In Australia, Two Families Live Surrounded by the Bush


In Australia, Community-Based Family Living surrounded by The Bush | Design*Sponge

In Australia, Community-Based Family Living surrounded by The Bush | Design*Sponge

When Phoebe and Chris Bell found themselves trekking between the vibrant scene of Melbourne, Australia, and the more slow-paced, rural towns on the outskirts of the city, they realized that leading a suburban life in between the two areas that they loved wasn’t how they wanted to wind down. When the couple eventually began planning a family and had their son Jude, opting to move to the leafy town of Warrandyte felt like a step in the right direction.

Phoebe and Chris’ new country home, a two-story house with strong original 1970s vibes, allows the couple to return home to what feels like a remote bush retreat at the end of each day. “It’s a retreat in every sense of the word and as soon as I walk through the door, I’m immediately more grounded and calm,” Phoebe explains. “It has big windows and a very strong connection to the sprawling bush that surrounds it, making it an incredibly nurturing home.”

Over the past five years, after deciding that a career as a lawyer wasn’t for her, Phoebe has built her colorful and bohemian homewares brand, Sage x Clare (@sageandclare). In addition to carefully planning her homeware collections, she has fully embraced the process of sourcing vintage furniture and decor for her family’s home. “Moving in here has taught me patience. It’s not the sort of home you want to fill with mass-produced or new pieces. It needs vintage, soulful pieces and they can’t always be found exactly when you want them,” she reflects. On top of selecting pieces that look good, everything should stand up to the demands of family life, ensuring that the home is not only filled with beautiful items but rich with memories and full of life.

Since moving into the house six months ago, the headcount in Phoebe and Chris’ home has doubled, as they recently welcomed Phoebe’s twin sister Jemma, her husband Paul and their six-week-old daughter Nelly to live with them. “Jemma and Paul have called Jaipur, India home for many years and decided it was time to come home for a year or so to have their baby and enjoy the support of family. We’re loving having such a full house!” Phoebe shares. Both families seem to agree that the house in the bush has a special, welcoming energy. It has quickly turned into a hub for friends and family — and Phoebe and Chris wouldn’t have it any other way. —Sofia

Photography by Phoebe Bell / @sageandclare

Image above: Phoebe remembers the first time she stood at the living room windows and stared in awe at the view over the bushy landscape. “It’s spectacular and forever changing with the light and the weather. We’re so lucky to have an aspect like this,” she says. The strong 1970s bones of the house have informed the family’s design choices, which range from unique vintage pieces to bohemian details in line with the aesthetic of Phoebe’s home decor brand Sage x Clare. 

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