So...today on Moon to Moon I am extremely excited and happy to introduce Rachel, one half of The Silk Road and her fabulous Waldorf Inspired home in the Australian hills... Light, roomy and full to the brim with happy house plants and stunning finds from her travels across the globe I have been drooling over Rachel's pad for some time..... so was mega excited when she agreed to share her home on Moon to Moon and Answer a few questions....
1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?
I am 33, married to my soulmate Gawaine and a mum to two incredible girls, Zaala Zahara and Luna Indigo. I am a registered nurse specialised in Emergency & Intensive Care and I am also a remote area nurse for the indigenous communities of remote Australia. That said, at the moment I’m taking extended maternity leave from nursing to enjoy the bliss of being at home with my girls in the Adelaide Hills, Australia. I am also co-founder of The Silk Road, an online shop with artisan made items collected on our travels across the globe.
2) How did you find this beautiful home and how long have you lived in it?
We have been extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live in the home that my husband grew up in. It’s an incredibly quirky home that has had a beautiful history; his family filled it with music, house concerts, visitors from all walks of life from around the world and lots of love. For many years it was THE meeting place and I’d hazard to guess that almost everyone in our community has a beautiful memory tucked away of their time spent in this house. We moved in two years ago and although it's much quieter these days, it is very much home for us.
3) Your husband must have really fond memories of the place. Have you altered it much since you moved in?
The amazing energy that came with this home and the memories of the space was still fresh in everyone’s mind when we moved in. It could have proven to be a challenge to make the shift in making it our own space whilst being respectful to what the home once was; and give our family time to adjust to the changes we brought. Luckily, our family were 100% supportive and encouraging to change it up and make it our own.
Our close circle and wider network is thanks, in large part, to my husband and his family. He was part of an incredible community-centered school and through it I have formed an amazing circle of friends who I love. Like other Waldorf communities around the world, his network has carried through into adulthood and our daughter has now started her journey here. It is rich in heart and generosity, encourages mindful and slow living, growing your own food etc. I definitely miss my lifelong friends in Queensland that I've known forever but although we sometimes dream of living back in the tropics, we know our little town in the hills is definitely now home.
5) Every item in your house is absolutely stunning. Could you pick 3 objects with a history and tell us about them?
Many of the pieces in our home have been collected on our travels over the years. We have had some incredible opportunities when it comes to travel and found ourselves in some fairly remote corners of the world. One of the hardest things we have had to transport home was a wooden carving of a Fulani lady carrying her child on her back. She is over a meter tall and we found her in the amazing city of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. We still had over a month in West Africa before going home but we couldn’t leave her behind! So we cut up a foam mattress from the local market to place her in a soft protected casing and then she took up residence in Gawaine's backpack as we travelled onward through Mali and Ghana.
I also love to collect handmade textiles. My favourite piece is an old heavily embroidered young mans jacket I found in Kachchh, Gujurat. This amazing area in western India is home to the Rabari, a semi-nomadic group of pastoralists and anyone who has a thing for Indian textiles knows that Kachchh is renowned for its incredible artisans. This colourful jacket is actually the piece that inspired the creation of TheSilk Road.
Another special piece is an old silver round amulet I found in the centuries old Esfahan bazaar in central Iran. Historically, the Esfahan bazaar was an significant place of trade on the Silk Road. The amulet was made by the Kuchi peoples of Afghanistan which borders Iran, and it is such a symbolic piece to me of our journey with The Silk Road.
6) Do you have a favourite place in your home?
The bay windows in our kitchen and living room are such a glorious source of natural light and are integral to our day to day movements in our home. Everything we do revolves in and around these beautiful bay windows. They are huge, with the added benefit of being north facing which is perfect for our southern hemisphere seasonal changes. There is also an old rambling grape vine that twists and winds its way along the entire northern aspect of the house, just about the windows. In the summer months the grape shades the sun with its expansive green vinery, and in the cooler months the leaves turn a rich shade of auburn before falling off. The winter sun then streams in and warms the entire downstairs living spaces. The downstairs of the house has been built with rammed earth which encourages minimal fluctuations in temperature year round; the thick walls of compacted earth stay cool in summer and the sun warms the walls in winter.
7) What are you currently listening too
Loren Kate, an Australian award winning musician who I have the immense pleasure of calling a friend. She is a remarkable human and story teller. Her music never fails to leave me with goose bumps or in tears.
8) What are you currently reading?
We have a great collection of books, mostly non-fiction and generally anything related to worldwide cultures, world issues or stories exploring the lives of people who create change in the world. I would love to say I was actually currently reading something of that vein, but I just looked over to my bedside table and there is a very dog-eared copy of the India Lonely Planet. I re-read sections of it before I go to bed each night. India is my heartland, a country that has left such an imprint on me....Plus we have two little people tucked up in bed with us so I don’t read big books the way I used to.
9) If you could travel either back in time or to a far off land to grab some interior items where would you go?
I feel that our home is full to the brim with so many things, and although I love each and every piece that has found its way to us, I feel like we have everything we could ever need and at the end of the day it’s just stuff. As I grow older, I now would be much happier to work and learn alongside NGO’s who are committed to working with artisans to protect their traditional knowledge of crafts or provide skills, a safe place of work and income to marginalised or minority groups. This is what we have always been passionate about at The Silk Road and this year we intend to make a strong shift in this direction.
10) You opened The Silk Road nearly two years ago, how did that project come about?
The Silk Road was born out of a love of wrapping our global wanderings around us. Lou and I wanted to have small collections, sourced fairly and respectfully by us on our travels. We have been committed to sourcing from artisans and we have grown steadily in the past two years. This is in large part thanks to Instagram and the incredible people who have supported our journey. We feel that many of our followers ‘know' us, they have watched us travel around the world with our husbands and daughters and we think (we hope!) they trust that we always source with integrity. We intend to now use our small platform to bring awareness to issues that we feel passionate about and share these stories with those who wish to give back alongside us. We will still be artisan based, but with an emphasis on supporting individuals and communities who are at risk or marginalised.
11) Whats next for you in 2016?
Fortunately The Silk Road has always tied in perfectly with our personal plans, the two are very interwoven and symbiotic. As a family we will be travelling to Cambodia early in the year and then back to India in the second half of the year. We love our home, but we are happiest when learning and living out in the world.
Thank You so Much to Rachel for taking the time to share her Nest.