A Renovated House in Australia Was Converted into a “Modern Farmhouse with an Artistic Twist”

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Dog on IKEA POANG next to wood-burning stove

Name: Polla Posavec, husband, Dan, 11-year-old son, 18-year-old daughter (part-time), Millie the Labradoodle, Ollie the cockatoo, and assorted poultry
Location: Chittering, Western Australia, Australia
Type of home: Single-story house
Size: 1,615 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I was widowed at 30, when my son was an infant. It took a long time to rebuild my life and identity. When I met my now-husband, Dan, a couple of years later, he was a recent divorcee with a long history of moving regularly due to his former work in the military. Both of us bonded over an enthusiasm for home ownership and DIY, coupled with a deep longing to grow new and firm roots. We got married, and together we renovated the sprawling suburban house I bought after my late husband had passed. It was beautiful, but we had a desire to create something of our own together.

We made the radical decision to flee the suburbs for a “tree change” and chose 7 1/2 acres of bush in Chittering, an area of the Wheatbelt just beyond the outskirts of Western Australia’s capital city of Perth. The house is a single-story brick farmhouse surrounded by verandahs and gum trees. It is not that old (2001), but both the house and grounds were very plain, gently disheveled, and fairly neglected. So began our project changing every last inch of our home. Aside from engaging legally required trades and a flooring contractor, we have done all the work ourselves, from gutting and reinstalling the bathrooms, to the laundry and kitchen. We have painted, tiled, plastered, ripped down, built up, laid concrete, built walls. You name it, we’ve had a go.

I am a visual artist through and through. I have a degree in Fine Art, have studied interior design, and have a long history working in the graphic design industry as well. My sensibilities as both an artist and designer underpin all my decorative endeavors around the home. I am primarily a watercolor painter, and despite enjoying portraiture (particularly pets) I have found myself very inspired by the immediate natural environment. Since moving to this house, my subjects have commonly been local birds and flora I see every day. My paintings and photographs feature strongly in the house, and the current pale green palette is inspired by the leaves we see out the window. We also use elements of natural timber — ideally Australian natives ethically sourced — in every room.

Four years later, and the interior is very nearly complete. We juggle working on the inside with managing the property beyond these walls. The land and outbuildings have needed a lot of care and development as well. Fire management is an essential part of living in rural Australia, and we have taken great care to start revegetating bushland, encouraging the local wildlife to make their homes and develop our own more sustainable lifestyle. The house is off-grid except for electricity, and maybe we will be able to go completely off-grid one day. We keep bees, chooks, and turkeys, grow vegetables, and try and live a simple, minimalist life.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern farmhouse with an artistic twist.

What is your favorite room and why? My studio nook. It’s only a small space, but it is comfortable, bright, and well-appointed. It was originally listed on the plans as a bar area, but after knocking out a slit window and replacing it with a large picture window, a great little area was created. My specialist watercolor easel sits on one side and my computer on the other side on a long desk we designed and made to fit the space perfectly. I have the best view in the house where I can see birds and kangaroos passing by!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We work to a small budget and like to recycle, so we are constantly on the hunt for secondhand gems. Our most recent find was a pair of timber doors on Facebook Marketplace, which we converted into barn doors that divide our living and dining space. They have glass panels depicting splendid wrens, which are my favorite birds living on our property. It was perfectly serendipitous.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Use original art! If you are not a maker yourself, there are many ways to source affordable, original art that will not only be more meaningful to you than a mass-produced print, but will also add meaningful layers to your home’s interior design. It also won’t be the same as anyone else’s.

If you are not planning to sell your house in the near future, don’t be afraid to make it your home with colors and finishes that speak to you, rather than follow trends blindly. That creates too much waste. For coherence, keep a reasonably consistent palette and style, taking care to visually balance your spaces. Take your time, and have patience in selecting. Don’t be afraid to wait to find that perfect piece.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.