After taking possession of this scenic property in the Blue Mountains in 2016, journalist and TV presenter Edwina Bartholomew and her partner Neil Varcoe spent the first few years focussed on renovating the farmhouse building, and tending to the land on the rundown property.
‘There was a green tree frog living in the loo and a garden hose connecting the tank to the house,’ remembers Edwina. ‘Like many renovators, if we knew how much work there was to do, we probably would never have started.’
The land had been overgrazed for many years and was in very tired condition. Neil and Edwina promptly removed all live stock for six months in order to rest the ground, and planted nearly 5,000 trees with the help of their neighbours and BirdLife NSW, to boost the site’s natural rehabilitation.
‘It’s very rewarding to see these trees towering over us now and the land and the creek that runs through the property slowly regenerating,’ says Edwina. The couple renamed the regenerated property ‘Warramba‘ and began to think about sharing its 100 acres of rolling land and wildlife with other guests.
The cottage was originally a shearer’s cottage and built out of sandstone from a nearby quarry in the 1800s. Given its rustic charm, Edwina and Neil resisted making too many changes – only what was necessary to bring the house into a liveable, 21st century standard.
They engaged Melbourne firm, Studio Esteta to advise on the updated design, structural layout and fixtures, and then local builders, Pirie Homes, to complete the renovation. The house now comfortably sleeps eight people across three bedrooms, with French doors and shuttered windows opening to the natural surrounds. From there, Edwina chose all the furnishings – right down to the antique Japanese fabrics in the living room! Other luxuries include the newly expanded bathroom, which contains a shower, bath and overhead skylight that floods the room with natural light.
According to Edwina, the two most idyllic spots on the property are the gorgeous wrap-around verandah, which offers a great view of the dam that kangaroos congregate around in the morning; and the swag deck at the top of the property – a standalone timber platform perched on a hill, which can be used for camping or simply a viewing spot to light a fire and watch the sunset over the rolling hills. Picture perfect!
Book a stay at Warramba here.