Our Home Life Series is a weekly sneak peek into the homes and lives of Australia's most creative and inspiring people.
This week on the Home Life Series, we take you inside Jane Fenn’s home amongst the gum trees. Just like her serene yoga studio Higher Ground, Jane has built her Red Hill family home to encapsulate the beauty of nature and the great outdoors. With incredible timber flooring and an abundance of natural light, the home is a breath of fresh air and we can't wait to show you around.
1. Hi Jane! Thank you for letting us into your beautiful home. You’re a friend of the brand, and have already generously let us tour your beautiful yoga studio last year, but for anyone who missed that can you give us 411 on you and your business?
Yoga is the under-current of my life. I didn't choose it, it chose me. So, it might sound funny but the idea of creating Higher Ground Yoga came to me at a party, I was in a room full of people, surrounded by friends when my ideas, life experiences and dreams all suddenly clicked into place - the world seemed wonderful and clear. I've held so tightly to the memory of that moment over the last year, it's given me strength when my resolve has wavered.
2. We are all in envy of your home among the gum trees. How long have you had this beautiful block and what was it like when you first arrived?
Thank you, we truly love living here and feel incredibly grateful everyday. It was always our long term plan to move out of the city and raise our kids in a more rural area, both my husband and I grew up in the country and it just felt right for us. We actually bought the block of land nearly 10 years ago, it was hard to access, covered in Pine Trees and looked like something out of a fairytale - we were in love from the start and determined to make it work.
3. You’ve done an amazing job of bringing the outside in, and making a house that feels like it really works with the environment rather than against it. What was your brief to the designers - can you talk us through the building process?
I'm of the belief that nature is already perfect so our main aim was to build the house 'within the landscape' and re-establish the native vegetation. Our roofline follows the natural slope of the land and the house is set over 4 split levels that follow down the slope. We also wanted to let in light, frame the views and feel connected to the elements. We live in a cold climate so the floor plan is set around a square which lets the sun in all day, and allows us to watch the weather roll in - rain, hail or shine. Overall designing and building the house was lots of fun but it was also much harder than I thought, it's a huge undertaking, our building team were amazing but there are always issues especially in the Red Hill winter.
4. Your interiors style feels very serene, no wonder you’re a yogi! How would you describe your style and what have been some of the biggest influences on your aesthetic?
I don't think I really have a style, everything in the house is just simple and useful, or holds a special memory, we have trinkets from my grandparents, rocks I've collected from around the world and ceramics that were made by friends. We're lucky to have traveled in Japan a bit and I really like the ideas behind their interiors - simple, understated, quality. I also love to use different colours in the space to bring fun and joy.
5. What is your favourite piece in the house?
Well the answer to this will constantly change, but at the moment it's the vase I recently found at a local vintage bazaar, I use it as a giant incense holder. It's been hard to verify providence but I think it's French for the 1970's.
6. What is your favourite space or part of the house?
Definitely my bedroom, we have three young kids so most of the time our house is overrun with craft, lego, pokemons and experimental baking. My bedroom is in the bottom tier of the house which is cool and quiet, I can lie in bed and look out into the trees, it's incredibly special. In contrast I also love the kitchen with the built-in seat, when friends come around this is where we always hang out (sorry formal dining room 😂). It's busy and vibrant and we spend a lot of family time here, the kids play cards while I cook and we talk about our day.
7. You’ve got such an incredible yoga studio - what’s your own yoga practice / ritual?
Yoga is a constant in my life, my grandma learnt from a guru in the 1970 so I've known it from an early age. Don't get me started on the benefits of yoga, but I have no doubt that my practice has helped me navigate life in all its forms. No matter where I am everytime I practice I always light some incense or a candle and sit for a few minutes to sink into the space, I listen to the sounds around me, mentally put the 'to do list' in a cupboard (I literally imagine opening a cupboard and popping the list inside) then I start. Every time I practice I like to focus on the spaces between and move with purpose, cultivating energy and directing it evenly throughout my body (and mind). I love that sometimes I have amazing balance and other times I can't even touch my toes, it allows me to keep practicing. I think when you find a studio and community that you connect with it becomes like a solid friendship, no matter how you're feeling or how often you turn up as soon as you walk in you feel good.