We caught up with our friend and stylist Jono Flemming at his farm near Little Hartley on the other side of the Blue Mountains. He's been raving about this joint for years, so we asked if we could have a sneak peek of his little piece of paradise. We asked him a few home truths on what makes it his favourite place to retreat to. I for one am totally jealous of wines in the pines and am sniffing out an invite to his next soiree. Here's what he had to share on matters of the home. Enjoy
What's the most important room for you in your house and why?
I love the main living room at the farmhouse, it truly is the heart of the home. The large double-height fireplace is the focal point in the space, and it's surrounded by a mix of rugs and comfortable furniture. When you arrive at the house you instantly want to drop your bags, head to the couch, kick your feet up, and relax. When you get there, you're home.
How would you describe your style? Do you have a go-to look?
I like to mix it up when it comes to my style. I think I'm more maximalist over minimalist… My home in the city is filled with an assortment of art and decor and I guess the same applies to the farm. The farm has the luxury of space, so the goal with style there is to create smaller moments that bring personality and warmth. There's still an eclectic vibe, a more 'collected' style to the farm, to add layer and history to the home.
What was the farm like when you purchased it?
The property itself was bought in 1969 by my grandfather and has been in the family ever since. We grew up there in a very basic shack, no oven or stove; every meal was on the bbq. Then we moved into the caretaker's cottage and gave that a little renovation, and it was like luxury compared to the last shack! After a while, though, and when the time was right, we decided to build the dream house up there. My dad had myself and a friend, Allison Williams from Green Apple ID, design the place and it's been a joy and escape for the family and so many friends ever since.
Where do you like to hang in the house most?
I love my bedroom there; it's the ultimate escape and sanctuary. I love having people at the farm, it was built for entertaining but now and then you need a time out, and my room is designed specifically to calm. With a dark teal colour on the walls, it's warm and enveloping, with a little reading nook by the window that looks out onto the pine forest. I layered colours, textures, and artwork to create a little slice of heaven for myself.
What's your favourite downtime activity?
Every year I invite friends over, and we do what I call 'Wine in the Pines'. I take tables into the pine forest, everyone does a BYO wine and cheese, and we set it all up down the tables and feast. Pretty much an arvo of drinking and eating until it's dark and we light a fire and keep going. It seems like a lot of work for downtime, but it's such a special occasion every time, you're a million miles from work, the city, and life, you forget about all of it and unwind.
Most people are finding being at home a major benefit to their stress levels? How are you managing you're at home COVID experience?
I've been so lucky to be able to escape to the farm during these strange times. I went up with my partner and my parents quite early, and we spent over a month up there. It was the longest I'd ever spent there in one period and, I keep using the same word, but it was an escape. With little reception and town about 30 minutes away, it was true isolation, but one I adapted to pretty well. I spent my days doing work, but also fixed the garden, walking through the forest and rearranging and styling the house. I like to move things around from room to room to give it a refresh on a budget.
What's your hot tip for styling a space like yours?
I always think when styling a space that you are going live in, start slowly. There's no rush to fill it with things right from the start. Begin with your larger pieces, then begin to layer and layer over time. Save up for articles you want and support businesses you like. By slowly investing in pieces, you'll be making sure you buy quality items, and each one will have meaning to you.
What's your favourite object or artwork in your home, and why?
I love our sofa at the farm. The key to all the furniture and decor I selected was that I didn't want people to get up there and feel like they were restricted and couldn't relax. The sofa has big oversized floppy arm cushions, and it looks relaxed. It encourages you to kick off your shoes and lie on it, that's the trick, comfortable furniture.
What's the best idea you've seen in your travels and bought back home and incorporated it into your home?
In a place like the farm, it was home, but it was also a weekender, so I wanted a little bit of that luxury hotel feeling in the bedrooms. Wall sconces and great bedside tables help add that elegant feeling, it feels bespoke and thought out, and fewer cords help set that mood.