In the same small rural town that engendered the House Rules winners in July is a house that is bursting with the same panache, artistic flair … and colonial chic to boot.
An old house is a moveable feast,” says the owner. “Unlike in a modern home, you can rearrange the furniture and have an entirely new look, as often as you like! And as long as you don’t mind its idiosyncrasies, including the odd bit of dust now and then (such as old houses are heir to) a Queensland colonial timber home is the ultimate family home with true soul.”
The soul of this family home includes a small Macdonald’s farm roving around the manicured gardens out the back. It’s a haven for visiting grandchildren as well as for the chooks, turtle, dogs and cats that do the roving.
Thomas Jack, once mayor of Dalby and a frugal Scotsman, built the house in Dalby, more than 100 years ago. With such parsimonious Presbyterian beginnings, the home did not run to pressed tin ceilings or other extravagant embellishments. It did, however, possibly completely by mistake at the time, run to charm. And it is this charm that its present incumbents have used as the basis for creating a home which is both extremely functional and extremely chic.
The family that lives here now is only the second to do so, despite the passage of so much time. Mr Jack would doubtless be surprised to see the changes that have been wrought not only by time, but by the endeavours of the uncle of the House Rules boys in doing the restoration and renovations a few years ago, and the loving and artistic hand of the current lady of the house.
Hidden in plain sight, tucked away behind a small forest of garden trees (old palms, cotoneasters) that hang over the fence and create a fairytale archway on the pavement, this gem of a colonial Queenslander is a veritable midden of delightful objects amassed over the years. The eclectic collection of furnishings is artfully arranged, and regularly rearranged, throughout the home. Each piece was selected for its own charm and placed in such a way as to cleverly complement its neighbours. The eras, origins, materials and even the themes vary wildly yet sit together harmoniously.
The history of the old house speaks volumes through the varying widths of the timber floors (Bunya pine predominates) and the ambience, respectfully preserved and maintained.
Paintings by local artist Graeme McCullough feature the family bulldogs Norm and Arnold, fierce protectors of the home. Other art on walls that are abundantly adorned with fabulous works includes an actual Archibald finalist piece as well as several works by another Archibald finalist.
If home is where the heart is, there is no doubt that the woman at the centre of this gorgeous family home in Dalby has given her heart to it.
Words by Jane Grieve | Images by Janine Waters