As you’ve probably seen on Instagram or Facebook (does anyone actually read only my blog anymore?!) we have escaped the farm and are living seaside for most of January, thanks to Super Grandi renting a house at Balnarring Beach for the whole fam-bam to come and go as they please over the school holidays and Summer break. This Westernport side of the Mornington Peninsula is so much quieter than the hustle and bustle of Rye and Sorrento and Portsea at this time of year, the pace is slow and simple at Balnarring, and we’ve explored the area from Flinders to Red Hill to Somers. Being only an hour and a half from Melbourne or from Thorpdale, family have been able to come and go if working (like Matt is) and Grandi has been able to head back to Melbourne for doctors appointments – a great location to suit the whole crew, the best of both worlds as we ease into a new year.
The house though…the house! It is perfect. Everything you could want in a family holiday home. Behold: ‘Palmers Hill’…
The house is the original farmhouse of Balnarring Beach (of course it is – hello: fitting!) and sits proudly on the hill overlooking the little bay. Despite it’s sprawling nature, the house seems both grand and quaint all at once. It is both a simple original design and a mismatch of renovations and additions over the years, but a delightful rabbit warren of rooms (which, actually are not too rabbit warren-y at all, the floor plan I have been admiring for it’s modern open plan yet still retaining the original homes integrity, something which is sometimes lacking in renovated older homes). Light filled spaces with water views greet from every angle, classic design touches everywhere you look and a simple elegant nod to the grand old dame’s late 1920’s heritage.
We looked at more modern homes to rent, all sleek lines and infinity pools, smaller but with all the bells and whistles – but ‘Palmers Hills’ spoke more to me (probably more so than my modern design loving sister!) We have all remarked that the house really feels like a warm family home, you can feel it in it’s creaky floorboards that have held the thundering footsteps of a tribe of children and the lawn that has seen a thousand backyard cricket matches before it. There have been tournaments of table tennis in the outdoor pavilion, barbecues on the front verandah, movie nights with popcorn on the leather lounges, giggling overtired cousins climbing into the bunks way too late at night and lazy afternoon siestas in the sunroom. All the things that family Summer holidays should be full of…
It’s clear to see the house has been lovingly decorated by someone with a keen eye for simple design – not overly ‘done’ but a flowing country-cum-beach-cum-modern-farmhouse aesthetic throughout – basically riiiiight up my alley! At last count I think I added up 22 beds to easily be used, perfect for three families as the house is set-up with three separate sleeping zones, or wings, (including upstairs with a gorgeous master suite overlooking the beach with a big window seat). This house has made me realise all the little things I think I’d like in a forever home of our own, one day: an island bench to sit little people at and feed, a laundry off the kitchen, a wide entry hall for shoes and hats and bags, sweet little nooks to hide away with a book and cup of tea devoid of technology, a dumping space bench in the kitchen but not in the kitchen all at once, an open plan living/dining/kitchen space which isn’t just one big long room. Thoughtful, practical, yet beautifully designed spaces. On the 2018 and beyond resolutions list is to definitely stay in more Air BnB houses, it sparks so much inspiration and gets the creative juices flowing, living in someone else’s shoes just for a moment. We’ve also been pleasantly surprised to find the kitchen heavily stocked with all the bits and bobs you need to feed a hungry tribe of kids, wood for the fire, coffee capsules for the machine and even a cot for Harriet – everything just works for big groups like ours (at the peak of our stay we had nine kids and seven adults here, but lots of cousins, friends and family have come and gone, gone and come again!)
‘Palmers Hill’ has very (very!) easily become our home-away-from-home over the past few weeks, we’ve slipped comfortably and easily into it’s cosy yet sprawling surrounds…and will be sad to say good-bye come Sunday. It has been quite simply the perfect family home to envelop our own family in it’s high ceilings and sash windows and quaint ephemera dotted throughout the home on hall tables and bathroom vanities and bedside tables. Pretty much my idea of a cracking good holiday escape, which I’m very much hoping we will return to one day.
Palmers Hill is located in Balnarring Beach, on the Westernport Bay side of the Mornington Peninsula. The house can be viewed at www.palmershill.com and booked through Stayz.com, it sleeps 20+ people comfortably, has four bathrooms, a modern kitchen, with a pool, huge outdoor dining table, lawn area and games, table tennis pavilion and a private walking track to the beach. See, paradise – I told you!