A note first – everyone stay healthy, wash hands, and stay close to home….
Ten years ago, yes ten, I wrote a story about a house in Ireland that had been featured in British House and Garden.  The estate was an internet sensation – everyone fell in love with it.

This was before Instagram mania and I had to search high and low for photos of the house to include in my story.  Little did I know that ten years later, through Instagram,  a pink dining room in Australia would send me back to that original Irish house.   And, it involves the first Jewish Governor-General and the Chief Justice of Australia, too.  

Before Instagram?  Was there really life before Instagram???

Once upon a time….

The name Coote is an important one in Ireland – the first, Sir Charles Coote arrived in 1601, whereas he created vast estates – four for each of his sons.   Two direct descendants built estates that today are architecturally important.   One is Ballyfin.

Ballyfin was built in the 1820s by a direct descendent of Sir Charles Coote – another Charles.  Sold by the family, it lay in ruins before it was recently bought by an American and turned into a very beautiful and popular hotel.
The other well known Coote house in Ireland is Bellamont Forest built between 1725 and 1730 for Sir Charles’ great nephew Thomas Coote.  His grandson, yet another Charles, inherited the estate in 1764 and became the Earl of Bellamont in 1767.  Bellamont’s design is based on Palladio’s Villa Rotunda at Vicenza and it is considered Ireland’s finest example of Palladio influenced architecture. 

In 1874 the Coote’s lost the house and it was owned by other families until 1987 when a John Coote bought back his family’s estate.  It’s this estate that brought such excitement to the internet over ten years ago:

Bellamont Forest, sits between two lakes on 600 acres of forest land.

This story begins with a young 14 year old named John Coote, living on his father’s sheep farm in Australia. A descendant of the Cootes of Ireland, the teenager reads an article in Country Life about his ancestral home, Bellamont Forest, and vows to return it to the family someday.   The estate had been gambled away by John’s grandfather’s cousin.    John grows up to become an international designer and restoration expert, known for his work on the former Libyan Embassy in London and a host of high end residential and commercial properties.  He has a larger than life personality – witty and gregarious, he is much loved by his friends, clients and family – which includes two daughters and a son.  On a trip to Ireland, John stops to tour Bellamont Forest when he learns it is now for sale.  He buys it in 1987. 
Coote spent 28 years restoring his family estate.  

Once completed, he had a grand 60th birthday party weekend and then, put the house up for sale – hoping a new generation would enjoy it and pass it down.

When driving up the long road to the estate – you don’t see a hint of the house until the last turn when it suddenly comes into view.

A rare side view of Bellamont.

 In its glory.

Of course the house looks the same as it does today.  Out front is a Victoria, a carriage used for driving short distances.   The owner wears his top hat, while the staff stand in the open window watching the photosession.

The Gate House, notice the two people outside.   The fire is lit and there is a bay window.   The gate house sits right off the town’s street – the house is brick here.

Later, the bay window is gone and the brick is painted bright yellow, with stucco over it.

Today, the garish yellow is gone and a native stone overs the gate house – how charming!!!!!

NOTE:  There are two sources that have wonderful photos and great stories about Bellamont.  One is the Facebook page of Irish Country Houses, HERE
and other is The Irish Aesthete, a fabulous blog that I always research when wanting to learn about an Irish estate.   I just wish the Aesthete wrote about English estates too !!!! HERE

The Google Map – at the village, the gate house et al is located at the red “x” – which follows the mile+ drive to Bellamont Forest – at the red circle at the end of the drive.  Quite a driveway!!!

 Bellamont Forest’s Drawing Room was the cover in 2010.  

Vogue Living had published the house back in 2004.

It is hard to forget such a photograph – or a cover.  Was it really 10 years ago?  Seems like yesterday.   In 2016, the magazine named this as one of their top country sitting rooms. 

A floor plan makes it easier to make sense of the photos.

John Coote.

The large entrance hall is sparse and beautiful.  The busts were an early addition – soon after the house was built.

Less is More.

On the opposite side - the niche and the console table that Coote designed and had made, as he did with the set of chairs.   Through the door at the left is the library.
When the house was last sold, the busts were said to be missing, which set off a legal storm:  do the busts belong to the house or the owner of the house?

I’m not sure what the outcome of this debate was.  The article I read was written several years so the outcome of the bust situation is unknown, to me – at least!


Here, unbelievably, the Entrance Hall was used as the Billiard Room.   It’s fascinating to study the objects in the room.  Around the table – is that a fiber rug?   And a runner sits in front of the main door.  All the busts are in situ, as they had been since the house was first built.  An Irish or English barometer hangs on the wall.   Notice how symmetrically the art was placed.  Why have one coat rack when two are so much better?  The light fixture looks positively modern.


Yet another early photo of the Entrance Hall.   Low shelves are added along with upholstered furniture and rugs.   This slow evolution from Entrance Hall to Family Room is puzzling.  There are other rooms to turn into a tv room – why make it the one you first see when you open the front door?


I saw this photo on Facebook – yet another view of the changes the Entrance Hall went through.  If anything is proof that less is more – this photograph is it!  Wow.  It’s hard to believe this is the same room created using classical proportions.  The architecture just disappears under the busy wallpaper - you can barely see the beautiful chalky white busts.   The book shelves remain and through the door you can see one of the stairs in silhouette.

If ever this house was crying out for the return of John Coote.

Ahhhhh.  That’s better.   Without the wallpaper, the room is instantly better, free of the overbearing pattern and noise.  There is no doubt that the entrance room is better served as a reception place, not a billiard room, or a sitting room or library.

The Drawing Room – before it was filled with the art work, rugs, and accessories.   Myself, I like it like just like this, bare but for the slip covered furniture and the white console Coote had made for the house.  He also designed the slipped furniture – roomy for his large frame.

The jib door that leads to the Ballroom is opened here. 
The paint is described by his daughter and design partner as being from Porters Paints, Australia – as all the paint chosen by Coote was.  On her Instagram, his daughter remembers ordering the paint which her father mixed with lime to create the finish – streaked with all the brushstrokes intentionally visible.

And here, the room is finally furnished with the Robert Doble art work and the famous orange rug based on a 19th century design.  The stripe pillows and skirted tables wear the same fabric found upstairs in the daughters bedrooms. On her Instagram, Coote’s daughter and working partner remembers being in charge of arranging the branches.
They are spectacular, aren’t they?   The huge branches are such an important addition to this room – it would be loss if they were missing.

Sigh.  Just wonderful.

A view not seen often – of the fireplace.
The ceilings are so special.  And see?   The branches are missed!

The Dining Room, Ballroom, and Drawing Room are all on an enfilade.  Here the room is filled with table and chairs made by Coote.

The Real Estate photo shows the entire room.

Another older view shows the back side of the room.  This quiet décor is in keeping with the style of the house.

 Coote’s Ballroom is simple, with just his chairs around the room.  This real estate photo was taken after the checked slipcovers were already removed.   Many of the original paintings were removed by the time Coote bought the house, some are in museums.  Some, he had copied and replaced inside the molding frames.

The view from the Ballroom into the Entrance Hall out through the front door.  Instead of fancy furniture, Coote would put garden style benches around the house which was a fabulous look.

An earlier view of the Ballroom – an elegant setting with the grand piano and a collection of antiques.  I love this arrangement!

Right to the left when you enter the front door, is the library.  This is the one room that always confounds me.  It is decorated like a gentleman’s room – where after dinner the  male guests would come to drink brandy and smoke a big stogie.  It IS so cozy and I assume this was a much used room – by all the owners through the decades.   Coote stated that this was his favorite room.  It’s just the décor is so different than the other rooms.

Another view of the Library with the view into the Entrance Hall.

The upstairs landing with the large cupola.  More Coote furniture. 

Looking up at the cupola with its four windows.

Upstairs, one of the many bedrooms – Coote’s daughters stayed here.  His daughter said this bedroom was inspired by Sibyl Colefax and she used this as an inspiration for her own daughter’s bedroom!

On the lower level is the kitchen which is where Coote removed the stone floor hidden behind a layer of concrete, then installed underfoot heating and relaid the stone pavers.
On her Instagram, his youngest    daughter and one time partner showed a pot rack in her kitchen that was actually this pot rack, passed down by her father.   Coote had the dark island made to his specifications.

The stone underground tunnel leads from the main house to the service buildings.

The service buildings and stables.

  Notice the main house, high up on the hill and imagine how far it is – how long that tunnel must be!  Spooky!!

Coote had plans to turn this into a performing arena and a showroom for his bespoke furniture business he set up with his daughter.

John Coote’s 60 birthday was one of the last grand parties held at Bellamont Forest.  The house was then put up for sale.   He was ready for a new challenge and looked to Italy for an estate to move to.

Two years later, at age 62, Coote passed away suddenly, while abroad in Indonesia working on a project.

    Bellamont Forest sat empty, without an owner.    The estate originally went on the market for 7.5 million pounds, later it sold at 1.45 million pounds with another million planned on restoration work.
An American finally bought the estate at what I considered a bargain basement price.  It’s a travesty when you think that for the same price in Houston you get a subpar built townhouse without a stitch of land.

For about the same amount of money, you can buy this terrible, terrible townhouse in Houston (and not in a great neighborhood either!) with no land.  Seriously.


    The American paid just over a million Irish pounds for stunning Bellamont Forest, considered the finest example of Palladian architecture in Ireland.  At over 11,000 sq ft and 1,000+ acres of land including the lakes and forest, the house was stolen.  

Bellamont Forest is being restored as there was extensive water damage.

It looked like this last year, being repointed with lime based mortar.

A drone view of the repairs.  The gate house was renovated from its stucco exterior to stone (see photo shown before.)

The stunning pink painted Drawing Room?

It suffered extensive water damage that had to be repaired.

The American?  He is John Manuel Morehart, a 60 yo attorney from California.
For a time it was hoped the Irish government might buy the house but the Minister for Arts and Heritage said there was not enough funds for the project.

After I wrote the original story about Bellamont Forest, it was filed away in my brain…although the pink room remained alive, as it was often shown on blogs and on Pinterest.

 Some years later, I became enamored with Australian interior design, helped along by Instagram. There is a large cadre of designers Down Under and recently Jenny Rose-Innes complied the best of the best in a book called Australian Designers at Home.

Click Book To Order

My first Australian obsession had been Anna Spiro, an original blogger and one of the Skirted Roundtable’s first interview! 

Spiro loves to use bright pink in her designs, as seen here in her own guest bedroom in her own fabulous house.

But, there was one designer that I had noticed on Instagram and fallen in love with.  Her house was impossibly romantic with an even more fabulous history.  The designer herself is a beauty and so chic  - you would want to put a paper bag over your head and body in her presence.  Yet, she is a mother to three darling girls and a wife to a handsome man which all makes her a bit more approachable than just a brilliant designer.
Is she in Jenny’s book?  Let’s see. 

Right there next to Anna Spiro,  Adelaide Bragg, Marco Meneguzzi, Robbie Nicol, Cameron Kimber – names that are now so familiar it’s hard to believe they aren’t from Texas instead of being 24 hours away…by jet plane.

And then, there’s her house, that impossible romantic one which was featured in House & Garden. 
And there is her own PINK room.  The most fabulous PINK dining room EVER.
Wait a minute…what is her name again?  

Charlotte?  Coote?

Sometimes I am a little slow on the uptake.   I just didn’t put two and two together until I noticed the PINK Drawing Room on Charlotte’s Instagram.

OHHHHHH – that’s her father.

  Charlotte is the daughter of John Coote and was also his design partner.

OHHHHHH.   I’m just a tad slow sometimes.

Charlotte herself lives in that fabulous house in Australia, itself an important house with a few historical twists.

Using the House & Garden Magazine story and Charlotte’s chapter in Jenny’s book and Instagram, I was able to flesh out this story showing the connections between Charlotte’s design aesthetic and her father’s.

I dare you to read this and not fall as much in love with Charlotte as you did with her father!!

Besides John and Charlotte Coote, there aren’t many Father-Daughter designers, but there are a few:
I think first of David Hicks and his daughter India.   Mark Hampton and Alexa.  That’s about it.  Can you think of another father daughter duo?  Just shows you how rare and special such a relationship is.

A bit of background history on Charlotte – much of which I got from Jenny’s book which I can’t recommend enough!

Jenny & Charlotte

Charlotte’s personal history is closely tied to the house she and family now live in in Mount Macedon.   Her parents owned the house next door and she spent her first years there!  That address is on her birth certificate.  Amazing.  John and his wife would move every few years – early day flippers before there was such a word.  Once the house was restored, they would pack up and move to the new project.  When Bellamont Forest was purchased the Coote children moved there, going to an Irish school – learning Gaelic. 

Eventually the three Coote children returned to Australia for boarding school.  With two college degrees (not in interior design!) Charlotte then moved back to London working in the business world and spending time in Ireland where she ran the production company for her father, setting up in the not yet finished stable block showroom.  Eventually the design world won out.   In Ireland, she produced what her father designed for clients – over 80 pieces including  furniture, lighting, porcelains, textiles, baskets and even a much loved peat bucket.  She definitely inherited her fathers eye.  He squashed her returning back to college for a design degree, telling her she already had learned all she needed.  But, maybe she knew it all before?

Charlotte told Jenny that when she was just six, her father redid her bedroom which she found objectionable.  Coote had her pick out what she did like and she chose a pink and green Pierre Frey chintz – which remains in that bedroom to this day!

At 28, Charlotte returned home to Australia for good, opening up Coote & Co where she is a highly respected and highly sought out designer.   She still reproduces pieces her father created for clients, including himself and his house Bellamont Forest.  It’s so much fun to study her Instagram and find designs of hers and her father still being made today.

For instance, for a client, a pink check on a Coote & Co. Bellamont chair – look familiar? Fabulous!!!!


would you rather have them in blue?
I know!  I know!   It’s a really tough choice!!!!!

I’m not sure if Coote & Co. sells their custom furniture to America, but I would call or email their office if interested in any of their furniture.

The consoles designed by John Coote remain their most wonderful pieces.  When Charlotte moved back to Australia she started manufacturing the different consoles in the white finish, which is preferred Down Under, while the Irish prefer the dark wood finishes.

There are many personal connections to John Coote that remain today.  The beautiful paintings in Bellamont Forest’s pink drawing room were done by Robert Doble, an English artist now living in Australia.  Doble continues to create work for Charlotte Coote, including this piece in her Melbourne office.  I spotted even more work by Doble in projects done by Charlotte.

Be sure to visit her web page: Coote & Co.  They have gotten a lot of press showing projects and there are even more photos on the web site showing those projects.

BUT…it’s her house that is the perfect foil to Bellamont Forest.

When looking for a family house in the country, close to Melbourne, Charlotte and her husband went back to her roots where she was born – the Macedon Ranges.
The area Mount Macedon, is green and hilly and known for its incredible English gardens.  To an American it is like a magical wonderland with trees as tall as the sky and flowering bushes that tower over the average person.   The area is highly sought after but few houses come up for sale.

Mount Macedon was established during the Victorian gold rush of 1851-1860s.    Because the area was cool and beautiful, the wealthy set from Melbourne came to buy second homes.

The governor of Victoria’s summer house, or Hill Station as they are called, located at Mount Macedon.  Eventually nine governors lived here before the house was sold.

Here is the same Governor’s house,  after it was painted.   The house burned down in the 1950s.

The basis of the gardens started in 1872.    The timber industry had cleared so much of the mountain that in 1872 the government stepped in and established the Macedon State Nursery to replant the mountain.

Extensive gardens were planted, along with orchards.   These gardens became the legacy of this era and are considered the most important collection of 19th century gardens in Australia.


Today the area is in much demand as people want the rare, original Federation home.  The English gardens are a lure, as is the historically rich area.  It’s no wonder why so many wish to live here and why so little turnover of houses occurs!

Another well known original Hill Station home is Karori built in 1888 on six acres.  This house is located just a few doors down from Charlotte Coote’s own house and the gardens are just as impressive.

Today.  The house was extensively restored by a couple who wrote a book about the experience and then, sold it, of course!

The house is paneled in dark wood which was left in the restoration.   You will see later a similar house in the area where the wood was painted.  Hint…hint!

Another room.  Notice the gardens out the window.  Incredible!

The kitchen – I love this room.  It is so originally vintage, exactly the look that the Gaines try to recreate.

The gardens at Karori. 

When visiting Mt. Macedon, you know you are in the right place when you pass the charming, vintage Trading Post.

Fall in Mount Macedon is especially alluring.

Another vintage stop is this old gas station.  How cute!!!!

The house that Charlotte Coote and her husband bought is one of the historically significant hill stations in the Mount Macedon area.  In typical English fashion, it has a name, Marnanie, given to it by an early owner, the first Jewish Governor General of Australia and the first Australian born governor – Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs.  Wow!  He named the house after his two daughters Marjorie and Nancy. Since it is an historically significant house, there are many early photos of the house:


Built in 1890, the Edwardian styled house was originally one story.

When the governor Isaac Isaacs bought the house, he added the second level – and he is often given credit as building the house which he did not although he did significantly alter it.  He also added acreage to the hill station.  Above the door he added the plaque ‘Here one rests in tranquility.’

Isaacs and his family moved many times but their one constant home was his beloved Marnanie.  The house was sold after Isaacs died in 1948 and the name became Calulu when the house was turned into a guest house.

Isaac Isaacs taken the year before he died.  Was this at Marnanie?  It doesn’t say.  Are those photos of his two daughters, Marjorie and Nancy, for whom Marnanie was named?  Probably.  Notice he wears his wedding band on his middle finger.
How must it feel to live in a house where such an important man lived, and for so long – too?

His history is so interesting.  Born in Australia, his genius was noticed early on and he became a teacher at just 15 years of age.   He spoke or studied in eight languages including Greek, Hindustani and Chinese!!

The first Jewish Chief Justice, he became the first Jewish and Australian born Governor General.   King George V was bitterly opposed to his appointment, preferring instead an English born member of the landed gentry.  Isaacs was known as a strident anti-Zionist, bitterly opposed to a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Today, that is a very old fashioned view, one that is rarely, if ever, held by very, very few Jews.

What a legacy to live in this house!!!! If only walls could talk!!!!!!

In the 1980s, the house was again renovated significantly.  The original bay window in the family room is now gone and as a result the balcony above is also changed.   The room to the left of the front door is opened up with a pergola instead of a covered porch.  The front door remains as it originally was since it was first built.

A better photograph of the remodeled house.   The house was sold in the 1960s and the name was then changed back to Marnanie.

The Real Estate brochure from 2017 shows what the house looked like before it was bought by Charlotte Coote and her husband.  It doesn’t look much different from the 1980s version, although it’s hard to tell from that black and white photo.
What a history this house has had!!!

In interviews and in Jennie Rose Innes’ book,  Charlotte tells the story of how she came to live in the house right next door to the one she lived in as a baby and that is listed on her birth certificate.    Charlotte was informed by a friend that this house was for sale.  The friend, John Graham, had actually lived there for quite some time – with Kevin O’Neill, one of Australia’s premier florists.   Their stay lasted from 1976 to 2001 when Kevin passed away.   During their time at Marnanie, they worked on improving the 17 acres – and in the 90s Kevin created even more gardens with the help of his partner John and a young friend named Paul Bangay, one of Australian’s most talented gardener.

The gardens at Marnanie
Helping out with the garden was the late Stuart Rattle, another respected name in Australia’s design world.     Bangay created a stone folly and a summerhouse at Marnanie which stand today.  He continues to work with the new owners, Charlotte and her husband, helping to create new gardens and restoring older ones on their property.
What amazes me and is so admirable is how close all the personal ties are with this group of talented Aussies.  These ties are what make the story even more interesting.   It starts with Paul Bangay and John Coote.

Here, at Bellamont Forest – John Coote sits with artist Robert Doble and gardener Paul Bangay – right before Coote put his estate up for sale. 

Doble’s art work lined the walls of the pink Drawing Room at Bellamont Forest and today, his relationship with Charlotte Coote continues – his work is seen in her home and office and in her projects – another tie with the past.
    Coote and Bangay were also collaborators on many projects besides Bellamont Forest.  One famous project was Larundel where Coote handled the interiors and Bangay did the exteriors:


The front hall at Larundel designed decades ago by John Coote – in a dusty rose.  Coote’s console remains all these years later.  Through the front door, Paul Bangay designed the gardens that look like an enfilade.  Just gorgeous.

The beautiful and ultra chic Charlotte Coote in her gardens.

In 2017,  a  real  estate  brochure  was  published  which  shows  the  house  as  the  previous  owners  left  it.   The photos show changes from when Kevin McNeill and John Graham lived there some fifteen years prior.

It’s also a wonderful way to see the changes that Charlotte made to the house, mostly with paint.   The walls are dark paneling as it appears most of the original Hill Station houses have.  Charlotte said that she grew up with renovating parents.  They would buy a house, renovate it for a few years, then sell it.  She was determined that her family would not have to go through all the dust and destruction of remodeling, so the house was mostly completed before they moved in.   BUT…being an interior designer, you will see that the interiors change a bit with the passage of time.  
Of course!!!!


BEFORE:   The grand entry and stairway with the original, dark paneling.   Living and dining are to the left, kitchen is to the right.

Photos came from the internet, Instagram, and magazines including  House & Garden.  Photos in H&G are by Lisa Cohen.

AFTER:   The front door with its original glass.

These lobster baskets are hand woven, designed by Charlotte and John Coote – based on original Queensland Lobster Baskets.   They used them in Bellamont Forest.   

They come in three sizes, not sure if they ship to America.  Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask?

Here is the lobster basket at Bellamont Forest.

AFTER:   H&G:   What a difference!!!   Charlotte removed the carpet and put wall to wall seagrass down with a layered runner on top.  The rug?  Her design!!   She painted the dark paneling a light beige and the wainscoting is a lighter shade.  Ceiling is white.

All the house’s paint colors can be found 

An earlier photo before the rug arrived.  It shows how much a rug adds visually.  

The addition of wicker trays and wooden stools also makes a difference in fleshing out a space.  Truthfully the entry looks great with or without the “extras!”

Looking the opposite way towards the front door – you can see the beautiful console here, designed by Charlotte,  and underneath is an inherited piece of luggage – from her father. 


The view off the living/dining room wing of the entry hall.  You can see the kitchen towards the left.  The flowers differ with the season – hand picked from the gardens.  Can’t imagine how wonderful that must be, especially during spring. The prints were her father’s – I wish we could see more of them.

Coote & Co. reproduce the different consoles that John Coote used at Bellamont Forest and on other projects.  One version is in the entry hall and another, the classic Pearce Console, is in the family room.

Here’s another photograph from Bellamont Forest with a smaller console.

Today:   The landing.  From H&G Magazine.  Love the way Charlotte layered rugs over the texture wall to wall seagrass.  Notice that Charlotte did NOT paint the stairs, rather she left them the original stained wood.  Is that window original?  Probably not.   I would guess that O’Neill & Graham added it, though I don’t know that for a fact.

BEFORE:   The family room with the huge windows overlooking the front of the house. 

From H&G:  What a difference paint makes!!!!!   In the window is another Coote & Co. console with the branches just like Charlotte would arrange for her father at Bellamont Forest.  Curtains are on the side windows, but don’t block the large one.  Charlotte said that people always ask why there isn’t a center coffee table, but she said she needs the room open for dance parties.  

Of course!!

Remember, this is the room that once had a large bay window!!!!   The window was later removed, perhaps by Kevin McNeill or the owners before him.

Looking the opposite direction at the fireplace.  This is an early photo – these chairs have now been changed out for more comfy loungers.

The new lounge chairs.

Another view of the main window which looks out towards the front drive.

The beautiful new chairs, with the view towards the front door hall.


The Italian glass mirror is by Coote & Co.

Years ago, John Coote renovated the Irish Lough Eske Castle, above,  which was turned into a first class hotel.  He furnished the main rooms with his own console tables, chandeliers with Murano type colored glass, mirror and more.
  The hotel was recently given a refreshing, but you can still see Coote’s hand here with his consoles, lamps, chandelier and – that mirror! 

I wish more of John Coote’s work was available online or in a book!  But this mirror reminds me of the one in Marnanie’s family room and is probably one that was custom made for clients.

The Library or Living Room is painted a rich blue.  Striped and blue fabric is on the sofas and the large ottoman designed by Charlotte.  As with most rooms in the house – an important rug, also designed by Charlotte Coote, adds a great visual detail to the decor.
As with all rooms, the gardens outside play an important role inside the house.  It’s like a great, giant painting.


AND – the most fabulous room in the house!  The dining room!!!!!
WOW.  I’m in love with this dining room!!!  It’s what originally caught my eye and brought the designer to my attention.  It’s just fabulous.   Painted a shiny, rich PINK, a round table is surrounded by a summery, pink and green toile.  A large mirror along the back wall reflects it all – so you can enjoy the room, twice.  Thank you very much!!!

La Maison Pierre Frey fabric.

I’m not the only person who loves this room so much.   It was chosen by House & Gardens as one of its Top 50 Rooms – 2018!!!  Much deserving!  Charlotte designed the modern, brass chandelier and had it custom made for this room.  Notice how the chandelier looks like a palm tree which is seen in the chair fabric!

A large round rattan tray holds different flowers each week, depending on what is available in the gardens.   

What I would give to come eat a meal here!!!!  How long is the airplane flight from Texas????!! 

There French doors open to the front of the house, to the left of the front door under the pergola.

Love the original doors and hardware.


What is so interesting is that when Kevin McNeill and John Graham lived here – their dining room was also painted pink.  As it was, John Coote had their curtains made.   Decades later, Charlotte restored the John Stefanidis fabric curtains and rehung them back in the dining room.

Across the back wall on each side of the mirror are bar trays stocked for guests each weekend.  I love the large pink painting and the palm fronds!!!

I don’t want to leave this room.  Do we have to?!?!?!

OK, one more from Instagram!
  Charlotte takes the photo of a brunch.  I love the fall branches, orange in color.  

Orange and pink, India’s navy and white.

For a client, Charlotte designed this sitting room with deep pink walls.  Blue fabric and green and white striped curtains.  LOVE!!!!

Before:  Off the main entry hall is the kitchen with a built in banquette.

   Charlotte says in Jenny’s book that one day she may build a huge family kitchen in the garage.  But, this room looks pretty big.  Later in Instagram she says they are renovating the kitchen.  

Can’t wait to see it on IG!   

Remember the basement kitchen at Bellamont Forest?   Charlotte inherited the wood island and the pot rack with all its copper pots.   She has the dining table too. 

From H&G Magazine:  White paint makes the kitchen look newly remodeled!!  The island is on the left and the pot rack is straight ahead.  The antique table and island look so at home in this kitchen.

The banquette looks brand new with linen pillows and white paint.  A Slim Aarons photo adds a youthful, modern touch.  Love that cactus!!!

From Instagram – the corner has weekly flowers from the garden.  Here are flowering branches.

And here are blue hydrageas.  OK – I found something I don’t like about Charlotte, finally!  She said she doesn’t care for blue hydrangeas!!!!!!!  The Horrors!!!!!  LOL!!!!

How can you not like blue hydrangeas, especially when they grow in your own garden??!?!!!!!!  LOL

If I lived in Australia I would take them all off her hands for her.

BEFORE:   The master bedroom is off the front balcony, that was changed dramatically when the bay window was removed from the family room.

From H&G Magazine:   Here is the master bedroom today – with the beautiful wall to wall sisal carpet and the blue walls with green fabrics.  The balcony overlooks the front yard.

The hand carved wood pineapple lamp bases are custom made for clients by Coote & Co.  They can be stained or painted – fabulous!!!!!

Later, Charlotte added a canopy and a rug.

Here is the new look with the rug and canopy.  I love the new look!  It’s a room within a room.

I’m going to assume Charlotte designed this rug too.

Before:   White marble bathrooms are the most classic look you can have.  It NEVER dates.  NEVER.  You can update the hardware, but I would choose classic old fashioned taps.

This is a BEFORE bath that only needs a bit of paint.  Amazing!

AFTER:  See?   Just fresh white paint and it looks like a newly restored bathroom.  Charlotte also changed out the cabinet doors.  White marble!!  Gorgeous.

BEFORE:   The house has five bedrooms according to the real estate brochure.  Here’s another before.’

Darling bedroom for the children.  Another lamp – smaller version.

Framed ballet shoes – so cute!!!

One guest room has celadon green walls.

Another view of the guest room.

H&G Magazine:  This bedroom was inspired by Charlotte’s bedroom at Bellamont Forest and by a bedroom by David Hicks.  

Just adorable!!!

AND, the PINK walls are beautiful.  They aren’t as deep or bright as the dining room, of course, but I love this shade too.

Another view with a collection of prints above the beds.  Kathryn Ireland fabric.

Later, a custom rug was added to the bedroom which gives it another layer of design.  Coote designed rug?

Charlotte and her sister’s bedroom at Bellamont Forest – which was the inspiration for her own daughter’s bedroom.

Real Estate Brochure:  These cupids are one of two sets – the other set is further up these stairs. 

Another view of the moss covered stairs.

Here, a blue gate leads down garden steps while a fountain sits at the middle.

A youngster is dwarfed by the flowering bushes  and almost hidden statue.  Just amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Real Estate Photos:   The pool reflects the green of the garden.  Notice the stone house which Paul Bangay designed.

Instagram:   Paul Bangay fabric covers the loungers.  Love the flag pole!  But, those trees!!!!

The garden is just magical!!!!

Real Estate Photo:  Paul Bangay is helping Charlotte and her husband to design the gardens around the Stone Pavilion.

From the Real Estate brochure – the summer house.

From IG – a more recent shot.  So charming!!!!

Kevin McNeill and John Graham erected this large greenhouse.

Charlotte and Paul and other designers hold a Master Class each year and this is where the designers give their talks. 
What a great entertaining venue!!!
If you live in Australia or are going to visit, watch IG for notice of the next Master Class.

A creek runs through the property – here, a small fountain.

From IG:   Entertaining is often done on the large lawn.  How pretty is this?!?!?!?!

Be sure to go to Charlotte Coote’s web site to see her other projects and press.   HERE.

If you live in Australia or will be visiting during their spring – check into attending her Master Class!!   On CC’s Instagram and web site. 

Pink Now and Then:   I loved seeing how the color pink wove through designs by John Coote and later to his daughter’s aesthetic.   I love the color pink and blush and it is gaining in such popularity.

I found a few pink and blush items that might perk up your house and your closet.  You don’t have to go all pink to have the look of it!!   Just a touch goes a long way.





  1. I'm not a millennial by any means, but I do love every one of the pink rooms.
    And that den/smoking room! So different, but so wonderful. The red velvet!
    Not a fan of seagrass. It seems to have all of the drawbacks of carpets (dust/dirt collectors) with none of the comforts. Give me wood floors, with area rugs that I can haul outside and hose down every summer.

    1. I was surprised she did wall to wall too, but to each their own? I think it's normal there to do that. Here, we layer the seagrass over hardwoods. I do like the way the wall to wall carpet looks though.

    2. I am a fan of hardwood floors and I like seagrass as well. Both are easy to maintain; I think seagrass more so than hardwood. Seagrass is like a duck's back in the sense that it is impermeable. Spills can be easily wiped off. It is not true of rugs that *look* like seagrass. That is why the latter is more expensive. Only Jodi would think of having a blog thread connected by the color pink (of all colors). LOL

  2. Thanks for writing this article and sharing such beautiful picturesweb hosting

  3. Wow .. the cupid moss covered stairs.. and the photo of the child looking at the almost hidden statue in the trees.. were my favourites..

    1. My exact favorites too ! From all the gorgeous pics. Tara

    2. That is her daughter. Didn't want to say that but wow. That photo is incredible. Her gardens are just to die over.

  4. Wow! What a fantastic story. And thank you for taking us all on a vacation to Australia....So much hard work goes into your posts - all of them so interesting. This one especially beautiful. Thank you

  5. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to live there and to be able to enjoy those gardens every day. It is like a fairy land. Thank you for all your hard work to bring this story to us.

  6. I LOVE this post, from beginning to end!! Thank you for all your research on the Coote family and posting those many gorgeous photos. The architecture of the Irish home is amazing, and the magic John Coote performed there certainly showcases it. Charlotte's home is lovely, and the gardens--ahhhh... one can only dream of such!

  7. She'll always know what time of year her pics are taken, the flowers/branches/foliage better than a calendar date.

    My 30 year garden, small, never had enough to cut for the house like this.

    Living rural now, ca. 1900 home on 5 acres, there is still not much to cut like this garden. 120 years, never a gardener's garden. I do cut a lot from the roadside, it will be mown anyway.

    So many great pics of Tara Turf.


    Pollinator habitat.

    Focal Points.


    So many times, views into the garden, ARE the ART on the walls of these homes.

    What a talent to lose so young, Mr. Coote.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    Do you cut from Buffalo Bayou?

    1. All the flowers in the house are from the gardens. Have you ever seen such flowers? It's amazing. Go to her web site to see all the flowers and trees and bushes. It's unreal.
      There's not much to cut at all where we are. there are bushes that block access to the bayou. not well landscaped, it's natural but only bushes.

  8. WOW Joni, Over the years I've been following your blog your research and writing have evolved so beautifully. When will you do a book, as you are clearly meant to do?

    warmly, Ann

  9. This is just a stunningly beautiful post, Joni. Everything - from Ballyfin, to Bellamont Forest, to Charlotte Cootes. I don't think I have ever seen home interiors as beautiful as Bellamont with the calm and sumptuous interior architecture and room decor. A post worth re-reading and savoring. Thank you, Joni.

  10. Joni, thanks for a breath of fresh air in these crazy viral times! I had a sense of relief when I saw your posting in my inbox thinking, ahh, here is an opportunity to escape to the old "normal" and a shift in focus back to some of the things I love. As always, well done.

  11. Positively gorgeous restoration and as per usual you researched it to the hilt! I wonder if she got the seagrass idea from you? Joni you seriously brought seagrass to those of us that do not live in Houston. Your posts are always so well thought out and fascinating. You are the best Joni!!

    1. Thanks, but no, lol. Seagrass was used in england and Australia for years. I always credit Carol Glasser for making it popular here. She and Babs Watkins both, I should say.

  12. This was the best article I have read in ages!! I started following a lot of Australian designers after falling in love with Anna Spiro ages ago (I tracked down her book before it was readily available in the States) and then found Jenny Rose-Innes. I pre-ordered her book and think it is excellent and so I'm loving this background on Charlotte Coote who I have been following on IG. Love the story and all the pretty pink rooms.

    1. I did a story on Cameron Kimber whom I love = if you want to google it. He's in Jenny's book too. Her book is the bible on Australian designers and she has a new one on English designers coming out, maybe next year or sooner. Not sure~!!!

  13. Great post! I noticed something interesting, regarding the oval mirror(s) with the facets "as frames" are being referred to as Irish mirrors. There are several in the Stair Gallery auction of (more) Mario Buatta's collection currently going on. After viewing them in the catalogue I did some looking around and found other similar mirrors for sale, but could not find any origin of the term.

  14. I love those mirrors. They are usually antiques, but these were reproduced for clients. I always thought there were Irish, but let us know what you find!