Designer transforms 1860s farming cottage into coastal Hamptons-style mansion in a small rural town

An award-winning home designer has transformed her husband’s 1860s farmhouse into a luxury coastal-inspired mansion on a 1,000sqm property surrounded by wheat fields.

‘The Farm Estate’ has been in Mark Bowen’s family for five generations, with his wife Natalee Bowen seeing the potential for the rural landscape of Toodyay, Western Australia, to become the perfect backdrop for her glamorous ‘Hamptons’ vision. 

An hour’s drive from Perth, Toodyay is a small town in the Wheatbelt region of the state and is part of the stunning Avon Valley which has a population of just 4,439 people stretched over 1,683 kilometres.  

‘Mark’s fifth generation grandfather Michael built this rundown farmhouse with his own two hands many years ago,’ Natalee said on Channel Nine series Ready Set Reno.

They created two huge wings that extended out of the original farmhouse, which they kept in tact for sentimental reasons, and finished it at a record-pace of 11 months.

‘The Australian Hamptons look is uniquely our own, standing apart from the American original,’ Natalee said.

An award-winning home designer has transformed her 1860s farmhouse into a luxury coastal-inspired mansion on a 1,000sqm property surrounded by wheat fields

An award-winning home designer has transformed her 1860s farmhouse into a luxury coastal-inspired mansion on a 1,000sqm property surrounded by wheat fields

An award-winning home designer has transformed her 1860s farmhouse into a luxury coastal-inspired mansion on a 1,000sqm property surrounded by wheat fields 

'The Australian Hamptons look is uniquely our own, standing apart from the American original,' Natalee, the designer, said

'The Australian Hamptons look is uniquely our own, standing apart from the American original,' Natalee, the designer, said

‘The Australian Hamptons look is uniquely our own, standing apart from the American original,’ Natalee, the designer, said

HOW TO GET THE HAMPTONS LOOK ACCORDING TO NATALEE BOWEN 

* Start with a weatherboard exterior – you want to create long, lean lines and deep shadows.

* Capture the colours of the coast such as whites, blues, greens and creams because these are essential to Hamptons style.

* Hamptons homes are synonymous with airy, light-filled spaces, so positioning the doors and windows to maximise light is key. This means considering sliding French doors, oversized bi-folds and floor-to-ceiling glass window panes. 

* An alfresco kitchen, pool, deck, or just large sliding doors that open up your home to the backyard are ideal for creating the perfect outdoor entertaining space. 

* When it comes to furnishings, nautical-inspired pieces are a signature element of the Hamptons style. 

Source: Scyon Walls 

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‘It combines the original tenants of timeless style that evoke the surrounds and a love of entertaining, with Australian hues and classic weatherboard. 

‘We wanted to embody those ideas in The Farm Estate by continuing the legacy of the traditional home, while exploring that of the Hamptons style.’

The Hamptons is synonymous with celebrity and extravagance but this is a recent incarnation of the look that appeared in the last 20-30 years, when Manhattan’s high society developed the coastline by emulating farm houses seen further inland.  

Upon first look at the new mansion it’s easy to see the grandeur of the Hamptons style thanks to the addition of two wings and a refined roofline accented with gables (a triangular portion of the wall).

At the same time an extensive veranda, corrugated iron roof and a full Linea Weatherboard exterior created with James Hardie products ties the home to the classic Queenslander style.

At the same time an extensive veranda, corrugated iron roof and a full Linea Weatherboard exterior created with James Hardie products ties the home to the classic Queenslander style (the deck pictured)

At the same time an extensive veranda, corrugated iron roof and a full Linea Weatherboard exterior created with James Hardie products ties the home to the classic Queenslander style (the deck pictured)

At the same time an extensive veranda, corrugated iron roof and a full Linea Weatherboard exterior created with James Hardie products ties the home to the classic Queenslander style (the deck pictured)

'Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard. This offers an element of texture with simple shadow lines and an air of craftsmanship,' Natalee said (the deck pictured)

'Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard. This offers an element of texture with simple shadow lines and an air of craftsmanship,' Natalee said (the deck pictured)

‘Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard. This offers an element of texture with simple shadow lines and an air of craftsmanship,’ Natalee said (the deck pictured)

It's the living area that offers the most spectacular scene: A view outside onto the surrounding property to remind you just how far the sea is from there (pictured)

It's the living area that offers the most spectacular scene: A view outside onto the surrounding property to remind you just how far the sea is from there (pictured)

It’s the living area that offers the most spectacular scene: A view outside onto the surrounding property to remind you just how far the sea is from there (pictured)

The soft blue of the kitchen (pictured) is meant to be an ode to the blue sky permeating outside

The soft blue of the kitchen (pictured) is meant to be an ode to the blue sky permeating outside

The soft blue of the kitchen (pictured) is meant to be an ode to the blue sky permeating outside

‘Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard. This offers an element of texture with simple shadow lines and an air of craftsmanship,’ Natalee said.

In America they use shingles (individually overlapping roof coverings) which are staggered to create a more complex pattern and over time, fade to light grey in the sun giving a home a sense of timeless charm. 

Traditionally this would require timber which is relatively high maintenance in the long run. Thankfully, there are modern alternatives like weatherboard, which is made from thick boards of premium fibre cement that create deep, defined shadow lines. 

They are also resistant to warping, flaking and damage from moisture and fire, so they hold the look longer in our harsher Australian elements.

In most cases, the palette of a Hamptons home is defined by the coast, but in rural WA, a new approach had to be taken

In most cases, the palette of a Hamptons home is defined by the coast, but in rural WA, a new approach had to be taken

In most cases, the palette of a Hamptons home is defined by the coast, but in rural WA, a new approach had to be taken

'Hamptons is built on sun, sea and sand, so we turned to our surrounds. We tested different white and grey paints for two weeks before settling on Dulux's Milton Moon and Lexicon quarter strength,' Natalee said

'Hamptons is built on sun, sea and sand, so we turned to our surrounds. We tested different white and grey paints for two weeks before settling on Dulux's Milton Moon and Lexicon quarter strength,' Natalee said

'Greys in particular can be very reflective so we went with a tone that would contrast against the white, without overpowering the facade. Grey with white details is a very traditional Hampton look that won't outdate. When choosing colourways think long term, as it is a big investment that you'll have to live with or make costly changes,' she said

'Greys in particular can be very reflective so we went with a tone that would contrast against the white, without overpowering the facade. Grey with white details is a very traditional Hampton look that won't outdate. When choosing colourways think long term, as it is a big investment that you'll have to live with or make costly changes,' she said

‘Hamptons is built on sun, sea and sand, so we turned to our surrounds. We tested different white and grey paints for two weeks before settling on Dulux’s Milton Moon and Lexicon quarter strength,’ Natalee said

In most cases, the palette of a Hamptons home is defined by the coast, but in rural WA, a new approach had to be taken.

‘Hamptons is built on sun, sea and sand, so we turned to our surrounds. We tested different white and grey paints for two weeks before settling on Dulux’s Milton Moon and Lexicon quarter strength,’ Natalee said.

‘Greys in particular can be very reflective so we went with a tone that would contrast against the white, without overpowering the facade. Grey with white details is a very traditional Hampton look that won’t outdate. When choosing colourways think long term, as it is a big investment that you’ll have to live with or make costly changes.’ 

While the exterior certainly sets the scene it’s the inside that contains the real essence of the home, with multiple entertaining areas a prime focus for the designer. 

While the exterior certainly sets the scene it's the inside that contains the real essence of the home, with multiple entertaining areas a prime focus for the designer (a bathroom pictured)

While the exterior certainly sets the scene it's the inside that contains the real essence of the home, with multiple entertaining areas a prime focus for the designer (a bathroom pictured)

While the exterior certainly sets the scene it’s the inside that contains the real essence of the home, with multiple entertaining areas a prime focus for the designer (a bathroom pictured)

The bathrooms are crisp in their design and have a lot of room to get ready for the day

The bathrooms are crisp in their design and have a lot of room to get ready for the day

The shower becomes a room on its own inside the house

The shower becomes a room on its own inside the house

The bathrooms are crisp in their design and have a lot of room to get ready for the day (pictured right is the shower)

A little taste of luxury has been added to the bedrooms, which feature plush linen (pictured) and softer hues to balance out the dusty orange Earth outside

A little taste of luxury has been added to the bedrooms, which feature plush linen (pictured) and softer hues to balance out the dusty orange Earth outside

A little taste of luxury has been added to the bedrooms, which feature plush linen (pictured) and softer hues to balance out the dusty orange Earth outside

Additions such as blue and white ginger jars and numerous seating options pay homage to generations of Bowens. 

Even though they wanted to keep tradition alive in the home, it has become ‘smarter’ in the process with every light fixture and switch able to be turned on through Amazon Alexa, and interconnected with the family’s smart phones. 

In the kitchen, cabinets have been given a twist with a navy finish, part of a unique colour palette that also reflects the surrounds. Smeg appliances were installed and a ‘pot filler’ juts out from the wall, making it easy to fill a large pot with water without juggling it over the sink.

The kitchen is quaint and easy to navigate but it’s the living area that offers the most spectacular scene: A view outside onto the surrounding property to remind you just how far away the sea is.  

There is a hanging chair outside if you're looking for a comfortable place to read your next book

There is a hanging chair outside if you're looking for a comfortable place to read your next book

There is a hanging chair outside if you’re looking for a comfortable place to read your next book

It’s one of Natalee’s favourite parts of the new build, as is the wraparound deck she can relax on with her family. 

‘We’ve injected the home with an Aussie feel through colour,’ Natalee said.

‘Downstairs we’ve used richer caramels and softer blues to mirror the wheat fields and sky outside. Upstairs, muted greens emulate the beautiful native treetops. It’s the best way to honour both looks.’ 

A little taste of luxury has been added to the bedrooms, which feature plush linen and softer hues to balance out the dusty orange Earth outside, and the ensuite bathrooms with large bathtubs and showers. 

A pool sits just outside surrounded by outdoor chairs, perfect for the children to splash around in during summer, and a cabana offers shade for the adults to relax in. 

The house was meant to be a ‘weekender’ but will now become the full-time home for the Bowen family, although they have dreams of converting it into a space for weddings and large events in the future.

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