It looks like a dilapidated dust bowl… But you won’t…

It looks like a dilapidated dust bowl… But you won’t…

A Queensland family traded the comforts of city living for a ‘dust bowl’ farm – and transformed it into an idyllic country getaway travellers are raving about.

Paul and Amanda Arnell-Smith, 56 and 53, and their eldest daughter Caitlin and husband Jamison, both 26, took over a dilapidated 20 acre farm in Haigslea, near Ipswich about 45 minutes outside the Brisbane CBD, in 2020. 

Acres were covered in plastic – and if not that, weeds – and a 1890s-era homestead set on the property was falling apart. 

The property’s transformation into glamping hotspot Twigley Farm has been incredible. It now boasts an old Queenslander – the family transported it onto the property – plus paddocks for farm animals and sweeping gardens of vegetables and flowers.

It features a fully set-up camping tent and lavish outdoor bathroom plus a vine-crept conservatory perfect for events and parties.  

Paul told FEMAIL it’s hard to remember the farm as the ‘dust bowl’ it used to be before the Arnell-Smiths got their hands on it. He’s ‘mind-blown’ by how far the family have come in the transformation. 

Twigley Farm came to life after the Arnell-Smith family took it over in 2020 by rejuvenating the dilapidated lot and creating a dreamy country estate with a glamping stay guests are raving about

Paul, 56, and his wife Amanda, 53, along with their eldest daughter Caitlin and her husband Jamison, both 26, are the brains behind the four-year-long operation, living and working on the Ipswich farm in the process

'Many times I look at the old Instagram reels my wife made to keep myself geed-up and say look how far we've come - it's crazy and there's still a long way to go which is exciting, we're here for the long term,' he said

Paul, 56, and his wife Amanda, 53, along with their eldest daughter Caitlin and her husband Jamison, both 26, are the brains behind the four-year-long operation, living and working on the Ipswich farm in the process

The Arnell-Smith family took over in 2020, clearing out the land of acres of plastic, renovating the existing 1900s homestead, transporting an old Queenslander onto the property and setting up glamping accommodation

The Arnell-Smith family took over in 2020, clearing out the land of acres of plastic, renovating the existing 1900s homestead, transporting an old Queenslander onto the property and setting up glamping accommodation 

‘Many times I look at the old Instagram reels my wife made to keep myself geed-up and say look how far we’ve come. It’s crazy and there’s still a long way to go which is exciting, we’re here for the long term,’ he said.

‘We’ve got the most amazing piece of real estate. Even though we only own 20 acres, we’ve got unconditional views of hundreds and hundreds of acres.’

‘I stop telling guests where our border starts and finishes because it’s as far as the eye can see.’

How the family transformed the property 

Paul, Amanda, Caitlin and Jamison moved to the farm after a two-year search for the perfect property. The parents had been running a beachfront villa in Bali with Caitlin helping along the way. 

Their Manly, Brisbane house was gradually getting emptier as their children became adults.

The combination of wanting to live a slower life, his love for travelling, experience in the tourism industry and wanting to find a place to spend quality time with his family saw Paul ‘suddenly suggest a tree change’ to his daughter and wife in 2018.

‘We started casually looking for a property pre-Covid on Sunday afternoons. We’d go and look wherever the 45-minute radius would take us,’ Paul said. 

‘Amanda and Caitlin had a ten-point checklist of what they were looking for – a statement tree, a dam, a beautiful view, an old Queenslander.’  

Paul told FEMAIL it's hard to remember the farm as the 'dust bowl' it used to be before the Arnell-Smiths got their hands on it and said he is 'mind-blown' by how far the family have come in the transformation

Paul, Amanda, Caitlin and Jamison moved to the farm when it was in disarray in 2020 after a two-year search for the perfect property

Paul told FEMAIL it’s hard to remember the farm as the ‘dust bowl’ it used to be before the Arnell-Smiths got their hands on it and said he is ‘mind-blown’ by how far the family have come in the transformation

Before: The foursome had their work ahead of them as they had to remove thousands of metres of weed plastic that covered ground Paul said hadn't seen daylight in over a decade

Before: The foursome had their work ahead of them as they had to remove thousands of metres of weed plastic that covered ground Paul said hadn’t seen daylight in over a decade

After: Twigley Farm features a luxury camping tent with an outdoor bathroom, a vine-crept conservatory, a historical farmhouse, a Queenslander home moved all the way from Brisbane , paddocks and gardens full of vegetables or flowers

After: Twigley Farm features a luxury camping tent with an outdoor bathroom, a vine-crept conservatory, a historical farmhouse, a Queenslander home moved all the way from Brisbane , paddocks and gardens full of vegetables or flowers

After two years of looking, they had not yet found their perfect buy until one day in April 2020 when they came across the Ipswich farm. 

‘We didn’t know much about Ipswich and what we did know probably wasn’t very good. This ticked all those boxes. The other blocks ticked hardly any of those,’ Paul said. 

‘We went home and talked about it then came back the following Saturday to have another look and brought a few more family members out for a picnic out on the back paddock. Before we knew it we had put an offer in.’

They sold their family house, moved to the property living in the original farmhouse and got to work while adjusting to country life. 

The foursome had their work cut out ahead of them as they had to remove thousands of metres of weeds and plastic that covered ground that hadn’t seen daylight in over a decade. 

The dad said he and his family made an ideal team for the project.

‘We have very complimentary skill sets and I think that’s why it’s going to be a success in the long run. I’ve got a strong business background as I was a charted accountant originally,’ he said. 

‘Caitlin is extremely creative and Amanda’s very strong administratively, she’s strong in farming knowledge and what she doesn’t know she’ll go and find it, she’ll figure it out. 

‘My son-in-law Jamison is very handy and also extremely intelligent so it’s an interesting combination.’

The semi-retired dad said he, Amanda, Caitlin and Jamison made an ideal team for the project and said other family members who came to visit and stay on the farm would also 'roll up their sleeves' and help with the work

The semi-retired dad said he, Amanda, Caitlin and Jamison made an ideal team for the project and said other family members who came to visit and stay on the farm would also ‘roll up their sleeves’ and help with the work

In 2022, the family opened Forager Glamping which they rent through Airbnb. While an outdoor camping experience may not be for everyone, this one sets itself apart thanks to the opulent mini bathroom

In 2022, the family opened Forager Glamping which they rent through Airbnb. While an outdoor camping experience may not be for everyone, this one sets itself apart thanks to the opulent mini bathroom

An old outhouse was given a much-needed makeover and now has a stunning clawfoot bathtub, shower, sink and toilet all sheltered from the creepy crawlies that come with outdoor living

'The old outhouse inspired me. It is one of the first things you pass on the driveway to the farmhouse, so seeing it every day makes you get creative with what you could potentially do in the future,' Caitlin said

An old outhouse was given a much-needed makeover and now has a stunning clawfoot bathtub, shower, sink and toilet all sheltered from the creepy crawlies that come with outdoor living

Paul said he admired Caitlin’s vision for the space. She dreamed of setting up different types of accommodations and hosting event spaces and wedding venues. 

‘We would talk about our grand plans for paddocks that just looked hopeless. I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought we were crazy,’ she said. 

‘When talking about plans for a space it can sometimes be disheartening when people can’t visualise it how we do or just don’t like the ideas, but that is also to be expected – it’s not their dream, it’s ours.’

While completing a multitude of jobs to get the farm up to scratch, they decided to move a 1900s Queenslander from Cleveland to the property to be their residence while setting up the original farmhouse to be an Airbnb. 

‘We were probably a bit naïve about how easy it would be. There were lots of delays and hidden costs. Renovating a Queenslander is always interesting because you never know when you’re going to come across rot or termites in all of the timber. If we were to go back in time we would probably build from scratch,’ Caitlin told Machines4U.   

In 2022, the family started the business Forager Glamping which they rent through Airbnb. While an outdoor camping experience may not be for everyone, this one sets itself apart thanks to the opulent mini bathroom. 

An old outhouse was given a much-needed makeover and now has a stunning clawfoot bathtub, shower, sink and toilet all sheltered from the creepy crawlies that come with outdoor living. 

‘The old outhouse inspired me. It is one of the first things you pass on the driveway to the farmhouse, so seeing it every day makes you get creative with what you could potentially do in the future,’ Caitlin said. 

While completing a multitude of jobs to get the farm up to scratch, they decided to move a 1900 Queenslander from Cleveland to the property to be their main residence while setting up the original farmhouse to be an Airbnb

'We were a bit naive about how easy it would be. There were lots of delays and hidden costs. Renovating a Queenslander is always interesting because you never know when you're going to come across rot or termites in all of the timber,' Caitlin said

While completing a multitude of jobs to get the farm up to scratch, they decided to move a 1900 Queenslander from Cleveland to the property to be their main residence while setting up the original farmhouse to be an Airbnb

Now, the renovations are '95 per cent complete'. They are adding the finishing touches to the original six-bedroom Linnings House with just two to three months left until it is complete and ready to be listed on Airbnb

'The interiors feature bold colours, antique fittings, a cosy fireplace and a black claw foot bath. The style is similar to The Forager but more colourful and whimsy,' Caitlin said

Now, the renovations are ’95 per cent complete’. They are adding the finishing touches to the original six-bedroom Linnings House with just two to three months left until it is complete and ready to be listed on Airbnb

‘My parents financially allowed me to go with my gut and create something that I thought reflected the story I wanted to create for Twigley Farm.

‘I loved the idea of something so rustic on the outside being surprisingly beautiful on the inside. I love mixing vintage and new so this very much inspired my styling choices.’

The $300-a-night experience is ‘money for jam’ according to Paul as it is booked out every weekend from now until August and is helping the family fund the rest of the farm’s restoration. 

Now, the renovations are ’95 per cent complete’. They are adding the finishing touches to the original three-bedroom Linnings House with just two to three months left until it is complete and ready to be listed on Airbnb. 

‘The interiors feature bold colours, antique fittings, a cosy fireplace and a black claw foot bath. The style is similar to The Forager but more colourful and whimsy,’ Caitlin said. 

The grounds are an enchanting rural getaway peppered with fruit trees, colourful flowers, roaming animals including baby goats and a conservatory all back-dropped by hinterland mountain views. 

The conservatory is a revamped shed which had its walls torn down to create an open space with a checker-board floor and creeping jasmine which will eventually create aromatic green curtains

The conservatory is a revamped shed which had its walls torn down to create an open space with a checker-board floor and creeping jasmine which will eventually create aromatic green curtains

'We plan that the property will support all of us through Airbnb and possibly events as we have recently started working full-time on the farm,' Caitlin said

‘We plan that the property will support all of us through Airbnb and possibly events as we have recently started working full-time on the farm,’ Caitlin said

With the bulk of the hard work done, Paul, Amanda, Caitlin, Jamison and the rest of the family are looking forward to living the slow life in the country

With the bulk of the hard work done, Paul, Amanda, Caitlin, Jamison and the rest of the family are looking forward to living the slow life in the country

The conservatory is a revamped shed which had its walls torn down to create an open space with a checker-board floor and creeping jasmine which will eventually create aromatic green curtains. 

‘We plan that the property will support all of us through Airbnb and possibly events as we have recently started working full-time on the farm,’ Caitlin said. 

‘As we move forward into this year, we’re making more decisions about how events fit into the property and what that might look like. We also have many photographers come to the farm for photo shoots and we’re also looking into how to expand that source of income.’ 

With the bulk of the hard work done, Paul, Amanda, Caitlin, Jamison and the rest of the family are looking forward to living the slow life in the country.

‘Slow living can be very hard to achieve as it feels like there is always something to be done. But, it is always our goal,’ Caitlin said. 

‘You get reminded to slow down when you look out at the cattle grazing in the paddock, the wind blowing through the long grass, or the incredible sunset while you’re feeding the horses. Being surrounded by so many restful natural elements it would be hard to not slow down.’

from www.dailymail.co.uk Source link

[2024-04-05 21:09:52

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