a family homestead combining history with modern technology
– ross & pearl, the wool rooms
Ross and Pearl are true collectors with a passion for preserving history. For over a decade they had been collecting stunning vintage pieces, including a century-old wooden bench, antique sinks and reclaimed doors that showcase the craftsmanship of the past.
They considered renovating a heritage home, but having lived in one before, they knew how cold and draughty they could be. With a baby on the way, they decided to design their dream home to pay homage to the past, while incorporating the best of modern, sustainable building technology. The result: a warm and comfortable home for their growing family.
Ross works from home, so he needed office space separated from family life. Pearl was focusing on the kids and her main work zones would be the kitchen and laundry. She needed these to be fantastic and functional spaces, incorporating the vintage pieces they had collected. The couple also wanted comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces to entertain.
And of course the little family was expanding – with two kids arriving during the design and build. They needed safe play areas, but also room to grow. The Wool Rooms would be a legacy home for the family to put down roots for generations.
The land once formed part of a large merino-sheep property called ‘Landfall’ established in the 1880s. It sits on the crown of a hill overlooking the Tamar, offering stunning views of a bend in the river, though the site is exposed and can be quite windy.
The unusual F-shape design ensures every room has access to natural light and creates two outdoor courtyards, sheltered from the wind, for entertaining. Carefully placed windows allow sight-lines to the river from all over the home, even from the courtyard at the back. The outdoor space is designed around the landscaping plan for the site, which will evolve over 20 years.
The floorplan offers space to come together as a family or find a quiet space apart.
The kids have a separate wing for their bedrooms and their bathroom, with the laundry/mud room also located here to keep creativity and mess contained. The living and entertaining areas are in a quieter part of the home, making the most of the river views, while the kitchen has a roomy and functional layout highlighting the stunning antique workbench.
Ross’ office is near the front entrance to take full advantage of the impressive reclaimed-brick foyer with its warm, recessed lighting, and views of the Tamar to provide inspiration to his working day.
Sunlight floods into this home, with large windows and higher-than-standard ceilings. Cross-ventilation ensures fresh air and breezes circulate through the living areas. The exterior walls are fitted with double glass doors creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living and allowing easy access to the natural world.
There’s plenty of storage to ensure a clutter-free space that creates a sense of ease and wellbeing, and the roomy layout allows for technology-free zones and quiet nooks for contemplating the view. Two indoor wood heaters provide cosy evenings by the fire.
In every detail of the design, Pearl and Ross tell the story of the land. They wanted a home that felt like a renovated shearing shed or homestead, not a brand-new build.
Salvaged from demolition on the TV show The Block, the recycled bricks were individually cleaned and jigsawed together. The jagged external edges evoke a renovated ruin, while internally the bricks add incredible texture. The corrugated walls and pitched roofs reference local shearing-shed design.
The sense of heritage is underscored by the couple’s collected pieces, including salvaged timber doors in various shapes and sizes, reclaimed sinks and tapware. Custom-made light fittings, custom-made brass plumbing, and old-school tiles add to the ambience.
A warm, cosy home was a high priority for Pearl and Ross. The design maximises passive solar heating with north-facing windows catching the sun and warming the slab, which transfers heat throughout the house. This is augmented by thermostat-controlled hydronic heating under the slab. All windows are double glazed and there’s under-floor insulation. The house averages 20°C inside even when it’s 2°C outside – a toasty warmth that would be impossible to achieve in a renovated heritage home.
Materials were chosen for their durability and low maintenance. Galvanised cladding and brick require no external painting. Minimised site cutting and earthworks kept costs down; in fact the finished build came in $7000 under the agreed budget.
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custom built home
$500,001 – $750,000
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