Country meets coast: What’s behind Natalee Bowen’s Toodyay Farmhouse?
In the tucked-away town of Toodyay in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region, there’s an old 1860s farmhouse defining a new look: the Australian Hamptons home. Renovated by internationally renowned Natalee Bowen – of Indah Island fame – this remarkable property perfectly marries country and coast for a home like no other.
Here, Natalee shares her insights on what made this transformation so special – from the façade to the feel, the colours to the products used. Let’s find out what makes this farmhouse so special.
Finding a home for the Australian Hamptons look
A 19th century farmhouse set in the remote West Australian Wheatbelt region is probably the last place you’d expect to find a defining style of home. But that’s exactly what you get from the phenomenal Toodyay Farmhouse.
Turning a rundown building into a house that truly feels like a home is challenging at the best of times. Luckily, the farmhouse once belonged to the great grandfather of Natalee Bowen’s husband – and Natalee was the perfect design expert for such a massive renovation project.
“We wanted to keep this build quite simple and structured, while at the same time highlighting things like the beautiful vaulted ceiling and feature walls,” Natalee says. “Paying homage back to the original building was always forefront in our minds.”
As arguably Australia’s foremost Hamptons expert, it’s unsurprising that Natalee chose to incorporate many of those classic elements into her farmhouse build – but with an Australian twist. Incorporating details such as a wide veranda and large open windows that highlight the magnificent view really made this space feel like home.
The façade and the colours
What makes this renovation so unique is the differences Natalee incorporated between the traditional American Hamptons style and her own spin on Australian Hamptons. It all starts with the façade.
“The way that we’ve imported what we used as a shingle – in contrast to the classic American home – is the Linea™ weatherboard,” Natalee says. “It has that beautiful weatherboard look with streamlined elegance, but it’s more durable than an American wood shingle that’s typically aged to be grey.”
The colourways of a Hamptons-style home in Australia are also moving beyond the standard derivative tones – and for Natalee’s Toodyay reno, she took that idea to the next level.
“The Australian Hamptons look now incorporates colours that are quite out there,” she says. “Dark colours like navy and black contrast against whites – it’s quite a heavy approach to the colourways rather than the softer American approach of greys and soft blues.”
Compounding the differences of an Australian Hamptons look, the Toodyay Farmhouse delivers a striking Queenslander vibe thanks to its open-air, wrap-around verandah that draws the eye towards massive floor-to-ceiling windows. Chippendale balustrades stand out against a colour palette that mixes Hamptons with Boho. Then there are additions like the simple large gables and charming verandah seating that really makes this build feel like home.
Bringing it all together with James Hardie products
A long-time advocate for James Hardie products in her previous renovations, it’s no wonder Natalee decided to use a variety of solutions in Toodyay.
HardieGroove™ lining elevates the ceiling with a simple yet structured look, drawing attention upwards to the incredible vaulted roof. It’s also used to create the ‘Akubra’ feature wall that harks back to the farmhouse’s working-class history.
In the bathroom, Axon™ cladding allows the flow of the home to carry into the bathroom without fear of rot or water damage. Its waterproof properties protect the elegant design and allow the details to really sing.
Then of course there’s the stunning Linea weatherboard that is the heart and soul of the Hamptons look. A bright beacon welcoming visitors to the farmhouse, Linea provides protection against the harsh West Australian sun for long-term durability and a finish that defines this Australian Hamptons home.
Whether you want to stick to the classic Hamptons look or embrace the Australian version, get inspired by our Inspiration Gallery and download our Home Renovation Guide. You can also read more about the Toodyay Farmhouse renovation here.