The River House

Words by Natalie Bannister - Photography Steve Ryan, Rix Ryan Photography

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Hidden away in its own quiet valley with no neighbours for almost a kilometre in either direction, The River House really does feel like its own special, private world. Set on over 100 acres, surrounded by pristine native rainforest and with its own waterhole, it is a retreat for the senses – a sanctuary that honours the beauty of the land it dwells on.

The owner is a stylish and well travelled personality with a knack for combining the very best of world influences, with the result being a home that hints at a bohemian lifestyle. A mix of Moroccan, Indian, Persian, baroque, vintage, rustic and tropical styles may seem like an unlikely match but he has made it work perfectly – romantic, exotic, light and airy, it has a luxe-hippy vibe with just the right amount of quirkiness.

Moroccan style

Moroccan style

The River House has clearly been created with a view towards re-connecting with nature, with a design that welcomes the outdoors in, enveloping every nook and cranny of every room. There is an abundance of entertaining space – from the formal lounge to the huge deck overlooking the private waterhole which remains completely raw and untouched, with emerald green waters, moss covered rocks, and a resident family of ducks and playful platypuses.

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The formal lounge area is completely opened up to the outdoors with bifold doors and soaring ceilings, highlighted by the woven pendant lamps that hang like discarded fisherman’s baskets over the coffee table. This is the room where the owner’s unique style speaks volumes, with a bowerbird mix of ethnic collectables, beautiful artworks, contemporary fittings and touches of vintage nostalgia. The space flows seamlessly onto the huge deck outside, where a choice of two different lounge areas and deck chairs are an entertainer’s dream.

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Four bedrooms, including a master suite are on the ground level, and two separate pavilions joined by an open air walkway are where you will find the remaining loft-style guest suites, each decorated in a light and rustic style – beds draped with mosquito nets, louvred windows and soaring A-frame ceilings, with signature timber floors and white washed surfaces throughout.

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pic-2The master suite is accessed through double carved antique Indian doors and features a plush king size bed, layered with crisp white linen with the beautiful antique wrought iron headboard made from salvaged gates – this is a defining style statement. Floor to ceiling windows bathe the room in natural light and frame the view of the rainforest and private billabong beyond, with bifold doors and an ample use of louvred windows to let the breeze through.

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The River House is a part of the forest, and it has a life of its own, accompanied by the songs of tree frogs, grasshoppers and whip birds, and the ever present chorus of running water as an orchestra from nature herself. Sitting on the back deck with a glass of wine or a pot of tea, just being present in this glorious setting would be a daily pleasure. This is total and complete serenity in the heart of the Northern Rivers.

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