Far and Away the Best: A Laid-Back Cottage in the Hinterlands of Australia’s East Coast

Every move Australian creative Holly McCauley has made has brought her farther from the crush of crowds and closer to the sounds of nature.

The graphic designer and gallery owner grew up in inner-city Sydney, but after graduating from college, she decamped for Byron Bay, a mecca for surfers and former hippie town. From there, she and her now-husband, Nich Zalmstra, a filmmaker, moved into a tiny one-bedroom, their first home, in the nearby historical town of Bangalow (population: 2,813). With the arrival of a second daughter, the couple considered adding another bedroom, but they had a change of heart when they realized what they really wanted was a larger home and more land. They found both by moving deeper into the bush, to Rosebank (population: 423), a small hinterland town 30 minutes from the coast and on the edge of World Heritage-listed rainforest Nightcap National Park.

Today, “we live on five acres, and almost all of it is pretty wild rainforest,” says Holly. And while their classic 1880s Queenslander cottage (built from timber, raised on stilts in case of flooding, with a wrap-around porch for shaded outdoor living) has two bedrooms, it’s still modest in size. “All in all, the home is just over 100 meters squared [1,076 square feet], and this feels like more than enough space for us. We don’t like living beyond our means and this home actually feels super-luxurious in space compared to our last place.”

Below, she gives us a tour of their laid-back home.

Photography by Amelia Rushforth, courtesy of In Bed.

the home had been “renovated beautifully by the previous owners, wi 17
Above: The home had been “renovated beautifully by the previous owners, without losing any of its historical charm,”says Holly. She and Nich made only minor changes to the kitchen, like adding the tiled backsplash.”We found it really hard to clean (picture spaghetti sauce on a matte white timber wall!) and also wanted to inject a little color to the space. The pink and burgundy combo is just a combination that I love. The branding I did for our gallery, Yeah, Nice, is pink and red, so I suppose it’s not too far removed from that vibe.”
“we (read: nich!) are in the process of sanding back the original w 18
Above: “We (read: Nich!) are in the process of sanding back the original wood counters and giving them a re-oil—they have become sticky over the years,” shares Holly, who added the blue and white curtain here to hide their Tupperware and dog food.