Anyone with even a passing interest in Australasian design and general creativity will be familiar, if not damned well in love with, the brilliant Julia Atkinson and her unsurpassed website/blog/magic space Studio Home.
I’ve worked with Ju on a bunch of cool projects over the last year or so and follow her energetic, passionate and downright delicious posts religiously. Pretty much crushing on everything she does (I even had the privilege of cat-sitting her giant Korean furbag Ho #hothecat, swoon), when we clocked her summer unfolding from a place called Mt. Tamborine, I knew I needed to get Julia to share a little piece of her paradise with Undone…
Having a business that calls the invisible office space of the internet home has some massive benefits, and for the first time I really put them to the test by leaving my Auckland flat (and cat) under the guardianship of a friend and jumped the Tasman to spend two months based with my sister in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Now, I know the Gold Coast conjures cringey images of grubby 80s high-rises and cheesy holiday parks… but I was as shocked as you when I first visited a rather beautiful spot to the west of the sandy strip.
My sister and her fiancé live in a small two-bedroom rented cottage on Mt. Tamborine, a plateau rising 500 metres above sea level about 40 minutes inland from Surfers Paradise. Pockets of farmland, small towns and the odd token “winery” (the grapes are grown elsewhere) are carved out of woodland and some original ancient rainforest.
It might have been the return to semi-rural living that grabbed me, but I fell hard and fast for the place. I set up Studio Home HQ on a trestle table in the laundry and with a breezy slatted view from my louvered windows I lapped up the daily distractions of Tom the horse on his grazing route, waving tops of giant gum trees and the wild monkey screams of the kookaburra.
I’ll admit I arrived thinking everything in Australia was out to kill me. Snakes, spiders, sharks… all out to hunt me down. Amazingly I’m leaving having seen (and touched!) a carpet python and a red-bellied black snake (definitely not touched… and from a great distance… argh…)
I’ve leapt up to screech and take pictures of an enormous lizard crossing the lawn, relished winning the daily attack of a lone March fly and actually established a friendly existence with the enormous Huntsmen spiders that shared the ceiling side of my bedroom.
While I now know those beasts won’t “hunt” me, I think I will nurse my ridiculous shark fear for years to come, but am proud to say I spent a lot of time pushing past it on that golden coastline.
My psychologist sister calls it “exposure therapy”, and I can vouch for its success. I am largely cured of my Kiwi fears and the land of OZ and her crazy, fantasy-like creatures now trigger more wonder in me than my previous turn-and-run reflex.
With the adventure drawing to an end next week, I’ve had a look back through my Instagram feed and the #mttamborinecottage tag, sharing a few of my favourites with you above.
There are so many more (which might speak more of my Insta addiction than anything) so please feel free to browse. If anything – I just hope they might break down that GC prejudice a little and pop Mt. Tamborine and the beautiful Scenic Rim region on your “to explore” list. I certainly haven’t finished with it yet…
– Julia Atkinson, Studio Home