Page 1

C OU NT RY S�yle & D�sign J U S T I N



Published in Australia in 2012 by The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd ABN 89 059 734 431 6 Bastow Place, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170, Australia Tel: +61 3 9561 5544 Fax: +61 3 9561 4860 Copyright © The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd 2012 The Images Publishing Group Reference Number: 977 All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry: Author: Title:

Bishop, Justin. Country Style & Design / Justin Bishop ISBN: 9781864704488 (hbk.) Subjects: Country homes—Decoration. Interior decoration. Other Authors/Contributors: Ball, Debbie. Dewey Number: 747






My Country Life

Style 38

My Thoughts on Style


English Country Style


French Country Style


American Country Style


Australian Country Style

Design 136

My Thoughts on Design

Edited by Debbie Ball


Colour and Texture

Designed by The Graphic Image Studio Pty Ltd, Mulgrave, Australia


Kitchen and Dining Room Design


Living Room Design


Bedroom Design


Bathroom Design



Pre-publishing services by United Graphic Pte Ltd, Singapore Printed by Everbest Printing Co. Ltd., in Hong Kong/China on 150 gsm Quatro Silk Matt paper IMAGES has included on its website a page for special notices in relation to this and our other publications. Please visit For further information contact Justin Bishop at



Justin B�sho� �s

passionate about timeless

This approach, together with his passion for classical archi-

his lifetime. Known for his sophisticated blend of well-loved

country interior design, traditional design and decoration. His

tecture, was to form the core of Justin’s business endeavours. In

vintage furniture and classic interior items, Justin’s work has

personal design principles echo an age of well-loved enduring

January 2001, Justin opened his first workshop and showroom

appeared in a variety of leading magazines and interior publica-

classics and comforting time-honoured style.

in Richmond, Victoria where he produced a wide range of

tions, including Australian Country Style, The Age newspaper

decorative interior design products. Extensive travel overseas

and the British House magazine.

He was raised at historic ‘Pigeon Bank’, his family’s ancestral

during this time provided great inspiration for his work and

home in Melbourne’s tranquil Yarra Valley, where he joined his

clients throughout Australia, Europe and the United States have

In July 2006, Justin purchased an original cottage in the pictur-

family in the delicate restoration of the property. During his

since commissioned items from his collections. Justin has been a

esque town of Sassafras in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. The

childhood and formative years Justin developed an innate sense

regular exhibitor at home and garden shows nationally, such as

property was time-worn and sadly neglected yet Justin was

of period style and traditional craftsmanship from being involved

The Australian National Trusts Heritage and Restoration Show

instantly drawn to the property’s charm and he is currently

in the restoration at Pigeon Bank; skills he would later demon-

and Melbourne’s RACV Home Show.

restoring the house and garden to their original condition. Filled with his selection of vintage furniture and collectables, the house

strate when creating his first range of decorative architectural miniatures. He studied graphic design, theatre design and fine

Justin’s passion for traditional design is also evident in his interior

will undoubtedly become a masterpiece of Justin Bishop’s classic

art, however it was the ‘hands on’ approach to design he de-

design style, where his training at Melbourne’s Swinburne

signature style of ‘country’.

veloped at Pigeon Bank that affected and inspired him the most.

University has been combined with the skills he developed over





I� I �laime�

to be an authority on any particular

interior design style, it would be the style that is ‘country’.

From my grassroots, growing up in my family’s ancestral home in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley, to travelling through rural areas in countries all around the world, the simple, pared-down classic style of country has long been engrained in my psyche.

For many years I have had a desire to produce a book. I knew it would happen when the time was right; when I felt I had something to say, something worthy of putting down on paper. It became clear over time that a book featuring beautiful country interiors, exteriors and gardens would be a perfect vehicle for my knowledge, experience and design ethic. Based on traditional country style with clean, modern influences, the book would be a collection of inspirational images, style notes and stories that represent the essence of ‘country interior design’ as I know it.







I �ave sta�ed �rue �� �� ���ie� ��at style �s sim��e; �t �oul� �nly �� �a� �t �eeds �� ��, �o�ing �ore �n� �o�ing �ess.

I decided to travel and research, write and photograph. To discover visions, places, stories and things that represent the country style that I know and love. My idea was to present a stunning book for those wishing to emulate this style of design; whether they live in the country or the city, in a mansion or an apartment. They may be relocating, renovating, or simply looking to be taken on a journey by a book about a style that they love.

My style has always been classic, void of colour and decorative trends. I have stayed true to my belief that style is simple; it should only be what it needs to be, nothing more and nothing less. The style of my parents and indeed my rural upbringing has curbed my approach to design and it’s this approach that appears throughout this book.

I have presented this book as a ‘collection’ that will inform, entertain and inspire its readers. Not a typical country book, but a representation of my vision of what is ‘country style and design’.




My style �as ��wa�s ��e� �lassic, void �f �o�ou� �n� ��co�ative �rends. 18



My Country Life

My �n��ri�� �esign

ambitions began as a boy.

Growing up in rural Victoria in my family’s ancestral property

‘Pigeon Bank’, was a magical experience. My parents allowed my passion for creativity to run wild as we spent years renovating the property.

My bedroom was my proudest achievement, with restored floorboards, white-washed tongue-and-groove lining boards (reaching to 13-foot ceilings) and antique fittings. It was a large room and I used old ship sails to divide areas, draping them

I ��gan �o�ecting ng �urin� �u �hese �a�ly �ea�, �l� furniture; re; �u �ushi�ns; �n� �n��resting �bjects; �llll �f �ic� �ol� � sto�y. 22

theatrically, yet simply. I began collecting during these early years, old furniture; cushions; and interesting objects; all of which told a story. I would create displays and photograph them (when I was lucky enough to borrow my parents’ camera).

My parents bought historic Pigeon Bank in the late 1970s. Originally a 180-acre property, it belonged to my mother’s great grandparents who built the majority of the home in 1886. The large Victorian homestead, perched high on a hill in Kangaroo

My Country Life


Ground, is in the southern tip of Australia’s Great Dividing Range and commands views of Melbourne and beyond.

My great-great-grandfather, a member of Victorian parliament, ran the property as a prize-winning farm breeding Clydesdale horses. He, his wife and 11 children lived at Pigeon Bank until his death in 1915 when the house and its contents were sold out of the family. Changing hands several times, the house and gardens underwent many style incarnations, from neat 1920’s chic to 1960’s modernism. By the time we took over the reins it was quite a collection of styles.

My parents’ vision was clear: to restore the property to its original condition with genuine period details. My father was keen to give the house a grand facelift. Sometimes his decisionmaking leant more towards ‘City Mansion’ than ‘Country Farmhouse’, however my mother held her ground firmly. The renovation and restoration of Pigeon Bank was sympathetic to its origins and it personified true country style.


My Country Life


During my childhood, there was constant activity at home; we moved our living spaces around the house as we tackled the restoration of various sections one at a time. Twentieth-century additions were removed or transformed as we uncovered many original fittings and fixtures that were promptly restored and returned to their former glory. Details were researched with the help of local craftsmen and by scouring notes and photographs of our family history, as the house was returned to its Victorian splendour.

I spent �an� �ee�ends �� �e ��c� �eat � �� parents’ �a� �ravel�in� ��ound Melb�urn� �n � �uest �s �e ��gan � �e� �oom. 26

I was always excited by our next project. It meant trips into town to visit restoration hardware stores and clearance yards searching for materials. I spent many weekends in the back seat of my parents’ car travelling around Melbourne on a quest as we began a new room. Every weekend saw a new challenge as we set out to strip back original architectural fittings, doors and architraves to their original condition or to choose colours to match a tiny sample of something original we found on a wall, under layers of wallpaper and paint.

My Country Life


As the restoration progressed, stepping into the property became like stepping back in time. An authentic sense of history filled the rooms. The presence of our ancestors was always felt, as their photographs and belongings were often proudly on display. All furniture and accessories were true to the origins of the house and any modern conveniences were hidden or concealed behind period details.

I valued our magical lifestyle immensely and loved being part of it. My first bedroom in the house was quite plain, in true Victorian farmhouse style. I began collecting old bits and pieces to add interest and to play my role in the recreation of the property’s period style. I remember once asking for an antique toy fire engine for my birthday rather than something modern, as my school friends would have no doubt preferred.


My Country Life


While we worked on the house, the grounds at Pigeon Bank were also transformed and again, we salvaged all we could of the original property. Time-worn farm fences were restored, outbuildings rebuilt, and gardens replanted with the help of family photos and some fading memories of elderly relatives who had known the property in its heyday.

Here, we added our own additions: building country sheds in Victorian style including an enormous two-storey barn with stable doors and an attic. We also extended the gardens. After restoring the original house surrounds with Victorian specimens and traditional layouts, we added a further five acres of landscaping, which included garden rooms and open lawns bordered with hedges, a croquet lawn with its own pavilion and a large ornamental lake complete with jetty and an island.


My Country Life


I �id �ot �no� �t �hen, ��t ����ing ��c� c� �o�, �o I ��a�ise �at �� �ma�ing �ift �t �as �� �� � ���� �� �f �� parents’ journey.

We always kept an array of livestock including horses, Hereford cattle, sheep and poultry; all housed in well-designed period style stables and well-fenced yards. Walking through the farm’s many open paddocks on my way to school each morning was always an adventure.

At home, as a family, we worked together on many projects. At first I was a quiet observer and as I grew, I became very ‘hands on’, designing and constructing new additions alongside my parents. I did not know it then, but looking back now, I realise what an amazing gift it was to be a part of my parents’ journey.

Not only was I able to watch them refine and master many practical and creative skills, but I also saw their passion for the creative process. It rubbed off on me and has stayed with me ever since.


My Country Life


Country Style and Design  

Country Style and Design beautifully showcases Justin Bishop's intricate knowledge of country style and design. Blending traditional country...