For this Mi Casa we head deep into our local hinterland to Upper Wilsons Creek, where nature and remoteness take a front seat. Elise and Jack’s beautifully built home in the magical rainforest is truly breathtaking. We witnessed the time they have spent on the divine details and how their intentional home pays tribute to the area in which they live.
SHOP THE LOOK
Where did you live previously and how did you come to live in this beautiful spot?
We were living down in Victoria in the suburbs, I’d been looking at properties in the Byron area for years, dreaming of living a gentler life on the land with our kids. The land we are now lucky enough to call home sat online for almost 9 months (unheard of in Byron!) so it felt as though it had been waiting for us when we made an offer and it was accepted during the first lockdown. We sold our place within the week, bought a 50 year old caravan and packed what we could fit before driving across the border the day before it closed so we could start the build of our new home in a place we’d never even heard of before. We lived in the caravan on the property for almost 9 months, most of which I was pregnant with our second child, while we built. It also rained most of that time… All the stress was definitely worth it!
How would you describe the style of your home?
I’d describe our home as intentional and grounding – a place that encourages a slower pace of life, somewhere meaningful and serene. The aesthetic is minimal, focussing on timeless, quality materials and pieces that encourage deep connections to the pleasures of life. We really put so much thought into every aspect of the design, obsessing over the finer details to create something that feels so personal to our family and our story.
Your view is incredible, how did nature impact your vision and design of your home?
Our home is a juxtaposition of environments; the external is wild and stimulating, while the interior is calm and composed. We sought to design our home in reverence for the natural environment we live amongst, respecting the uniqueness of this area by honouring what makes it so special – the landscape.
We consulted with a Building Biologist early in the build to help guide us to create a “healthy home” – using materials as close to nature as possible and swapping out some of the more commonly used processes/materials for more health conscious alternatives. Living in the rainforest, mould can be an issue so choosing materials that can “breathe” were high on the priority list.
With remoteness comes unique challenges, how have you had to adapt your daily routines to suit where you live?
Being 10 creek crossings into the valley, access has definitely been an issue at times, but that’s also one of the things we love about living out here. Every time you pass a crossing it feels as though you’re one step further from the real world and one step deeper into the magical forest.
We often lose access to town when there’s heavy rain, so have to be fairly self-sufficient and well organised in preparation. We buy all our dry goods in bulk, I bake bread a few times a week, we get fresh eggs from the chooks and we’re trying to grow as much of our own fresh produce as possible. Trying to grow our own food has definitely been a humbling experience and really enlightens you to how much work goes into the food we see so readily at markets.
What is your favourite nook or area of your home and why?
I love the dining space – the view through the expansive picture windows and sliding doors are some of my favourite in the house. It’s the perfect perch to watch the Full Moon rise over the ridge while sharing a meal and a glass of wine with family and friends. It also gets the perfect amount of morning sun to enjoy a coffee on cold winter morning.
What drew you to the Pampa pieces you have in your home?
The ethos and culture behind Pampa is something I really admire. You can feel the passion and intention expressed not only through their beautiful pieces, but also in the way they support and interact with their community. There’s a storytelling that echoes through every piece and that authenticity is such a valuable quality when curating a meaningful space
The pieces we have in our home weave their way seamlessly into everyday life as well as unifying the aesthetic. They offer comfort, beauty, wellbeing and an honest connection to craftsmanship.
Your home feels beautifully minimal. When choosing pieces for your home, what is important for you?
Along with being visually reassuring, I try to seek out pieces that express the feeling we’re trying to create for our family at home – alignment with the natural environment, an appreciation for quality over quantity, and a sense of peace and spaciousness. I really value the personal connection to pieces; I try to support local makers and creators as much I can, and love to collaborate to create personalised pieces, it always feel so special to have something truly unique with a story to fill our home.
What values do you hope to instil in your children?
To be open – open to change, opportunity, new perspectives, to approach life with curiosity and creativity. To trust in their instincts, to have an awareness of themselves and the connectedness of all things. To have a sense of humour about it all as well! I hope they laugh and smile as much as possible and live lightly.
Your area was recently impacted by terrible weather events. How was your community affected and do you feel you have come out the other side stronger together?
It’s been an immense few months! I feel like our immediate community really came together to support each other and the land. We had guys out there rebuilding the roads themselves as no one could get to us for weeks. The power of the water was unbelievable, the way it reshaped the entire landscape was quite extraordinary. We all shared food and resources and it really amplified how capable and strong the people of this community are. I feel so fortunate to have landed in a place with such resilient and loving locals who are always willing to help a neighbour. The way the whole of the Northern Rivers responded to the floods made me so grateful to call this land home.
What other plans do you have for the property?
We’ve been working with some really knowledgeable people who’ve been educating and guiding us as we work to regenerate the land. We hope to plant as many native trees and plants as we can, as well as increase our food production with more vegetable plots and fruit trees. We have an old cast iron bath in the shed that I’d love to restore; I have the perfect spot picked out for it – amongst the bush looking out over the valley, under the stars.
Learn more about Elise and Jack’s magical home here.
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Photos: Victoria Aguirre