Lucy Hosken

Meet Lucy Hosken, the former advertising executive and designer, who divides her time between Sydney and her gorgeous farmhouse in the Tasmanian countryside. With a focus on down-to-earth living, the mother of two – to Millie, 10, and William, 8 – is determined to give her family the best of both worlds

  1.  
  1. Photographed by BETHANIE LEONARD

  2. Editor NATASHA INCHLEY 

Home On The Range: main picture top, at Quamby Home, Lucy Hosken with her husband Stewart, and children Millie and William; above, the farm's heavenly fields.

Your farmhouse is gorgeous – luxurious yet so cosy, and it seems like the perfect place to raise a family. How did it come to be yours? My husband Stewart and I are from Tasmania, we both had an idyllic childhood there and were brought up with a wholesome grounded approach to life. We wanted the same for our kids; to give them the best of both worlds. When we purchased Quamby House, we didn’t know anything about farming – Stew had to do a lot of YouTubing. At that point the house was about to be bowled over but we insisted on keeping it and embarked upon a full renovation. The house was built in the 1800s and had amazing bones but it was in a horrific state having been totally empty for 80 years. We undertook an intense restoration campaign and built a whole new space on the back – the interiors had to be durable enough to rent out, so we installed polished concrete floors and white walls to combat the mud, and we used fairly inexpensive finishes coupled with lovely authentic details, a high street–low street mix.  Now, it's like a farm-stay but with all the luxuries.

  1.  

In a way, you are raising your children in two very different worlds? Yes, the farm is open, it's filled with light and it's all about the outdoors. In Sydney we live in a terrace house near Centennial Park,  it's very much city living. When I was little, my favourite book was The Town Mouse And The  Country Mouse​. I could never decide which mouse I loved most, I wanted it all – my husband would rather be the country mouse, but the farm gives our family the best of both worlds. I think there are huge, valuable lessons to be learnt from being on the land and understanding where food comes from. My children  fossick in the bush and collect sticks  for bonfires, learning outdoors is so good for them.

You founded the label Nearly Nude ten years ago, having worked before that in media publishing and advertising. What ignited your love of design? It has always been in me, I have three sisters and yet I’m the only one with this passion. I remember saving all my pocket money when I was a child to walk to the shops to buy magazines like Bambini Vogue, I was strangely obsessed with fashion from an early age and I was always driven by the excitement of it.

Creatively, one thing you keep returning to is ...  Neutral tones, I’m obsessed – my wardrobe is filled with grey marle, white, beige and stripes. I collect key pieces such as cashmere sweaters in the same colour in five styles, it’s probably a little OCD when you study it closely. I wear a lot of white and I work a similar formula throughout the house.

I love that you live by the mantra that it's possible to have young children and still be surrounded by beautiful things, style isn't sacrificed: People often think you can't live with white when you have small children, but my whole philosophy is if you can wash it, or paint over the walls, then do that and stop stressing over it. We're not that strict when it comes to play inside the home, our kids are allowed to bounce balls inside so long as they're not flying over my head. I think it's about choosing fabrics wisely – washable everything, basically. It might be chaos at times and I can't promise that it's always tidy, but it is simplified living.  Everything can easily be picked up and stored in big baskets – storage is key.

Aside from your family, what are your other great passions? My other great love is cooking. The kids now cook one night a week each, on their own, completely unaided and I'm so proud of them for that. It's something Stew and I have encouraged since they were tiny. We used to sit them in the high chair when we were preparing dinner every night and they would watch. Millie now bakes everyday, whether it's cakes or muffins, she is like a little Martha Stewart. She watches a lot of YouTube channels and will prepare a risotto or lasagne from scratch. William will come home from school and be my sous chef. It was difficult in the beginning and required a lot of patience, but it has really paid off, they are both incredible cooks and show a real love of food. It’s a wonderful family tradition.

What is your viewpoint on motherhood? I could waffle on about motherhood forever. I come from a close family, so  it means everything, my kids are my constant joy. It can also be the hardest thing, it’s the unknown, but ultimately it's hugely fulfilling. I love reliving my own childhood through them, too. We play lots of boardgames and will try and sneak in a game of Uno before dinner. I'd love to be able to say we are a no-screens family, but I try to teach them balance and moderation, and they have to prioritise homework and chores before all else – peeling them away from Minecraft and Pokémon Go is constant a battle, but  that is where we are blessed to have the farm. When we go to Quamby, my two lay there in the dark playing Uno until very late. Millie and Will also collect little treasures, they each have a perspex box filled with objects like shells or seed pods which they have kept over the years. 

Looking back, throughout my career I worked non-stop seven days a week, but now I've reached a stage in my life where I'm comfortable not climbing the corporate ladder. Your priorities completely change when you have children. Our family saying is "family first, no matter what". It's about enjoying simple pleasures. At the end of the day, it's about the children knowing they are loved unconditionally. We're very demonstrative and cuddly with them. The home is the school of love and I think it's the best platform you can give your kids, so all our emphasis is on happiness and being kind.

  1.  

Follow Lucy Hosken and Quamby House at @quambyhometasmania. For enquiries, look up: Quambyhome.com.au