Killcare Heights NSW
Bouddi Farm was the home of Australian artist Russell Drysdale (1912-1981) and his wife Maisie. The property, which adjoins the Bouddi National Park on the New South Wales Central Coast, was bought by the Drysdales in December 1964. They commissioned their architect friend Guilford Bell to design the house. It was completed by 1966, sited at the top of a ridge to take advantage of the natural environment. From the north-facing living room, the Drysdales could admire the sweeping views across Brisbane Water. When considering the design of the house, Bell recalled standing on the land and saying ‘Everything should face that view [north] which must be framed and punctuated by verticals to ensure against familiarity breeding disinterest.’
The house was designed to sit discreetly in the landscape: low rise with a roof plane that seemed to float over the walls, typical of Bell’s work. In its layout it comprised three distinct pavilions – one each for sleeping, living and work. The latter space was originally Drysdale’s studio but became a library study for Maisie when Drysdale had another studio built separate from the house. Some of the furniture was designed by Bell and some items were Drysdale family pieces from the 19th century. In addition to the walls of books and paintings by various artists and friends, another feature were the Pacific and African tribal artefacts and Inuit hardstone carvings collected by Maisie.
The house was photographed shortly after Maisie Drysdale died in June 2001 but while still in family hands. Some of the contents of the house were sold at auction in April 2002.
‘An artist’s studio home near Sydney’, Vogue Living, Sydney, Feb-Apr 1969.
Leon van Schaik, ed., Guilford Bell: the life work of Guilford Bell, architect 1912-1992, Bookman Press, Melbourne, 1999.
Lou Klepac, Russell Drysdale, rev. ed., Murdoch Books, Sydney, 2009