Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan has unveiled her latest venture, a beautifully renovated farmhouse in the New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bowral, and revealed how she spent a year and a half transforming it into the rustic barn of her dreams.
The 54-year-old – who was the first Australian designer to ever to show a collection at Paris Fashion Week – stumbled upon the crumbling property when it was ‘falling apart’ and didn’t have any running water or proper electricity, but Collette saw how much ‘potential’ the ‘charming’ space had and so she knew she had to invest.
Just 18 months later, Black Barn Bowral is a picture of rustic elegance, and you can currently rent the three-bedroom property on Airbnb for $695 per night.
The designer told Escape that she took her time renovating Black Barn Bowral because a lot ‘is recycled or used’.
Collette found some old cheeseboards in Denmark, which she used for the floorboards, and she also collected vintage light fittings while travelling in Italy and bought some marble tiles from Belgium, putting it all together to create her dream home.
‘All the doors are old ones I’ve found in various secondhand shops and we’ve restored them and changed the glass. Same with the windows,’ the designer told the publication.
The process was especially painstaking, because she and her husband Bradley had to insulate the barn, give it solar power, a new septic system and a rainwater tank.
‘It’s harder to keep something and preserve it than it is to build something new,’ Collette added.
Today, the revamped barn allows for six guests with three spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, and it is filled with beautifully-chosen interiors and countless antiques that mix together European heritage and Australian style.
The bathroom floors are made from old French marble with underfloor heating that is powered by solar, while the master bedroom has an adjoining ensuite bathroom with a large freestanding bath and shower.
The fashion designer has paid attention to every detail in the property, including using the finest Egyptian cotton for the sheets and all-natural items throughout where possible.
The galley kitchen with a cosy adjoining fireplace nearby is another highlight of the home.
Others who have stayed there already and shared photos on Instagram have also raved about the beautiful verandah with its sweeping views over Bowral.
While the barn is relatively new to Airbnb, it already boasts an impressive 4.8 star rating from travellers, who have dubbed it the ‘perfect staycation’.
‘What a stunning and beautifully styled barn,’ one recent visitor wrote.
‘The level of detail put into making this barn into a homey, warm and comfortable abode was amazing. We will definitely be back!’
Another added: ‘An absolutely divine property so beautifully designed and appointed. I would highly recommend this property for a weekend getaway’.
While a third described it as the ‘most perfect little cottage’ and the ‘kind of place you never want to leave’.