Epic renovation places classic Hamptons styling in the country

Renovation sees Hamptons hit the bush

In Western Australia's Toodyay, a small 1860s farmhouse has been transformed into an Australian Hamptons mansion that sprawls across 1000 square metres.

Now known as 'The Farm Estate', the property has been in the Bowen family for five generations, has was reimagined by award-winning designer and James Hardie ambassador, Natalee Bowen.

"The Australian Hamptons look is uniquely our own, standing apart from the American original," says Natalee. "It combines the original tenants of timeless style that evokes 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."

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. An extensive veranda, corrugated iron roof and a full Linea Weatherboard wrap also tie the home to the classic Queenslander style.

"Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard," says Natalie. "In America they use shingles 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 Linea 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 most cases, the palette of a Hamptons home is defined by the coast, but Natalie says in rural Western Australia a new approach had to be taken. "Hamptons is built on sun, sea and sand, so we turned to our surrounds," she says.

"Greys in particular can be very reflective, so (we) went with a tone that would contrast against the white, without over powering the facade. Grey with white details is a very traditional Hampton look that won't outdate."

The interior is the essence of any home, and Natalee admits she likes to design from the inside out. "I had my sofas and kitchen planned before the structure," she says. "Entertaining areas are essential, truly living the Australian Hamptons the look."

In the kitchen, cabinets have been given a twist with a navy finish, part of a unique colour palette that also reflects the surrounds. "We've injected the home with an Aussie feel through colour," Natalee adds.

"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."

According to Natalie, no Hamptons home is complete without an indoor-outdoor entertaining space, which ties perfectly into the Australian lifestyle. "We wanted to create something with a wow factor and have six seating areas in the gardens and under the veranda, which is lined with Axon cladding to cope with extremes in weather conditions."

Life under the Australian sun can present a number of issues, first and foremost temperature control. Here, the weatherboard's fibre cement composition aids insulation, as it has a lower thermal load than masonry and therefore holds less heat.

"The rural environment is worlds apart from the Hamptons coastline, so it's important to build accordingly," says Natalie. "In addition to insulation, we chose premium fibre cement products and a TrueCore frame for their fire-resistant qualities, as a blaze ripped through the original home in 2008."

By combining the timeless charm of New York State's extravagant coastline properties, with the natural beauty of rural WA's wheat fields, Natalee has created an Australian Hamptons legacy, while embodying those that inspired it.