Meet Tara

I’m Tara -I am impulsive, messy-haired, slightly eccentric and madly in love with the stories of places, objects and people. It all fascinates me; I want to know what makes you tick and the stories you have within; it’s the same with places and objects.

I haven’t always known this; I discovered it when we restyled the cottage; I taught myself, discovered and learned styling tricks and things about myself and styling I never knew existed.

Now that I know more and go further down the styling rabbit hole, I have realised I use a system and rules to create spaces, both and rooms. Of course, it’s organic, and it “just happens”, but there are definitely subconscious rules and habits.

It usually starts on Instagram then Pinterest where I pin a million things I love to the board then I cull.

For Simpson Cottage all my pins were old vintage style places oozing character and charm and surprisingly uncluttered and I was surprised how fond I became of green I had a board full of vintage style old houses and rooms and I wanted a touch of green.

I describe the cottage as rustic luxury, its defintiley not sophisticated, but the charming useful and nesecasry things a home needs are always the best quality. Sofas MUST be comfy, matresses too and made to last, and linen must all be the best quality, I only buy linen grown and processed in Europe near where its grown. I wont buy linen that is shipped off to be mass produced in another country from where it grew -this ensures quality and minimises the carbon foot print.

Although the cottage is a holiday house, it’s my house, it’s what I love and how I’d love my own home to look if it didn’t have a constant trail of people coming and going and dropping their stuff along the way; Simpson Cottage is my escape.

And so, to achieve it I engaged a friend stylist to help -she was the constraint I badly needed- and at the time I had no idea how we did it.

Since then I’ve discovered my rule of 2 out of 3.

Do I love it? Is it useful? doesn’t have a story? This isn’t the only set of rules, but it’s where I start when I’m tempted and think I can’t live without something. This is what stops me filling then cottage with “just anything”

This is the first rule I apply to stop impulsive purchases and how I apply constraint.

It doesn’t always work and I have a shed full of “props”…


1st May 2022

Hello Hello,

I thought I’d share a little more about me and how I tick, Simpson Cottage is where I’m most at home and peace and sharing it with others brings more joy than I could have ever imagined.

I grew up as far removed from a coastal paradise as you could get; miles from anywhere in country New South Wales, Australia on a cattle farm surrounded by thousands of acres of hills, paddocks, cows and few people. In my early school years I attended a tiny school with just six other students and one teacher in one classroom.

During my high school years I went to a boarding school in Sydney, about six hours drive from home.

I’ve been married for 30 years and couldn’t love him more if I tried. I am normal though, there have been times when I wondered what was I thinking? These days I shrug, shake my head and ponder how its been so long -it feels like 10.

Despite outward appearances of a bubbly extrovert, I crave alone time. I need time away from the hustle and bustle and could easily stay home with my tiny troupe- pets and hubby- I’d be content with just the occasional interaction with other creative souls who can refuel my creative passions.

I tell you this because it’s a huge influence in how I made Simpson Cottage HOME.

My home needs to feel like it’s a million miles away and it needs be a sanctuary -I need an escape. Our “real life” and family home is in Bondi, where my husband has lived all his life; our business (mechanical car repairs) is a 7 minute walk from home, but Bondi is a busy revolving door, our adult children are always coming and going with their friends and so Simpson Cottage is where I go to take a deep breath and relax. Simpson Cottage is Home.

It’s a sandstone cottage perched on a hill overlooking the water and just an hour south of Sydney in Bundeena. We share a fenceless boundary with the Royal National Park and it feels like it’s a million miles from anywhere. Built in the 1860’s, the cottage is the oldest building in the area and was about as remote as it gets. Hot and dry in the summer, cool in the winter, the climate is perfect year round for living outside and swimming in the water below.

The cottage began its life being built by George Simpson and included a pig sty and market garden that he worked with his son. The Simpson family were also responsible for the construction of a wharf and ferry service to make Bundeena accessible . I was determined to honour the humble beginnings and the history and being a hopeless romantic I always wanted to share it with other busy people so they could escape and make precious memories.