By Katie Skinner – Editor, ele HOME
When the Mallett family made the move to acreage on the Gold Coast 13 years ago they had no idea how much they would love the serenity and have gone on to create an idyllic country paradise with a coastal twist.
“We loved everything about living on the Gold Coast, access to the gorgeous beaches, walking trails, shopping and at that time there was an emerging food scene but we were feeling quite hemmed in by neighbours on our standard suburban block in the suburbs. We wanted a home that offered peace and privacy from the fast pace of the Gold Coast, where we could spread out and of course, build the obligatory big shed. We both love entertaining and we wanted the space and freedom to have big family gatherings and parties and we’ve hosted plenty here over the years.”
Dana was raised in the then quiet suburb of Mudgeeraba, about a 15-minute drive from the golden beaches of South East Queensland, so for her moving back was like coming home. “I always knew I wanted a more country lifestyle, but I didn’t want to give up the beach and all the amenities the Gold Coast provides”.
When they came across a house not too far from where Dana grew up, with a gorgeous English style garden, so different from the typical tropical gardens of south east Queensland, Dana knew it was the one. “My mum was British and she had a love of traditional English gardens which she passed on to me. When I saw the rolling green landscape and the deciduous trees, I knew this was home”.
Dana owns Vintage Empire, a prop hire styling company and has helped style numerous events from Byron Bay to Noosa, so it’s fair to say she has a strong understanding of how to pull together a look. “I love the Hamptons style, who doesn’t these days, but I also appreciate a more eclectic style, similar to that of Brisbane interior designer, Anna Spiro. I love what Anna did with Halcyon House at Cabarita and her holiday home on North Stradbroke looks incredible. Because of Anna I can’t walk past an op shop without going in to look for vintage paintings.”
Other influences Dana names are Natalee Bowen from Indah Island, Amy Spargo from Maine House Interiors and a close friend who introduced her to a love of blue and white many years ago. Dana adds “Modern British Colonial is also influencing my styling at the moment”.
Asked where Dana sources homewares and materials from she cites Affordable Decorators in Bundall for their extensive range of wallpapers. She used their blue and white textured wallpaper in her entrance hallway, which was inspired by Halcyon House’s restaurant, Paper Daisy. She also loves The Print Emporium for affordable artwork and Alfresco Emporium in Bundall for their huge Hamptons inspired range. But a lot of her pieces have been found in vintage stores and op shops from all over Australia.
“One of my favourite things to do is explore little country towns, visiting random bric-a-brac stores. You learn a lot about the area and end up bringing home a little piece of pre-loved history. I get so much joy from introducing these pieces into my home.”
Dana has plenty of plans for the future, but her attention is moving to the great outdoors. “My focus now is on the garden and creating a beautiful environment for the generations to come. I love the thought of creating an oasis on the coast for my children, grandchildren (when they come along) and family and friends to visit and enjoy. My husband and I spend a lot of time exploring the south west Queensland region including Stanthorpe and Warwick. The entire Scenic Rim Region is beautiful. I source a lot of Vintage Empire pieces from this area but have also found some great pieces for our own home including vintage materials to build a greenhouse, which will be our next project. The beauty of where we are is we are so close to the stunning beaches but have a bit of a micro climate in the Mudgeeraba Valley so we still get a drop in temperature over Autumn and Winter, which means I get a changing of the leaves, my favourite time”.
Asked if she misses the hustle and bustle of urban living, Dana answers with a resounding “No way.” “There’s a lot I love about the Gold Coast, the beautiful beaches, restaurants, cafes etc. but I’d never give up our little piece of country paradise. When I pull into our winding driveway after time away, I feel a sense of peace and contentment. This is our personal sanctuary and I hope to be here for many years to come.”