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Homebody: Elise & Jack Brownlow

Homebody: Elise & Jack Brownlow
A slower pace of life never loses its appeal. This was the temptation that drew Elise and Jack Brownlow of Brama Build to Upper Wilsons Creek, a small town hidden in a valley of the Byron Hinterland. We spent some time with the warm-hearted Elise and her son Wilder, learning more about their life in the mountains.

Through the lens of photographer Andy Macpherson, we discover the serene nature of the family's home and its stunning natural surroundings.

"We were living in the suburbs down in Victoria when I saw the property for sale online. The photo that drew me in was one looking out the windows from our now dining room across the valley - green in every shade and so expansive.

I dreamed of finishing the build that had never eventuated for the multiple previous owners and became infatuated with the challenge and the vision. It was a far-off dream that after months of imagining, we finally decided we would regret not giving it a go, put an offer in, and bought the site unseen. 

We drove up in a caravan to live on the land while we started the process and realised why it had sat on the market for so long and also maybe why no one had yet to build a habitable dwelling after so many attempts… there were a few challenges and we spent much longer living in a caravan than expected, but the wait was well worth it!"

“Wind your way up the mountain, crossing the creek a few times as you go, to find the place we gratefully call home. It’s a wild and untamed land. It’s vibrant and the energy is strong!” 

Every element in your home focuses on quality and has such a timeless and serene feeling. How did you approach the design process of this new build? 

The feeling of serenity was an essential quality we endeavoured to elicit as we built our ideas into reality. With the external environment being the focus, the internal space was intended to be simple, encouraging restfulness and peace. 

"We chose materials as close to nature as we could to create a healthy home for our growing family. One of my favourite elements is the Venetian Plaster we used on all the internal walls - it’s a product that naturally breathes and is resistant to mould which was so important when choosing materials and finishes given the rainforest conditions." 

The remoteness of your property is an immense part of its beauty. How has this distance from town impacted your family's pace of life and your daily routine?

We definitely leave the house a lot less than we used to! We try to grow as much food as we can which has been a very humbling journey. Growing in the rainforest microclimate is definitely not without its challenges but we have learnt so much and is such a great way to connect more deeply with a place. Life is a lot quieter out here than it was as city folk! 

Can you share with us some of your favourite places to go nearby?

Coffee at Highlife in Byron then Wategos on a still, sunny day for a swim is my ideal outing. After a long stretch at home, it feels especially good to head to the ocean and reset.  

Imagery by Andy Macpherson
See more of Elise & Jack's Home, Brama Build, here.

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