Property

“It will break my heart to leave this place” – Prue and Merv selling up their Wallagoot paradise

Elka Wood 27 August 2019
The house was constructed by builder Julian Barlow and designed to have no visible beams. Photo: Supplied.

The house was constructed by builder Julian Barlow and designed to have no visible beams. Photo: Supplied.

It’s an artist’s house, flooded with light and beautifully warm on this winter’s day thanks to the sun heating the building’s thermal mass – gorgeous pale concrete made from sand harvested onsite.

According to listing agent Gerry Tarlington, of LJ Hooker Bega, this unique Bega Valley property is ideal for those with an appreciation of architecture and form.

“The moment you see and touch this home, you’ll see the quality of build and the timeless quality of the design.”

The passive solar design and windows placed to catch cross-flow breezes make the house pleasant no matter the weather, according to owners, and Australian art, culture and design royalty Prue Acton and Merv Moriarty, who have made their home here for the last sixteen years.

“It will be this warm until 8:30 tonight,” says Prue “we use electric heat only on days when there is absolutely no sun.”

Complete privacy and only a few minutes drive from Tathra, Merimbula, Bega and Pambula. Photo: Supplied.

Complete privacy and only a few minutes drive from Tathra, Merimbula, Bega and Pambula. Photo: Supplied.

The two-bedroom house with a separate studio was constructed by builder Julian Barlow and built to last using the principles of neo-modernist design, making the most of the surrounding environment and blurring the lines between inside-outside.

“A property with the combination of privacy and virtual lake frontage like Many Swans is hard to find,” Gerry comments.

The surrounding coastal environment has been an everyday muse for these two artists, who live and breathe colour and light.

Many Swans is situated on the shore of Wallagoot Lake. Photo: Supplied.

Many Swans is situated on the shore of Wallagoot Lake. Photo: Supplied.

“As far as I’m concerned, we live in paradise,” Merv comments “I can walk down to the beach with my easel and be painting, or fishing, in five minutes. Every now and again all my art supplies go whooshing down the beach in a gust of wind but it’s worth it to be out there!”

The house has always been a creative hub, with the couple holding many workshops in the space over that time, as well as producing several books about colour theory and Merv’s colour wheel.

The separate studio, used by Prue over the years. Photo: Supplied.

The separate studio, used by Prue over the years. Photo: Supplied.

As Prue hands me a coffee on the deck, which catches glimpses of the blue lake through mature forest, the wind whips through the canopy above us but barely touches us, so protected is the house by the forest.

It’s the desire to be closer to family in Melbourne which has meant the couple have decided to put the house on the market but it’s not without some regret.

Especially for Merv, his connection to the South Coast is palpable.

“It will break my heart to leave this place,” he says seriously, gesturing to the landscape around him.

One of the light-filled bedrooms with sweeping bush views. Photo: Supplied.

One of the light-filled bedrooms with sweeping bush views. Photo: Supplied.

The upstairs open plan living area features a vaulted ceiling, 360-degree view, deck in forest canopy looking towards lake, oversized checkerboard hardwood tiles, 7 metre kitchen plus 3.6 metre island benches, all-electric appliances and a circular metal staircase.

Downstairs, where the two bedrooms and bathroom are located, north-facing floor to ceiling windows heat the concrete floor in winter while wide eaves provide shade to cool the house in summer, while the large multi-purpose gallery space is a blank slate to reconfigure as a study or third bedroom and ensuite.

A solid circular staircase connects the two levels of the main house. Photo: Supplied.

A solid circular staircase connects the two levels of the main house. Photo: Supplied.

The house and studio are surrounded by a watering system and serviced by a large inground concrete water tank while a natural septic system and small dam supply water to garden areas, which include a small orchard and veggie garden.

The property is close to Bournda and Mimosa Rocks National Parks and excellent shopping, cafes and art galleries in Tathra, Merimbula, Pambula and Bega, as well as 20 minutes drive to Merimbula Airport and the new South East Regional Hospital in Bega.

For more information on this property, please visit LJ Hooker Bega.

Set amongst meandering native gardens and white sand 'desire paths,' Many Swans is a tranquil retreat. Photo: Supplied.

Set amongst meandering native gardens and white sand ‘desire paths,’ Many Swans is a tranquil retreat. Photo: Supplied.

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