Farmhouse With Soul


With the goal of creating a beach house to escape reality, Simone Mathews of Sydney-based BAM Interior Design transformed her New South Wales farmhouse into the ‘Soul of Gerringong’.

Photography Tanya Zouev  /  Words Jacqui Greig

 Pictured: Simone Matthews

Pictured: Simone Matthews

“A holiday home needs to make you feel like you are home from the moment your walk in the door – nothing too precious, yet a home that makes you smile,” says Simone Mathews. Little did she know, she’d soon have one of her own – after visiting the sleepy, coastal town of Gerringong for a friend’s birthday.

There, Simone discovered one of the area’s original farmhouses, which she quickly decided she would acquire and renovate. “Once we stepped inside, we fell in love with the character – and especially the original flooring, which we have kept and reinstalled into the barn,” she says.

Together with her builder husband, Simone restored the original front section of the farmhouse and added a new extension to the rear.

“Once we stepped inside, we fell
in love with the character – and especially the original flooring,
which we have kept and reinstalled into the barn.”


Simone freely admits she was her own worst client, with her interior design expertise affording her a plethora of design and style options: “My biggest challenge was sticking to the plan!” That plan – Simone’s interior brief – was to create a holiday home that paid homage to the character of the old farmhouse, while adding a modern, coastal feel. The laidback lifestyle of Gerringong was a major influence of styling decisions. “We didn’t want the house to be too precious,” she recalls. “We wanted it to be the type of home where you can still have sand between your toes.”


This relaxed aesthetic was complemented by Simone’s preference for bright and open spaces. She chose to use a warm white – Dulux Natural White – on the walls, and a crisp white on the ceilings – Dulux Vivid White: “I wanted white walls to create a light home, yet I didn’t want it to feel too cold.  The combination of the two whites has worked perfectly.”

The white palette contrasts beautifully with the depth of the black oak flooring, which, in turn, complements the dark stone in the fireplace.

Clearly a hero of the home, the fireplace had the render chipped off to reveal the original stone, with the couple sourcing additional stone from the grounds of the home, as well as a friend’s local farm.

Another stunning statement within the interior – the raked ceilings in the kitchen and the guest rooms. “We love playing with drama in the ceilings. It adds a feeling of more space and creates an amazing design element,” says Simone. “The guestrooms were not planned to have the pitched ceilings, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. And we are so glad we did.”



With four guestrooms in the farmhouse, an additional two-bedroom cabana, plus a self-contained barn (not to mention the seven bathrooms and a powder room), Simone has definitely flexed her creative muscle in creating a classic coastal, design-driven home, that abounds in natural textures and is genuinely liveable.

“When we purchased the property, we had so many options for the house – make it our forever home, restore and sell, or keep as a holiday house,” says Simone. “Luckily, the holiday house won, and we now have named the home, ‘Soul of Gerringong’.”


Fancy staying at Soul of Gerringong? This laid-back holiday accommodation includes seven guest rooms in the Farmhouse, Cabana and Barn starting from $1000 per night for 14 guests. If you want to book in for only two people, each month Soul opens its doors to bookings per room. 





Want to see this home in print? You’ll find the full home tour in our Summer 2017 edition, available through our online shop. Click here to buy.