THE SIMPLEST OF PLEASURES
Homes & Gardens|February 2022
James Watts embraced slow design and pared-back beauty in the transformation of his bucolic cottage in New South Wales
ALI HEATH

SITTING ROOM

A monochrome palette is lifted with warm wood tones, duck-egg blue, greenery and treasured pieces of art. Painting by Kerrie Oliver. Walls in Popcorn by Porter’s Paints. For a similar chair, try Bromley Wingback, Rowen & Wren

EXTERIOR

The new front porch has created a striking entranceway. Original weatherboarding and decorative window trims add to the quintessential country appeal. Garden landscaping, Saville & Will

Aptly named Werona – Aboriginal for ‘quiet’ – this charming 1930s weatherboarded cottage in Burrawang, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, is the epitome of rural charm. ‘One of the few areas in Australia that enjoys the traditional four seasons, it reminded me of my roots in Rutland and Cornwall,’ says James Watts, managing director of Australian rug company, Armadillo.

James was keen to swap the city life he had enjoyed in Sydney for the past 25 years for a more quintessential British country village meets undiscovered Australian country outpost with his partner Tony Chapman. ‘We fell in love with the burnt orange, maple tree-lined avenues and surrounding hills,’ says James. ‘Within a week of discovering the town, we completed on this charming house – it was all very serendipitous.’

Framed by decorative white railings, the cottage is set in the heart of a large garden, home to weeping cherry trees, crab apples, a vast claret ash, maples and magnolias. ‘We wanted to restore the building, but maintain the integrity of the original two-bedroom footprint, with the only additions being an authentic front porch and rear deck,’ says James.

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