For this home tour, we take you to the light & bright Bangalow home of marketing specialist & creative Abbey Batchelor (@_abbeysarah_ & @sansomhome). The home is an embodiment of 'the best of both worlds' with a cosy, restored 1880s cottage at the front that houses the family's bedrooms with a breezy, open plan extension at the back for the living spaces. We chat with Abbey about all things renovation & design, how she keeps things fresh & clutter free and what home means to her.
Come take the tour & read her thoughtful interview.
SHOP THE LOOK
Linen round pendant in ivory — large | Linen pear pendant in ivory | Round elephant grass basket | Cotton handloomed throw in stone & natural | Cotton handloomed throw in natural & clay | Shearling lounge chair | Round cushion in natural | Cotton handwoven cushion in stripe — square | Grid stripe cushion in sand & natural | Round oak serving board — extra large | Ceramic tumbler
Who lives here & what do they do…
Abbey Batchelor, Marketing Specialist, husband Riley, entrepreneur, children Marlo (11) and Bowie (8) and Puppy Goldie.
A place that holds us both literally and figuratively as we navigate this wild and magical ride through life! It is our anchor, a constant, a base to connect and reflect at the end of the day and a witness to the lives and stories that play out within it.
My home story...
We were initially living down the road from this house when first moved to the area 5 years ago and had always loved it, - it has a huge tree locally known as “the Teddy Bear tree” out the front with a swing where my children often played, so we were familiar with it and often said if it was ever for sale we would love to buy it. As luck would have it we had to move out of our place at short notice and it popped up for sale at the same time to become ours! We lived in the house and got a feel for it for a year or so before working on a plan to create a bit more space, accommodate visiting family and friends and better suit our lifestyle.
The front of the house is an 1880’s cottage that the previous owners had, thankfully, already meticulously restored, so we have largely left this part untouched with original weatherboards just needing a fresh coat of paint. We enclosed the original lounge room to make a guest room and added an ensuite to the master. To accommodate our growing family we decided to build a barn-like extension out the back that would contrast with the original cottage and offer a more functional space for family living. We feel like we get the best of both worlds, a cosy cottage at the front with our bedrooms and a more modern open space at the back that flows to the outdoors that is perfect for entertaining.
What inspired the design of your home?
We loved the original cottage but it was very compact and we felt we would outgrow it if we didn’t create more space for living. Rather than trying to replicate the original cottage we decided to juxtapose it with a more modern extension - a black exterior barn to contrast with the white cottage, polished concrete floors and high ceilings to let the light in. Where possible we opted for raw and natural materials that wear well over time. We used VJ boards on the walls throughout and blackbutt timber trusses and joinery to tie back with the cottage floors and connect the two in a harmonious way. As much as we like being at home I didn’t want to feel like we were always “indoors” so it was important that the whole house could be opened up to the outdoors as much as possible.
I love to work collaboratively and bounce ideas around and was fortunate to have worked with a great architect, builder, trades and friends to nail an initial plan but also explore new ideas throughout the build as it evolved which was important to me as I really need to visualise a space, walk around and even mark things out on the floor.
Riley did all the landscaping with designs from my talented friend Kirsty at @studiorewild.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learnt while creating your home?
Be open minded and enjoy the ride, unexpected challenges will come up but sometimes the solution ends up being even better than what you had first planned for.
Design each space to suit the purpose of that individual area but include common base elements so the whole home still feels cohesive. Overall I wanted to create a calming space that we can retreat to after a busy day but add unique, special pieces like vintage rugs, artwork and ceramics collected on travels or gifts from friends that tell a story.
Aim to create spaces that can evolve over time and change things around often to appreciate pieces from a new perspective and innovate continually in little ways.
Only buy things you really love, and enjoy using them everyday.
What do you love about your home?
I love the light as it moves through different parts of the house during the day and the private, leafy outlook. I love how functional it now is whilst still retaining the original cottage feel and charm. In summer we can open the house up to bring the outdoors in and I can cook whilst looking out over the kids in the pool, on winter nights we can hang downstairs in front of the fire whilst the kids snuggle up for a movie in the old cottage. Little things like a mudroom and a laundry shoot probably don’t excite anyone else in this family but the convenience makes a huge difference to me! And the addition of storage, which was non-existent in the original house, means I can easily keep the space calm and clutter free. We are fairly relaxed and try not to be too precious about anything, so it feels like we are on holidays at home and I like to think our guests feel relaxed and at home here too.
What do you enjoy about living in Bangalow?
So many things! Most of all the welcoming community and dear friends we have made. Being in nature and so connected to the seasons, the farmers markets and abundance of fresh healthy food, secret swimming spots and waterfalls, the proximity to so many beautiful beaches. We need and want for less, live more consciously and have been able to slow down and find more flow. 5 years on and it still feels like one big exhale.
What does simple living mean to you?
Gratitude and appreciation for what you already have.
If you were to have a spare free morning, how would you spend it?
A long beach walk followed by a swim then picking up something fresh for dinner from the farmers market.
What are three words that best describe you?
Introspective, passionate, fun.
What book can you recommend?
I’m re-reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I first read it in high school and am about to start working through it with a group of girlfriends. It's an amazing tool to surface creativity in your life no matter who you are or ‘what you do’.
My 3 favourite products from Imprint House...
Photography by Lynden Foss