Harlowe House…in name only

I like houses to have names. Houses tell stories and have history, personality and character.  Perhaps it’s my love of narrative……..  or marketing….. but I like a house to express itself and not just be a page out of Home Beautiful.  Some houses are richly scented with history like my  1890’s house in Tasmania. The Straw House, my last home was a strong, honest home with an artsy vibe- full of character and few cupboards. And then there’s my new home built in 1950’s, moved to a block perched on Wombat hill, zhooshd-up with plantation shutters, with the original floorboards now lusty and dark polished. And yes there are cupboards everywhere! And they are full.

But who is she, this new house of mine? What’s her character? What do I want to create? As the latest custodian what do I want her to be? I love her open heartedness as the walls of windows look out into the street and the fields beyond. I like her ease and relaxed vibe. She invites you to lounge in the sunroom or at night in the candlelight of the living room or perhaps on the wide veranda in the morning sun. It’s an easy house to live in. The rooms yawn rather than chatter. After all the mask wearing and sanitised life this house welcomes a relaxed retreat of soft music, simple food, a glass of wine and stacks of books littered in every room. There’s no rush now.

Living room

So Harlowe House emerged as the name from nowhere. Is it the 2 “H’s” that have a ring to it? Not sure. I can see this house in 5-10 years time, surrounded by a rambling secret garden. It’s black farm gate and tall hedge. Its driveway lined with signature birch trees. The Pierre de Ronsard rose ambling with its blousy blooms over the garage. The Ornamental Pear trees turn to rust in autumn. The perennials elbow each other for space and the Japanese maples stand aloof and assured that their autumn colour establishes their superiority in this mayhem of a garden.

A month into my stewardship Harlowe House is simply a name on a black metal plaque cheekily attached to the house. The garden is a cluster of rain ravaged tiny plants. There are no paths and no structure to the garden. The trees stand 6 inches high and are buffeted by high winds.  But Harlowe House stands tall in my imagination and the garden will grown and change over the years. There’s no hurry. Nature will find a way to make sense of the garden I am planting.

Mist, rain and a few desolate hedges

Inside there are glimpses of what can be. Little corners where colour, texture, light and function have gelled into a harmonious whole. But largely the rooms have not yet found their character. The unpacking may be done but the fun of creating a new whole awaits. But she has a name and it seems to work as a messenger of what will be.

The process of creating is one that brings huge enjoyment and at times hair – pulling as dreams collide with budget. But in Harlowe House..just for a few hours I can pretend the world is about cushions and paint colour instead of sickness and Covid numbers……..




27 October 2020 | Life-Style


  1. My dear lovely sister, you have a wonderful visual and descriptive writing style. I feel as if I have already visited your new home which from the photos already looks splendid. If the past is an indicator of the future your home and garden will look spectacular within a few month. I wish yiu Joyful creating Nora – I have loved all of your properties. Hugs I.

    1. Hey Sis.. Good Comment!!…seriously Thanks so much…..It’s an expensive distraction from Covid…but so much fun……..I keep buying houses so You’ll leave Canada and come visit!!!…SOON! Much love…Nora xx

  2. We have to agree with Inge so much….the visualisation you create Nora makes one
    feel as tho we’ve known, and been in Harlowe House so often before.
    You are so blessed you are so deserved of the tranquility peace and harmony
    that you create for yourself.
    Hugs darling

    1. Thank you dear friends… Your words always encourage me to keep going with whatever my curious brain comes up with….. You and Sisco (Inge) would get on so well….. and in fact I think the Viva70 community as a whole is just a lovely supportive, kind community of people spanning a number of continents…..Much love to you..keep adventuring! xxx

  3. Can’t wait to see Harlowe House unfold into a beauty! And what a rewarding, creative process it will be Nora! Many congratulations…

    1. Thanks Linda for everything including your styling and colour advice……. Porters French Green is definitely a winner!

  4. How I am enjoying watching you bring your beautiful new home to life! I too, feel as if I have already visited! However, nothing like enjoying a cuppa or wine in the real space, so we very much look forward to seeing you in the flesh in your lovely new home, hopefully in the not to distant future x

    1. Hi Adrienne…Thanks so much….Homes and gardens are creative pursuits we both know well and lots of fun….. great optimism in Victoria with days of ZERO covid cases so hopefully we can all be together again…much love nora

  5. As usual with all your houses, this one looks amazing, welcoming, aesthetic and somewhere to spend lovely times with friends. Your garden vision sounds gorgeous and I know you’ll achieve it. I hope to get visit some day in the near future.

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