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Artwork on the right made by a group of Namibian women using potato stamps. Artwork on right by Jane and David’s other daughter Holly Fewson back in high school. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

A mix of jasmine and bleeding heart vine comes in the upstairs windows, and fills the whole house with their heady scent in spring. Also in this room are the few pieces Jane shipped over from her family farm house in Yorkshire: an old oak chest, small turned rocking chair, and a timber inlay artwork inherited from her great aunty Anne on the wall. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

A long view of the ‘winter room’ running the width of the house painted in Dulux Natural White. Landscape on the end wall by  Shaz Rhodes. All furniture is from the tip shop, road side, inherited or thrifted. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Hannah breastfeeding and chatting with Jane. The two large picture frames windows at either end are called the ‘snorkels’ by the family, and you can sit in the window frames and watch storms come in. The two antique arm chairs were collected from hard rubbish and reupholstered. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

View from the main bedroom into the winter room. Antique chais collected from hard rubbish and reupholstered. P Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

View down the side hall into the guest bedroom and mini study desk. Central Desert carved snake above door. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Guest bedroom with a door into the walk-in robe. David built the bed from structural laminated veneer lumber left over from the stairs. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Main bedroom en suite with bath, antique French plant pot, Moroccan rug, and two old chairs for chatting! Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Another view of the guest bedroom. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Main bedroom with view into en suite. David made this bed from salvaged timber from the build, and eucalyptus sticks from the property. Jumbled mix of second hand furniture, rugs and cushions. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Downstairs view of the office. Antique ‘carpet chair.’ Copper plumbing pipe on the staircase balustrade. Tiny drink table made by Hannah from a stump and sticks.  Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

From the top of the stairwell, with spears from the Central Desert on the right. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The living room.  Art deco side lamp on the far right, and an old dentist’s floor lamp from the same era. Reupholstered road side rescued sofas. Mid-century Danish leather armchair. Old English tapestry above the fireplace. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Close up of the fireplace David bricked up. Old English tapestry above. Charcoal hand by Hannah. Large slab of limestone as the hearth from a local friend’s farm. Old English tapestry stool next to sofa. Detail of the wall light shrouds David had laser cut from ply. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The central pillar in the downstairs room sort of divides the space into office, dining, living, kitchen areas. ‘We call it the ‘aorta’ as we had to put it in to run all the plumbing and electrics from upstairs!’ says Hannah. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

All kitchen cabinetry made by a local friend from salvaged timber. Sliding window above cooktop acts as a rangehood. The floor is the original concrete slab of the house/the old floor of the garage downstairs. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The dining table was a former macadamia sorting table left in the shed when the property was bought! David made the top for it from timbers salvaged from old roof of the house. Hippeastrums from Hannah’s mother in law’s garden in a fish bowl on the table. Antique glass light shades bought off eBay. The huge Persian rug was found sodden outside a rug shop and bought for half price. ‘They left it in the rain and couldn’t move it – it was so heavy once it got wet!’ Hannah says. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The Paddock Hall guest house Airbnb built and run by the family on the same property. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

David in his everyday work attire in the potting shed. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Paddock Hall’s claw foot bath on the verandah. Photo –  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Hannah, Jane and Pursy on the lawn, in front of the sliding kitchen window, (for passing tea and toast through!). The family eat breakfast at the antique French wrought iron table.  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The impressive home exterior.  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

View from the pool to the barbecue area.  The golden cypress cladding is morphing and ‘greying off’ in the weather, as it is untreated.  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

The pool! ‘Perfect as it’s deciduous, so provides shade in summer and lets the warmth in in winter,’ says Hannah.  Jessie Prince for The Design Files. Styling – Louella Boitel-Gill

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 9th December 2020

‘Mum and Dad looked at many properties. This one’s location just felt right.’ – Hannah Fewson.

In 2014, Jane and David Fewson drove around Australia in an old converted fire engine. It was on this trip that they fell in love with the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, so much so that they decided to pack up their life in Fremantle and make the move to a small town located 30-minutes south-west of Byron Bay. They bought a large, rundown home on a 20-acre former macadamia farm that needed some serious work. 

Jane and David’s daughter Hannah Fewson joined them shortly after, to help with the renovations. ‘Mum and Dad looked at many properties. This one’s location just felt right, and we liked that although there wasn’t a grand view, all of the 20-acres were usable and not a steep escarpment,’ says Hannah.

Seven years later, and Jane, David, Hannah, her fiancé James and their 18-month-old daughter Purslane are all living in the spectacular home they built together. On the same 20-acre block is a cosy Airbnb rental Paddock Hall, built a couple of years ago and managed by Hannah, as well as an old Queenslander that Hannah and James had trucked down from Brisbane. They plan to move into it after they’ve completed their own renovation.

Jane and David’s house was in a state of disrepair when purchasing, but has now been completely transformed by the family. David owns the post and beam barn carpentry company Brotherwood, and undertook leading the charge of the renovations himself. 

It’s hard to believe this open, expansive home was once a was a large brick 1970s build with all the living upstairs, small hallways and pokey rooms. Downstairs was an enclosed drive-in garage with a roller door. Hannah explains just some of the extensive renovations they undertook: ‘We took the pitched roof off, brought the ceiling height up, and made a parapet around the new roof to give the external appearance of a flat roof. We clad the exterior upstairs with macrocarpa (or golden cypress) and rendered and painted the downstairs exterior. We polished the original concrete pad downstairs that became the floor for the living area, dining area and kitchen, and clad all the internal walls with lining boards.’

The whole configuration of the upstairs layout was changed, and the walls ripped out, to become four bedrooms, one ensuite and one bathroom.

Much of the family home has been made from found or upcycled materials. A local cabinet maker and friend built the kitchen out of found white beech, as well as all the internal doors and windows that were crafted from recycled timber. David built the dining room table out of timber from the original roof, and floorboards were discovered and polished after getting rid of the rotting orange (flea infested!) upstairs carpet!

Despite these significant changes, there are still a few footprints (literally) from the original owners. ‘Kenny’s [the previous owner’s] footprints are still in our polished concrete floors downstairs, as he poured the original pad and according to local lore, only owned one pair of shoes – the ones he was married in,’ says Hannah! 

The family have filled the spaces with mostly second hand pieces they’ve inherited, thrifted, reupholstered, or bought off Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. David also built some furniture items, including all the beds! A backdrop of crisp Dulux Natural White on the internal walls ties together this lovingly haphazard collection of pieces. 

As well as the renovations currently underway on Hannah and James’ transported  Queenslander (!), they group are also building another Airbnb on site, called One Oh Seven R. ‘It’s mid-century-esque underground concrete space, inspired by spaceships and the Thunderbirds. This will have a vegetated roof, a wall of massive steel, and glass sliding doors,’ says Hannah. We can’t WAIT to see how that turns out!

Find the Paddock Hall Airbnb here and keep up with One Oh Seven R’s progress here!

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