From its origins on the East Coast of America, the Hamptons Style has swept the globe and has become firmly entrenched in Australian design. As with any popular trend, the Australians, with our love of design, decorating and renovating, have put our own stamp on the look. It's really interesting to see how trends evolve to suit different climates and I was therefore really interested to see what one designer, in the harsh and unforgiving landscape of Western Australia, had achieved to adapt this look to the outback.
In Toodyay, WA, a small 1860’s farmhouse has been transformed into an Australian Hamptons mansion sprawling over 1,000sqm. Now known as ‘The Farm Estate’ the property, which has been in the Bowen family for five generations, has been re-imagined 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,” she adds.
“Nothing typifies traditional Aussie home design quite like weatherboard. This offers an element of texture with simple shadow lines and an air of craftsmanship. 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,” says Natalee.
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 adds Natalee: “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 Milton Moon and Dulux Lexicon quarter strength. Greys in particular can be very reflective, so we went with a tone that would contrast against the white, without over powering the façade. Grey with white details is a very traditional Hamptons look that won’t out date. When choosing colourways think long term, as it is a big investment that you’ll have to live with or make costly changes.”
Moving into the home, the detailed craftsmanship of the facade is continued with James Hardie’s Axon cladding in the veranda’s soffits. This vertical groove look is mirrored within, through Hardie Groove lined ceilings. “Texture is key to any Hamptons home and consistency is a universal rule of modern Australian design,” Natalee continues.
The interior is the essence of the home continues Natalee, “I like to design from the inside out, so I had my sofas and kitchen planned before the structure. Entertaining areas are an essential to truly living the Australian Hamptons the look.”
Additions, such as Akubra hats next to blue and white ginger jars and numerous seating options pay homage to generations of Bowens and Natalee’s love of the Hamptons. 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,” adds Natalee.
Additionally, HardieGroove paneling features in the bathrooms and master bedroom as a new take on the traditional square panel and dado rail wainscoting. This, in turn, continues the textured detailing through from the front to the back of the home.
“No Hamptons home is complete without an indoor-outdoor entertaining space, which ties perfectly into the Australian lifestyle,” says Natalee. “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,” she adds.
Life under the Australian sun can present a number of issues, foremost being temperature control. Here, the Linea Weatherboard’s premium fibre cement composition aids insulation as it has a lower thermal load than masonry meaning it holds onto less heat. This effect has been bolstered with Hardie Break thermal strip. They were added by local builders, The Carport Co., quickly and efficiently due to their easy ship lap installation.
“The rural environment is worlds apart from the Hamptons coastline, so it’s important to build accordingly. 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,” Natalee adds.
You can find out how to get the Australian Hamptons look for your home at jameshardie.com.au
House designed by Natalee Bowen of Indah Island
There is lots more inspiration here from The Farm Estate in Toodyay from Natalee Bowen.
I really like how Natalee has adapted the look to the Australian countryside, particularly her use of richer caramels and softer blues. One of the biggest differences that I see between an American Hamptons look and our own Australian one is how we treat exteriors by using weatherboards instead of the traditional shingles. This gives the homes a more relaxed look, still classic but with a laid back Australian vibe.
I have 5 quick tips to achieve an Australian Hamptons Style:
- Use a native colour palette rather than rely on a classic Hamptons style of grey and blue. Consider where you are building your home and take inspiration from the local landscape. Don't forget the climate that you are building in as you may need a light coloured roof to reflect the heat.
- Wall paneling is a signature inclusion for a Hamptons look, but in addition to using classic style panels with wainscoting, introduce vertical VJ panelling. James Hardie's Hardie Groove Paneling is perfect to achieve this look.
- Introduce rattan elements in furniture and accessories to ensure you achieve a laid-back Australian feel.
- Include elements of Plantation Style with leather trunks as accessories.
- Finally, consider accessories that are typically Australian in style, perhaps something personal to you, and add these to ensure that your Hamptons home has an Australian style.
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