Home Life Series

Inside co-founder Kate Heppell's New-Mexico inspired home, Casa Rosita

This week on the Home Life Series, we share with you the tale of our very own co-founder Kate Heppell. 

Her serendipitous encounter with a mesmerising ‘hacienda style’ haven sparked a love affair that led to the acquisition of a remarkable Macedon Ranges retreat. 

Embracing her penchant for vibrant hues and bold designs, Kate has enriched the Tylden home with an infusion of colours, breathing new life into its already captivating interior. The house, adorned with its unique blend of Southwestern-inspired aesthetics, stands as a testament to a harmonious marriage between cultural homage and individualistic flair. 

This story encapsulates the journey of a creative visionary who, inspired by the allure of New Mexico’s aesthetics, found herself woven into the fabric of a remarkable home, known as Casa Rosita.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the home and how you stumbled across such a gem out here in the Macedon ranges? 

A friend Nat lives next door and had suggested the house for a location that Kip&Co might like to shoot at one day. It was “a cool hacienda style house, straight out of Arizona, owned by a TV director who has a love of New Mexico and has built (in parts himself) a true to the style home, straight from the movies”. We went and saw it, loved it so much that we shot there in 2019. 

Two years on, in 2021 Nat messaged that the hacienda was on the market. We umm’d and ahh’d on it for months, as we really were not in the market for a new home, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. This house was really unique and absolutely in our wheelhouse for design. So in late 2021 we made an offer and the owner took it. We have made no structural changes since buying the house, only refurnishing and painting in parts. There are 2 additional small cabins on the property aside from the main house which are less hacienda style, and more cowboy cottage, so when we stay we occupy all parts and the space is really very comfortable for us all.

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We’re obsessed with the New Mexican aesthetic that fills every nook and cranny of your home. How did you come to love this interior style and why does it work so well in this space? 

The original owner introduced me to this style. He had New Mexican flare really dialled up. While I have decorated differently to him, he really set the tone here. The curved fireplace, materials that the house is made of, cactus garden, mini olive orchid, unique tiled kitchen - are all features of the home that ooze this New Mexican style, and the special touches that make this space so warm and inviting, stylish while eclectic, inviting and casual in style. These are all important feelings and vibes that I have channeled in every house we have owned.

What are some key colours, textures and trends for those wanting to incorporate this interior aesthetic into their own home? 

The New Mexican style is all about texture and colour. It really is a very relaxed aesthetic to try. 

1) TEXTURE - Every single wall has texture / tiles. Texture on walls is really easy to achieve these days with products from Dulux (not sponsored hah! ) that can be easily painted onto regular plaster in whatever colour you like to add the pebbly finish. 

2) COLOUR - While there is a decent hit of white in the house, it is alongside bold hits of colour. The kitchen with its sage and orange highlights and the bedroom with its rust carpet and burnt gold wall. All the colour hits are warm colours. Painting (yourself or with a painter) is a really quick and easy way to change the feel and vibe of a room. I love this tip for my kids rooms and have done lots of painting, and repainting over the years.

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You’re in the ‘know’ for all things thrift shopping and finding the best kept secrets! Can you share some of your favorite local spots for finding hacienda-inspired knick knacks, ceramics and traditional textiles? 

Yes, I love a good vintage Market. Outdoor markets are really my thing (Camberwell market has been a lifelong fave) but the big indoor markets that have 100’s of small traders within them (Mill Markets in Daylesford and Geelong), the Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar, How Bazaar (Colac) and the huge Vintage Market in Geelong) are all fabulous for fossicking and finding unique touches for your home.

For those at home planning or in the midst of a renovation, can you tell us a little about the journey of renovating the property (since its purchase in 2021). What elements of the house did you keep and why? 

Since purchasing this house (which rents lots and lots on Airbnb - here is the house and here is the Cowboy Cabin ) we have not made any big changes. The bathroom (I would say this was the least considered space in the original house build) is the main room I would like to renovate. It has details in the ultramarine blue that we know and love from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and a very comfy (but ugly) bath. And we would love to add a second big bedroom and second bathroom. With a couple of sets of bunks. This is a 2025 project. For now, we are sitting tight, until interest rates pull back and the timing feels better. And, as mentioned, we are deep into a very mini home Reno at the moment of our primary residence in Point Lonsdale.

What feature / room in the home is your favourite and why? 

The big rendered fire place in the living room. Everybody loves the fire place. It lights easily and warms the house in a gorgeous way. And it runs best when the door is open and you can see the glow in the room. It is very moody and cool looking.

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Best things to do and places to eat in the Macedon Ranges? 

The area of Tylden / Trentham / Kyneton / Woodend (all under 10 minutes from us) has so many beautiful restaurants, vintage stores and locally grown food nearby. We always visit the Mill Market in Daylesford (my kids love it as much as me) and the Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar when in the area. Amazingly delicious restaurants are aplenty in the area. I don’t know where to start but here is a top 5. 

- We love the Red Beard Bakery in Trentham (a must try is the treacle pound cake - I never leave Trentham without one).

- Donkey in Kyenton. Southern food! So delicious and fabulous vibe.

- Spaghetti Bar in Kyneton. Stunning in every way. Get there for a date night without kids if you can. They are gorgeously welcoming to kids though. 

- Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham. The ambiance and interiors of this restaurant are so stylish and cool and wonderful. The food is all equally as perfect. If you get good weather, the outside is also a stunning spot to sit under some enormous trees. 

- Finally, and the one we probably frequent almost the most is the Pig & Whistle in Trentham, which is very close to our house. Sit by the huge fireplace in winter, enjoy a scrumptious (and I don’t use that word liberally) country pub meal! It really is a top notch country pub.

Photography @megreadphotography