Urban Road

Before and after transformation: Rundown country cottage turned modern Australiana retreat

If you’re craving some rest and relaxation right now, today’s home tour is just the ticket. We take you inside a stunning before and after transformation of Arbor Escape. From rundown cottage in the New South Wales countryside, to a modern Australiana retreat.

With some of the most incredible bathroom and laundry flooring we think we’ve ever seen, you’re in for a treat with this home tour from Branche Designs. Come take a look around…

Related article: The stunning before and after home transformation of Willoughby II
Related article: 8 ways to add the Australiana aesthetic to your home

Cottage kitchen with black hanging shelf
Hanging chair with view of countryside
Grey bedding in bedroom with verandah view

Arbor Escape is a home designed for rest and relaxation.

“The home is a retreat in Upper Colo, created to escape the city grind,” says Laura Steele, Creative Director of Branche Designs.

“It’s a luxury boutique country cottage, in the Hawkesbury region, 90 minutes from Sydney’s CBD. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

“The property has direct private access into the Colo River. The Colo River is one of the most pristine rivers in New South Wales.”

Bathroom before the renovation
Before the renovation
Standalone bath with cobblestone flooring
After the transformation
Standalone white bath with cobblestone flooring
Those floors… swoon!

A major renovation project, the home now includes features such as those glorious cobblestone floors

“We purchased this property as a run-down horse ranch. The property itself was in complete shambles, with broken down fencing, overgrown paddocks and decrepit sheds and stables,” Laura recalls.

“The house was falling to pieces and was in dire need of a renovation. The plumbing wasn’t working and there wasn’t even a laundry!

“We completely transformed it into the luxury retreat that it is now, starting with the house and working our way around the entire property.

“One of my favourite features are the rustic cobblestone floors in the bathrooms and laundry. The uneven stone is a lovely feel underfoot, especially while in the shower.

It makes you feel like a piece of nature has found its way indoors.

Laundry with butlers sink and cobblestone floors

Bedroom before the renovation
Timber framed bed with grey slatted wall

With a distinctly modern Australiana feel, this home celebrates its stunning surrounds.

“The brief for this project was to bring modern comforts and luxury interiors to the idyllic country setting,” Laura explains.

“We introduced a warm, neutral colour palette and were able to achieve a cosy, country homestead that fits in perfectly amongst natures unfiltered backdrop.”

Living room before the renovation
Living room before
Living room with fireplace
Living room after
Verandah before the renovation
Verandah before
Hanging swing on verandah
After the renovation

Where possible, the team worked with the materials they already had to enhance the charm and celebrate the property’s history.

“When we purchased the property, we knew there was a lot of history surrounding Colo Valley. During the renovation, we uncovered a pile of rubble which consisted of hand carved convict stone, old glass bottles, rusted tools and broken china,” Laura recalls.

“We were shocked and excited to discover from a local man — who happened to be a direct descendant of one of the original early settlers in the valley — that our property once housed the Colo Valleys original Tavern. This tavern dates back to the early 1800s.

“He went on to tell us many stories which were passed down from generations and asked us if he could build us a retaining wall using the ruins from the tavern. The wall now surround our large firepit area.

“We also converted the home’s old basement into a beautiful wine cellar. This transformation highlighted the existing stonework that was already down there.”

Entrance to Arbor Escape before the renovation
Entrance to Branche Design Arbor Escape
And after
Firepit outdoor area Branche Designs Arbor Escapes
Basement of Arbor Escape before the renovation
Basement before…
Basement wine cellar of Arbor Escape after the renovation
Basement turned wine cellar

Interior and exterior design: Laura Steele, Branche Designs
Builder: REZ Constructions
Photography: Brigid Arnott
Styling: Jodie Gibbons

Thank you so much to Laura for showing us around this wonderful modern Australiana country cottage. You can see more projects from Branche Designs on their website or take a scroll through their Instagram feed.

What’s your favourite feature of this stunning home? We can’t get over the bathroom and laundry floors! Chat to us in the comment section below.

More home tours

Kitchen before the renovation
Kitchen before the renovation
Small cottage kitchen
And after
Bathroom before the renovation
Bathroom before
Timber vanity with concrete basin
Bathroom after
Glass shower with cobblestone floor
Cobblestone bathroom floor
Concrete basin with brass tapware
White benchtop in kitchen with gooseneck tap
Kitchen with hanging shelf
Kitchen bench styled with flowers
Relaxed style living room with leather couches
Black fireplace in relaxed living room
White laundry with cobblestone flooring
View through to laundry with cobblestone flooring
Grey tongue and groove wall in bedroom
Bedroom with Australian art above bed
Kangaroo artwork in bedroom
Grey wall in bedroom with small timber side table
Timber bed with grey bedding
Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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