If you've been following our socials lately, you might have wondered what beautiful part of the world we'd landed in and how can you get to be there too! We were lucky enough to set up camp and shoot our latest range at The Colo, a fantastic property deep in the heart of the Colo Valley 2 hours out of Sydney. Built from remnants of old film sets and found treasures over 25 plus years, this collaboration of creative mates has produced a unique and impressive family getaway.
It reminded us of a magical theme park lost and hidden by the vast forests surrounding it. The Colo not only sleeps fifteen or more guests, it includes an indoor skate ramp and a sandstone bathhouse with an open roof for real forest bathing. Look a little harder, and you'll discover secret places to escape to in every corner - hammocks, trapeze nets, freshwater swimming spots, fires pits, and a greenhouse for hosting enchanting dinners.
You both have creative job roles? Why did you choose that avenue?
I didn't always work with flowers; it was a lifestyle change that has worked out well. I've always loved flowers. Luckily, we have been surrounded by creative people who inspire, encourage, and guide us down a creative road.
How did your home evolve at The Colo?
We just started a collection of recycled materials. 3 bower birds collecting stuff. We all work in the film industry, so a lot of materials have come from film sets. There is a history of pieces from Australian films reworked into The Colo. Other materials have been salvaged and restored. When we began, all we paid for was fasteners and cartage. A lot of hard work from Adam, Jez, John, Claudia, myself and many of our friends and family. Most weekends we'd be up at The Colo building.
What's the most important space in your house, and why?
The last thing we built gives us the greatest pleasure. Building your own home over a long period, you get to appreciate every element as it happens. A wall frame clad, a roof over the veranda, hanging a bathroom door creating privacy was a delight. We have just laid a path of Belgian cobblestones, and that is giving us particular joy right now. There are so many fond memories of building the house with friends. Even the mistakes are happy ones.
You have a lot of textures in your home? What's that all about?
Over the years we've been given a lot of materials, so it's a case of building what you have into the design. The bathhouse was designed around the stain glass window. John Cann had acquired it from the Harbour masters house in Vaucluse before it was demolished. We didn't realise what it was until after he had passed away. It made perfect sense for it to be the starting point. There are four partners in the property, so everyone brings their own taste along. It works well…. most of the time.
What was the property like when you purchased it?
Adam, Jez and John purchased the land about a year before I met Adam in 1994. The liquid Amber trees were there, but nothing else. It was a cleared field that had once been an orange orchard. We would camp in tents, cook on the fire and wash up in the river. We started building and planting trees. 26 years later, we are still planting and building with no plans on stopping.
Where do you like to hang most in the house? And Why?
That depends on the time of the day and season. Mornings on the veranda, afternoons in the river, sunset in Little Italy and a long lunches under the Liquid Ambers in between. The festoon lights make it something else in the evening. Lying on the grass, watching a film or the stars coming out is always delightful.
What's your favourite slow activity at home?
I'm actually very good at relaxing when I get to The Colo. Reading, knitting, cooking and afternoon naps … Adam is the complete opposite. I think I saw him in the hammock resting once.
How do you manage running this property from a distance?
Hats off to Adam for this one. He does most of the maintenance on the property. I help when I can. The property would be overgrown and unfinished if it wasn't for Adam's endless energy and enthusiasm.
What's your most favourite item that enhances the style in your space.
I love the curved windows. There's a story behind those…. Salvaged and restored. Some of them were really far gone. They have been used in all 3 buildings, and they tie the place together.
The style of The Colo has evolved over the years and keeps evolving. Each building is influenced by the type of materials we have a lot of or seek out. We have still got a few things to build….the cellar and hall are next.
What's your most favourite object or artwork at home, and why?
There's a lot of art hanging at The Colo. Most of it from Pod Theatre, a gallery Adam had many years ago in Taylor Square. For me, it represents Adam and his beginnings. It's one of the many things I love about him.
I love the Owl bedhead painted by our dear friend Joshua Yeldham. I remember Josh uttering he felt like painting something, and Adam jumped up and found him a bedhead, the biggest flat surface he could find.
What's the best idea you've seen in your travels and brought back home and incorporated into your home?
We have a squat toilet we brought back in our luggage from Bali many years ago. Haven't managed to put it anywhere yet. Have you seen Adam's toilet roll collection? But it's not about the toilets…you can't help but be inspired by ideas while travelling. It can be as simple as the way stones have been laid, the design of a path, the pattern of trees or craftsmanship of a join. Which does make for an unusual photo album of the holiday.