Adelaide Bragg, who learnt her trade at Colefax & Fowler, gives us an advanced lesson in blending old and new.

March 26, 2019

This historic home revamped by one of Australia’s top interior design talents, Adelaide Bragg is one of the original properties in the Western District of Victoria and is part of a working sheep and cattle station.

The things that are unique about the house are its privacy, the land that it’s on, and the view of rolling hills with huge red gums trees towards the Grampian Mountains.  And of course, the house’s bones and the footprint itself.

Bragg, who learned her trade at Colefax & Fowler, and now works for some of the country’s most prominent families, private clubs and style set, provided an earthy palette with caramel, reds, pinks, sage green and chocolate. Plus a new extension for unostentatious living that is an advanced lesson in blending old and new.

Respecting the house’s history and sympathetically blending it with the new was the prime consideration in the revamp of this historically significant homestead in Victoria, which is located 342 kilometres west of Melbourne near Dunkeld.

“We had previously worked on their Melbourne apartment and were delighted to decorate their family home. It needed to be warm, welcoming and liveable,” says Adelaide in a Belle magazine article, previously published on the house.

“The interior had to be practical as it was a working property and they have family and grandchildren visiting often,” says Adelaide.

“They also wanted the new extension to join seamlessly with the old house. The client has very good antique furniture and art, and loves an earthy palette. They did not want anything too ‘pretty’.”

“The house had amazing bones but was tired. The configuration didn’t work for a modern family and it also needed more light coming in. There were many different levels which needed tidying up.”

The renovation was extensive yet sensitive with the original back of the house transformed into an airy, front entrance that opens to a wide and uncluttered light-filled generous entry space with a collection of botanical fern prints on one wall and old wool baskets flanking the front door.

A large new-build kitchen-cum-family room was added with a fireplace and an Aga stove which flows through to a large low-key verandah where the family can eat outdoors, that can be used every day. Turning this area into an open-plan flowing space has given the house a more contemporary feel.

The palette, fabric and finishes were the real point of difference. From a design perspective, things have been chosen that don’t look out of place in the historic house, but will still look fresh in 20 years time.

Despite staying true to the soul of the house, it was about making it liveable, and nudging the place forward with fresh colours, fabrics, fittings, and flooring that had visual interest, character and didn’t clash.

Adelaide’s favourite spaces include the different zones which she created with a large dining table surrounded by 16 chairs that divide the main living room and add textural layering.

She lightened up rooms with soft, earthy materials. The Kravet fabric on the chairs reference horse saddle blankets. The huge rooster paintings are an unexpected touch of whimsy. The light pendants made from old olive baskets are a focal point in the kitchen. The benchtops are Monoleath, which resemble concrete but are more practical. Read more, ‘How to Decorate Your Shelves Like an Interior Designer.

“We used the same colours, tones, and finishes everywhere, for a sense of flow”, says Adelaide. This sense of unity creates an impression of space, style and proportion. They make the house feel warm, inviting and textural.” Read more, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Decorate Your Home.’

Adelaide, who has recently launched Bragg & Co, (producing handmade homewares including the best table lamps around), knows the importance of layered lighting in a room. Each room is a good example of creating atmosphere, with the right table lamps that create a contrast between the middle of the room, its edges, and the darker spaces between. Other top designers have embraced Adelaide’s table lamps. Read more, ‘Permission to Fawn Over This Table Lamp Brand. 

Oak floorboards combined with sisal rugs and cow skins are used for flooring throughout to unify areas and create a feeling of warmth and texture.

It is a great lesson in how an old house can be altered in a sympathetic way to honour its past glory and make it work for modern family life.

The renovations are sympathetic to the existing house, with high ceilings, large well-proportioned rooms and simple joinery.  There is a mix of large communal areas to gather and entertain, and small private rooms to retreat.

The house is now a perfect balance of profoundly beautiful modern country meets comfort where nothing draws attention to itself.

An elegant, fresh Australian house for modern living, distinctive for its warm palette with no more decoration than necessary. “I think we successfully met the brief and created a liveable and beautiful home that has an effortless elegance and timelessness,” says Adelaide.



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