THE HOUSE AND GARDEN AT GLENMORE

Inside its beautiful period rooms.
One unassuming afternoon in 1988 Mickey Robertson returned home to the tiny house in Sydney’s Woollahra she shared with her husband, Larry. When she picked up the ringing telephone she didn’t realise her life was about to change. ‘You did what?’ she exclaimed down the line. Larry had phoned to tell her he’d bought a dilapidated sandstone house near Camden. And despite not recalling much about the moments that soon followed, she did accept that life was never going to be dull married to Larry.

In her new book, The House & Garden at Glenmore, Robertson tells the story of the colonial farm’s restoration and renewal. Its pages are brimming with beautiful photography, garden tips, seasonal cooking recipes; and stories about family life among the beautiful house and garden. As a professional interior designer, her ethos – interiors should be infused with the surrounding environment – is prevalent throughout. Enjoy a sneak peek of The House & Garden at Glenmore here in Robertson’s own words, or visit the home, which hosts workshops, open days, kitchen gardening, and seasonal cooking events.

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The Sitting Room
I love that we gravitate there when friends come to stay, perhaps with a fire on a winter night. We always put the Christmas tree in front of the fireplace, so this room reminds me of festivity and the delight of gathering together as a family. It’s where bottles of champagne have been popped, Christmas cake and mince pies handed around, gifts given and received, and its sturdy walls contain peals of laughter. But it’s also a cool and quiet place to disappear to on a hot summer day.

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The Writing Room
The Writing Room is the furthest point from anything to do with regular life, and is where any of us feels inclined to go in search of complete peace and quiet. It is where I write Christmas cards or letters and, when the girls were small, would wrap presents in secret. It’s a small, intimate room that embraces you and, with the sound of water bubbling gently in the pond just outside the window, is a soothing place to think. It’s finished in pinks and mustard yellows, and most likely to be filled with old-fashioned roses.

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The Dining Room
The Dining Room sits to the rear of the Stone House, behind the Sitting Room, and consequently forms the link between old and new. A pair of Georgian-style timber and glass French doors, as well as a single one (where the old back door once stood), connect it to the new Gallery extension that leads to the kitchen and bedroom pavilions. Over the simple stone mantelpiece sits a quite murky oil painting by Royal Scottish Academy artist George Paul Chalmers that came from Larry’s Scottish home. Other than a single light to illuminate this oil, there is no electricity wired to this room. It’s the glass collection that creates the atmosphere here; whether sparkling and throwing prisms in late afternoon sunlight, or catching and reflecting dancing candlelight in the evenings, that has the capacity to bring the room to life.

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The Kitchen
The kitchen has white-painted tongue and groove ceilings, as everywhere in the house, and dirty-duck-egg-blue cupboards to conceal all the paraphernalia that was once on view. Perhaps they’re dated, but I still love the chicken-wire cupboard doors that reveal china collected over the years. The kitchen we waited so long for is a joy to work in – bright, airy and functional. With its seating area of linen-covered sofa and chairs anchored by a sisal rug, hard surfaces are balanced with soft and the whole is a delightful space in which to live.

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The Guest Room
There something compelling about this space in which I felt held, cosseted. It’s a cosy room, bright and light, achingly glorious when lit up in the sun’s first rays. Whether it’s those lovely, low, white-painted ceiling boards or the pair of naïve French prints – La Pêche and La Chassee – or just because I associate it with Clemmie as a baby it has an almost ‘nursery’ atmosphere that lingers in what is now our guest bedroom and that friends declare they enjoy.

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The Ensuit
Cool, calm, Carrara marble for the floor, shower and vanity top counter balance the West Indies Toile wallpaper that lines the bathroom walls above and between white painted cabinetry. A timber shelf supports a collection of shells as well as sea-washed stones from Scotland.

house and garden

Mrs R’s Garden
In spring these small beds in Mrs r’s Garden erupt into a haze of white-flowering valerian, false indigo, columbines and Bourbon roses. Myrtle spurge and rose-scented pelargoniums flower at the end of the verandah.

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Images and extract from The House and Garden at Glenmore by Mickey Robertson Murdoch Books.

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