A Place to Call Home | McGrath

A Place to Call Home

Issue 47
19/02/2020 | 6 MIN READ

Nestled between thick trees and bountiful grasslands is the picturesque town of Kangaroo Valley. Just a two-hour drive from Sydney, this town is a countryside haven for boutique shops, bakeries and bush walks, the perfect place to reconnect with nature and experience the serenity of the Southern Highlands. 


For Australian artist and stylist Lisa Madigan, Kangaroo Valley holds a unique charm that the city simply can’t compare to. Looking for a place to call home, she and husband Rob left the stress of Sydney’s housing market behind, setting their sights on a quaint, little cottage in the heart of the Valley. Intimate in size and big at heart, The Cottage, aptly named, is their little slice of heaven in the Australian countryside.


Originally built in 1880, The Cottage’s raw authenticity and modesty immediately captured the couple’s attention. “I love the South Coast, there was always something lush and enticing about it to me and it’s such a beautiful part of the world,” Lisa expresses. “There, The Cottage seemed to be waiting for us, hidden behind a huge hedge of weeds, chipped paint and old cedar trees. I instantly fell in love with it.”


After six years of living in The Cottage, Lisa and Rob decided to share their hidden gem with the world, turning it into a guesthouse and events space in 2014. Lisa had always envisioned The Cottage as a place to be shared; a destination for travellers from all corners of the globe, where ‘aesthetic hunters’ could bask in the beauty of the regional New South Wales. 


Visitors to The Cottage will be romanced by its heritage, where Lisa’s careful restoration celebrates the history and charm of Kangaroo Valley in a space that belongs on the pages of interior design magazines. Looking to shine a light on the bones of the house, Lisa kept many of the original features (such as floorboards dating back to the 1880’s!), bringing them to life once more with the help of contemporary elements and pared-back styling.


Open and light-filled, the lounge area boasts a grand fireplace and an oversized bay window that frames views of the property’s rambling garden. Guests can sit back and relax on the oversized linen couch, or take a seat on one of Lisa’s impressive collection of vintage chairs. A sleek, stainless steel kitchen contrasts to the antique charm of the living room, where state-of-the-art appliances promise to make the most of the Valley’s local produce. After a day exploring waterfalls or kayaking on the river, the bedroom beckons, where sumptuous linens make for a perfect night’s sleep, and soft, morning light signals the start of a new day. 


For those searching for inspiration or simply struck by creativity, Lisa has kept her personal studio open to guests. Once the place where she would create her art, The Studio is part of The Cottage, a retreat within a retreat where writing, painting and creating is all welcome. 


“I toyed with the idea of turning it into a second bedroom,” Lisa said, “but there’s something in the walls once it’s been a living, breathing artists studio, we thought that was something worth preserving.”


Passionate about creating a space that sits in harmony with the natural surrounds, Lisa transformed The Cottage into an escape dedicated to serenity. Warm and inviting, it acts as a home away from home, a destination that connects guests to the magic of the past and the beauty of the present, an ode to the charm of Kangaroo Valley.