Saturday, October 31, 2015

Martinsell Estate, Pewsey Vale #Barossa Valley - for sale

This weekend there is a lot of local media around the sale of this Georgian style home at Pewsey Vale in the Barossa Valley, under an hours drive from Adelaide.  The interest stems from Martinsell Estate being a beautiful home in one of the great wine growing regions in the world and the parochial fact that it is the former home of the late Sir Alick and Lady Mary Downer, the parents of Alexander Downer the former Foreign Minister of Australia between 1996 and 2007. Alick died some years ago but Mary only died earlier this year.  In an interesting twist of fate, Alexander Downer is now the High Commissioner in London, a job his father Alick occupied when Alexander was a child. But given Alexander is living in London, they have decided to sell the estate.

The home is set on 77 acres. The property comprises the main house of 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, a 3 bedroom cottage, 12 acres of sauvignon blanc vines and extensive gardens.

Alexander's wife Nicky in the library of the main house. Photo via The Advertiser

The house is decorated  more in keeping with the fashions of the 1950s than today's. Nonetheless, the home is elegant and tasteful.

The kitchen and bathrooms look largely original, or at least little has been done to them since the 1950s. But very clean.

There are a number of outbuildings, including an old apple packing shed, which could be used for shindigs.

photos from

Wondering where the name Martinsell Estate came from, I found that Pewsey Vale is named after the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, England and Martinsell is a large hill on the outskirts of Pewsey. So there you go, learned something new.

The estate agents believe 55 Wirra Wirra Road Pewsey Vale could sell for as much as $2million.

Friday, October 30, 2015

My sister's beautiful #art


My sister, Jean Winter, is a very talented artist.

Barrier Reef Turtles

Jean has been working as an artist for many years and has received awards and success. Hungry for knowledge of different techniques, a couple of years ago Jean began a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design at the Adelaide College of the Arts.

Hibiscus. Available as a scarf.

Handmaiden to Olympus - interpretation

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Proterozoic Australia. Available as a scarf

Many of Jean's designs are available as beautiful silk scarfs at Pepper Street Gallery on Magill Road, Gallery M at Marion or by contacting Jean direct at

Gumnuts. Available as a scarf

Fleur De Lis. Available as a scarf

Hidden cat, part of a series of charcoal drawings...

If you would like to purchase any of Jean's artworks, click through to  Saatchi Art or you could contact Jean direct at

Friday, October 16, 2015

British Colonial styling

I've long been fascinated with colonial architecture and design.  Louvres, ceiling fans, campaign furniture, palms, rattan, and even perhaps a bit of netting - all combine to set a mood of slow, languid, hot, lazy days.  I could imagine myself dressed in a long flowing white cotton dress, with elegant leather sandals on my feet and perhaps a pith helmet at the ready for tackling the outdoors.  In these moments, I am sitting on a large wicker chair on a wide, shady verandah, with a gin and tonic (make that a pitcher) on the table beside me.

I've just stepped off the verandah for a stroll in the gardens.

Since the early 17th century the British empire expanded to all corners of the globe, including Australia.  As a schoolgirl I remember the old canvas map, occasionally pulled down in front of the classroom blackboard, being liberally dotted in pink to denote the British empire.  The British colonised large parts of Africa, India, Asia, and the Americas. At its height, the British empire ruled over a quarter of the world's land and peoples.  Not so today.  However, the British colonial architect still resonates today, along with French and Spanish influences.

I'm particularly partial to a bit of African and Asian British and French colonial myself.
But going with the British African colonial, doesn't a bit of faux zebra work well?  I'm not into animal heads, particular not the real ones.  Indeed, I abhor game hunting.  Such a disgraceful act.
However, as for the zebra pattern in soft furnishings, that can work very well as a design element.

My own touch of zebra inspired colonial in the bedroom

While living in Brisbane we picked up this zebra patterned chair and footstool.  Just the thing for the bedroom, I thought.

But the chair was looking lonely and needed something to tie it into the rest of the room.  How about matching cushions and a throw for the bed, I mused. But where do I get zebra cushions and a throw in a matching tan fabric?  Well, what did we do without the internet? I did visit a few of my favourite homeware shops but had no luck.  So, I went online and found a company called Unique Home Decor based in the Gold Coast - they had exactly what I was looking for.  And even better, they source their cushions and throws from local craftsmen and women in Africa, helping to sustain local communities.

But I'm now feeling the walls need a bit of zing and while I have never been a wallpaper person I'm starting to think perhaps a feature wall could benefit from some wallpaper?

I quite like the indo-chine look, but would it go with the African zebra theme?

Or perhaps the tropical palm feel?

What do you think?   The bedroom looks just looks a little bare don't you think?

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

South Australian Coastal Architecture # #Carrickalinga #Aldinga #Beach #Architecture #KangarooIsland

It's beach weather already. It was 36 degree celsius (or over 100 degrees in the old lingo) yesterday.  The hottest October day on record in Adelaide.  But that is nothing to the 40 degrees recorded in northern parts of the state.

The heat brings me to thinking of beach holidays or even permanent beach living. I've been fascinated with a beautiful new beach house that was built in Carrickalinga a few years ago.

Built by Pauline Hurren Architects, it makes a feature of Basket Range stone.

The home takes in wonderful views along the coast.  If you are interested to see more you can click here


While more modest, this open plan beach home at Aldinga has some spectacular views.

It's for sale here


Or perhaps 470 acres on Kangaroo Island is more your style?

For more information on the Nepean property on Kangaroo Island, click here


Or why not renovate in the sand dunes of 110 metres of absolute beach front.  This piece of paradise can be found at Brown's Beach on Kangaroo Island.

And is for sale here.

Bring on summer and relaxing days spent in bathers, sarong and a floppy hat... and of course a good book or two, a glass of wine, some seafood on the BBQ.......