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A '70s Farm Shack In New South Wales Transformed Into A Idyllic Family Home

Homes

Troy Wilkinson, owner of Twil Constructions, first discovered this property in Broken Head (about 20 minutes south of Bryon Bay) while his partner, artist and co-owner of Yeah Nice Gallery, Jordana Henry, was pregnant and in Europe. It wasn’t ideal timing, but Troy was confident the 1970s farm shack could become their family home. 

Upon finally seeing the property in person, and hearing Troy’s vision for the space, Jordana agreed – she could definitely see their family growing old in this home.

Putting his professional building skills to good use, Troy has turned the once rundown house into an open, bright, and simple home for the young family of three (with another on the way!).

23rd December, 2020

The light-gilled kitchen contains a reclaimed vintage dining table. On the wall hangs a vintage Kandinsky exhibition poster (right) and a Minna Leunig print (left). Photo – Jessie Prince.

Above the reclaimed vintage table hangs a vintage Kandinsky exhibition poster (right) and a Minna Leunig print (left). Photo – Jessie Prince

Jordana Henry and her daughter, Minty! Photo – Jessie Prince

The home was renovated lovingly by owner Troy Wilkinson, founder of Twil Constructions. All the kitchen joinery was made by the couple’s good friend Martin Johnston. Photo – Jessie Prince

‘My partner is a builder and it was his decision to put this big servery window in the kitchen! It is definitely the heart of our home and conveniently located next to the coffee machine…’ says Jordana. Photo – Jessie Prince

‘I’m a big believer that things around the home should be both beautiful and useful! All my mugs and ceramics are made by hand by different artists including my beautiful friend Suraya Scully,’ says Jordana. Photo – Jessie Prince

All home renovations and improvements made to the 1970s home were completed by Jordana’s partner, Troy, under his building company Twil Constructions. Artwork above the chair is an aluminium etching from a body of work Jordana completed in 2012. Cushions and rug by Pampa. dining table is reclaimed vintage. Couch re-covered by Jordana’s friend Paige Miller from The Dusty Road upholstery. Photo – Jessie Prince

‘Artwork is an aluminium etching from my art school graduation body of work in 2012,’ says Jordana. ‘It is a piece of work and a concept that I plan on revisiting soon.’ The originally drab couch was reupholstered in sunshine yellow velvet by The Dusty Road – Jordan’s favourite piece in the home! Cane chair from Worn Store. Cushioned chair by JD.Lee Furniture. Cushions and rug by Pampa. Photo – Jessie Prince

The originally drab couch was reupholstered in sunshine yellow velvet by The Dusty Road – Jordan’s favourite piece in the home! Cane chair from Worn Store. Cushioned chair by JD.Lee Furniture. Cushions and rug by Pampa. Framed print is an aluminium etching from Jordana’s Year 12 studies! Photo – Jessie Prince

Artwork above fire place is by Anjuna Kalleila. Rug is by Pampa. Photo – Jessie Prince

Artwork by Anjuna Kalleila. Print on right by Minna Leunig. Photo – Jessie Prince

Pops of straw bring out the rattan in the furniture and natural tones in the soft furnishings. Photo – Jessie Prince

Minty’s room! Photo – Jessie Prince

The 1970s bathroom needed an update, luckily Troy was up to the job! Photo – Jessie Prince

A simple and pared back main bedroom. The bed is covered with vintage throws from Pampa. Photo – Jessie Prince

Jordana’s studio is located in a separate shed out the back! ‘It’s not glamorous and its often covered in charcoal and paint but it’s my happy place, somewhere I rarely let others into and where I feel the most myself,’ she says. Photo – Jessie Prince

In contrast to the house’s bright, simple interiors, the exterior is painted a fisherman’s shack black! Photo – Jessie Prince

The house and studio shed face each other, here shown from the angle of the spring-fed damn at the edge of the property. Tory built the decking and pool himself! Photo – Jessie Prince

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 23rd December 2020

‘I’m currently studying architecture and my partner is a builder, so we are constantly coming up with home improvements.’ – Jordana Henry

Jordana Henry, artist and co-owner of Yeah Nice Gallery, wasn’t initially sold on buying a rundown farm shack in Broken Head. ‘To be honest, I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first. Being pregnant and all wasn’t the greatest time to move and begin a renovation!’ she says. 

Despite these initial hesitations, her partner Troy Wilkinson, builder and owner of Twil Constructions, had a clear picture of what the space could be, so they set about transforming the house before the arrival of their daughter Minty (now 3 years old).

‘The house had good bones and a great character that we wanted to keep, so we painted the inside and outside, put in a new kitchen, en suite, servery window, decks, renovated the pool, built a two-bedroom studio on the property, put in an outdoor bath and shower… the list goes on!’ says Jordana. 

Over this period the couple quickly grew to love the home’s location, which is out of the hustle and bustle, but still close enough to the bush, beach, and Troy’s favourite surf spots. 

An unexpected element of the renovations (which were all done by Troy) was discovering more about the property’s history. ‘We found hundreds of old beer bottles stored under the house from the ‘70s,’ recalls Jordana. ‘This began my investigation into the history of our home and property, where I discovered that a local surfing legend built our home in the ‘70s, and it was a bit of a hippy commune and place to shape surfboards with some big time names!’

Jordana and Troy’s house today is a far cry from how it appeared four years ago, but the property continues to evolve to this day. ‘It’s a constant work in progress both on the inside of the house and through the 3.5 acres of property,’ Jordana says. ‘I’m currently studying architecture and my partner is a builder, so we are constantly coming up with home improvements.’

Jordana has come to learn this is all part of the renovating process. She explains, ‘You come to accept that it’s the journey and the slow, thoughtful adjustments that forever grow my appreciation for our home and the land it’s on.

We must say – the house already looks pretty perfect to us!

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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