Taylor’s of Berry Guest House

Back in 2016 I wrote a blog post about painting your house black and it has proved very popular.  What started as quite a unique exterior colour palette has evolved into a mainstream trend. Colour, and more importantly the tone of that colour, has the ability, more than any other design element, to change the character of a house.  I was therefore thrilled to see this gorgeous guest house from the talented Neale Whitaker come across my desk.  Neale has also used one of my favourite interior colours throughout the interior.  See some gorgeous imagery of the exterior and interior of Taylor's of Berry guest house, together with some background and comments from Wattyl paints, of this very special place.

Taylor's of Berry guest house

Set on the same one-hectare plot as their idyllic and recently renovated farmhouse, ‘Taylor’s of Berry’ is the stunning new guest cottage of Neale Whitaker and his partner David Novak-Piper. With its own private access, the cottage occupies a total of 88 sqm and is situated in the rear paddock of Neale and David’s property 3 km from Berry and a two-hour drive south of Sydney.

The cottage is a new build designed structurally to Neale and David’s brief by local interior architect, and good friend, Victoria Hampshire. It takes full advantage of its heavenly surroundings and views across rolling hills and lush, vibrant escarpments. “We wanted to recreate the same experience for our guests that we have enjoyed for so many years prior to making this beautiful region of the south coast our permanent home,” says Neale.

“We knew black was the colour for our barn-style guest house from the beginning.  Black buildings tend to disappear into the greater landscape, yet with our own farmhouse being white, we loved the idea of a contrast.  The black is quite sensorial and depending on the day it throws incredible light and shadows that creates interest.”

Black is increasingly being used as a prominent colour choice for home exteriors, adding a bold and striking aesthetic that creates a sense of luxury and drama.  With its contrasting tones, it enhances the natural beauty of surrounding foliage and makes any house stand out from others in the street.

Taylor's of Berry guest house

Similar to white and grey, black is a neutral colour.  It contrasts well with other materials, hues and textures, requiring very little effort to dress it up.  It is a colour that works with most architectural styles and landscapes, in particular modern renovations or builds.  Black painted façades serve as a backdrop for showcasing a home’s architectural features, the lines and angles are crisper, and architectural details more visible.

Taylor's of Berry

Neale chose Stria™ Cladding by James Hardie for the exterior of the guest house.  Being a fibre cement product, Stria™ Cladding is durable and adheres to Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) requirements which is essential with the property being surrounded by bushland.  Neale was looking to achieve a specific aesthetic in the choice of cladding, the shiplap panels of Stria™ Cladding provide the horizontal lines expected of a barn-style build.  Stria™ Cladding panels come primed, are able to withstand harsh weather conditions and are resistant to warping even when painted in dark colours.

Taylor's of Berry

“There is no such thing as a uniform black colour. There are many shades of black and each has subtle nuances that will influence the end result. Finding the right black shade for a home’s exterior cladding is all about considering the undertones and light,” advises Katherine Champion, colour consultant for Wattyl.

Katherine suggests becoming familiar with the undertones in the paint colour being considered and getting comfortable with identifying them will help a homeowner make the right choice for their home. It’s easy to identify a paint colour’s mass tone as it’s the first colour typically seen when looking at a paint swatch, yet the undertone is the underlying or hint of colour that peeks through and can vary from red, brown, blue, purple and green.

With black being neutral, it can work with nearly all building types. Cooler hues of black work best on homes in environments surrounded by natural bush landscapes, while saturated black is better suited to modern architecture in urban settings.

Taylor's of Berry Guest house

“Considering the colour palette surrounding a black façade is a key step in achieving the right look for your home,” says Neale.  “Knowing that black can be a harsh colour on its own, we introduced a mix of warmer browns and greens to the palette through the use of brick, timber and foliage, to soften the look of our guest house.”

Incorporated into the exterior landscape design of Neale’s property is a mix of raw materials including herringbone laid worn brick pavers in a warm brown tone, olive trees in planters that contrast well against the Stria™ Cladding painted in Colorbond® steel Nightsky®.

“As an alternative to black, dark greys and charcoals suit many different styles from Hamptons through to contemporary, they give grounding and offer tonal depth and contrast, a softer look and feel. They also provide the perfect backdrop for greenery,” says Neale.

Finding the perfect paint finish is a key step for homeowners undertaking an exterior renovation or new build.  James Hardie recommends using low sheen paints on exteriors as they are the most durable finish and offer the best coverage for large surface areas.  Low sheen is the ideal option for cladding or render walls due to the low-reflective finish which hides imperfections and is easy to clean. “We love the clean lines and pared-back aesthetic of the Stria™ Cladding, and how Wattyl Solagard’s low sheen black makes it the perfect backdrop for our outdoor living areas,” says Neale.

Taylor's of Berry guest house

Black can be used to highlight other colours making them appear more luminous in comparison. It can be used to define specific areas of a home as it can recede or create voids and in contrast create accents, the right finish can also be used to emphasise texture, an ideal pairing for the smooth natural sand texture of Hardie™ exterior cladding products.

The interior of Taylor's of Berry

The aesthetic of the guesthouse can be described as ‘modern country', a mix of contemporary and antique and a refined, pared-back version of the main farmhouse. Beyond the dramatic black exterior, the interior exudes rustic chic charm and an eclectic bohemian aesthetic that combines the tastes of both Neale and David. “The colour and material palettes throughout the interior have been chosen to complement and reflect the colours of the surrounding landscape,” says Neale. Shades of green feature with eucalypt in the kitchen and a rich forest green in the bedroom and bathroom.

Layered with detail, guests are treated to luxury finishes comprising quirky artwork, ornamental chandeliers and locally sourced statement furniture all set amidst a backdrop of rolling green countryside. “To be able to recreate this experience for guests in this stunning pocket of the world has been a dream realised for us,” says Neale.

Taylor's of Berry guest house

Related: Have you considered green for kitchen cabinetry?

Taylor's of Berry guest house

 Related: How to choose kitchen pendants

Taylor's of Berry guest house  Taylor's Guest House of Berry

Related: My guide to French Provincial Style

Taylor's of Berry guest house

Taylors of Berry Guest House

Taylor's of Berry Guest House

Taylor's of Berry Guest House

Taylor's of Berry Guest House

Taylor's of Berry Guest House

What I love about Taylor's of Berry guest house

  • I love the simplicity of the exterior, but the success of Taylor's of Berry is that it is complemented with lots of greenery, copper lighting and weathered timber with some black accents carried through to the interior.
  • The herringbone brick flooring is perfect for the country setting and ensures the look is not too formal.
  • The green kitchen is divine.  I love the splashback and the contrast with the clean white walls, exposed ceiling and appliances.
  • The bathroom suits the modern country style vibe and I love the green painted walls.  Remember that if you get tired of this you can paint it in a weekend which is a far better outcome than being left with tiles that you don't like anymore.
  • The window dressings are perfect and are each adapted for the space they are in, rather than simply running the same look throughout the house.  My favourite are the linen curtains in the living room and bedroom.  This is exactly how relaxed linen curtains should be, with a simple box pleat heading on an understated black rod.
  • The house has a laid back contemporary French Provincial feel.  Combined with the relaxed Australian Modern Country style look, it adds just a touch of glamour with lots of lovely colour and texture – a very inviting interior.

You can find out more about the window treatments from Luxaflex

Related: Don't paint your house black until you have read this

Related: Black and white houses

Taylor's of Berry Guest House Tour

If you are currently undertaking a renovation or building project or even just planning to re-paint your house then you should download my Free exterior and interior checklists.  These can be found in my Free Resource Library which has other e-books and checklists and is updated with new free invaluable resources regularly.  Join up for free here.

Taylors of Berry Guesthouse

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