Escape to Rosedale Farm with Steve Cordony
A noted aesthete and joyful epicure, Steve Cordony is also the host of Rosedale Farm, a sprawling country estate located in the picturesque town of Orange, NSW. To coincide with our giveaway* of a one-night stay at the property’s new farm stays, we spoke to the stylist extraordinaire about curating an unforgettable guest experience.
Photography by Georgina Egan
We had the pleasure of shooting our Nook Collection at Rosedale Farm several years ago, but you’ve since made further updates! Tell us about the two farm stays, which are now open to the public.
Originally the workers quarters, the farm stays were built before the residence in 1876. And although the bones were in great condition there was a lot that we needed to do to make them liveable. We ended up re-plumbing, re-wiring, fixing some rising damp, putting on a new roof, [adding] new flooring and completely restoring the farm stays to what they are today. We have added Georgian style cornices, but overall wanted the look and feel to have rustic country charm with a European sensibility.
How did you pay tribute to the guest houses’ history as the old workers’ quarters?
We have managed to contemporise the guest houses and have all the luxuries of a hotel, but we still retained the heritage and the sense of place to the original building. In particular, the reclaimed terracotta herringbone floors are reminiscent of the original flooring that was laid in 1876. The English country-style kitchenettes and the bathroom furniture are all custom, but the references for these designs were taken from classic interiors from the early 19th century. As well as all the larger interior re-design, we styled the spaces with original antique pieces found in the rooms and around the property, including old rattan wine containers, photographs, glassware and various wrought iron tools.
You’ve described the inspiration as “Italian farmhouse” – what are some key styling elements you sourced to achieve this look?
I wanted the spaces to have a ‘rustic luxe’ feel, keeping the colour palette neutral and monochromatic, but overlaying this with various textures and materials to create a multi-layered interior. I took inspiration from different Italian farmhouses and hotels we had stayed at over the years, which seemed to have the essence of what we were trying to achieve. We mixed textures including reclaimed French oak, marble, sisal and jute, terracotta, brass, bronze, limewash painted brickwork and overlayed this with vintage ceramics, gilt photo frames, Italian bedlinen, plaster lamps, velvet cushions and bleached oak furniture to create the contemporary luxe farmhouse style we set out to achieve.
We love how you have layered our rugs in the suites. How did you go about choosing rugs that complemented the interior?
Rugs demarcate any space and create a focal point in the room to base your interior around, so from the early stages of visual mood boarding right through to sampling, the rugs I chose dictated a lot of the spatial but also styling concept of the space. I knew I wanted lots of earthy texture, so I mixed chunkier weave jute rugs with softer wool rugs to contrast with the terracotta floor. Even though I wanted a neutral colour scheme, texture was crucial to create depth, so I used the subtle chevron pattern of the Babylon rug, the super chunky Sahara weave, the soft Palus rug layered over sisal carpet and Ghan Nook rugs in the bathroom.
Where have you added some small space rugs to inject some unexpected texture?
The bathroom was a key area to make [sure it felt] not only luxurious but well-considered. It had to be practical, but I also wanted them to feel like an extension of the lounge and living spaces beyond. Similarly, the kitchenettes needed smaller rugs to create separate zones.
Do you have any tips on contrasting contemporary accents and details with more of a patina?
Think about the colour palette first and foremost. When you mix new and old, raw with high polish, there needs to be a balance that makes the space feel tailored, even though it’s monochromatic. Think about forms and proportions also and make a bold statement with lighting, rugs or artwork and then more subtle statements that still feel considered and interesting to the eye.
Despite its rustic heritage, the accommodation boasts luxurious amenities – what are some of the touches that guests can expect?
Upon arrival, guests receive a beautiful cheese board with local produce and a bar stocked with champagne and Maybe Sammy cocktails. There is a custom scent in the spaces which creates a memory for guests to remember the trip by when they leave. We also have local treats, bread and breakfast treats, a handwritten note for each guest booking and a personal concierge to meet and greet our guests. We have Santa Maria Novella amenities, Bemboka towels and Italian linen, along with Sonos speakers, a basket for guests to pick their own fruit and vegetables, and Dyson hairdryers. Seasonally, we also plan to style each room with produce and flowers from our garden and will encourage guests to go to the vegetable garden with the basket provided and take home any produce they prefer.
You’ve been at Rosedale Farm for six years now. What do you love about the property through the different seasons?
I love how distinct each season is, and how quickly it changes. In Sydney, seasons tend to linger into one another, but in Orange, the autumn leaves start turning golden yellow in March, the dusting of frost happens right before June, the myriad of bulbs start popping up in September and then come summer, all the deciduous trees are crisp green.
What are some of your places to eat, drink, shop and visit in Orange?
My absolute go-to places for breakfast and coffee are – Groundstone Café, Bills Beans, Racine Bakery, The Grocer & Co Organics, The Agrestic Grocer, Byng St Local Store, Café Gather, and Scoop Wholefoods.
For dinner and drinks, Union Bank is my go-to for date night, as well as Mr Lim, Raku Izakaya, Printhie Wines Cellar Door for the most incredible degustation by head chef Jack Brown, and Ferment.
Shop at The Sonic (owned by my friend Pip, who has the most amazing store filled with colourful homewares and fashion), The Essential Ingredient and The White Place.
Learn more about Rosedale Farm here.