Miranda purchased the historic property in 2018. At the time, she had been living in Vanuatu with her 12-year-old daughter, but woke up one morning and decided that – after five years away – it was time to return to the Adelaide Hills, where she grew up.
“I jumped online and I found this property,” says Miranda.
Named for a long laurel hedge that lines its sweeping driveway, The Laurels is located on almost four hectares at Mylor with an 1880s stone cottage at its centre.
It presented an opportunity for Miranda to sink her teeth into a major project and create an idyllic lifestyle for her and her daughter.
“Vanuatu provided my daughter a childhood that was free and all about being in nature, so I didn’t want to return to suburbia,” says Miranda.
“I wanted to find a place where she could still find freedom and magic and have that space to just be a kid, which is what this has been all about – that sense of childhood wonder and having fun.
“While I’d grown up in the Hills, I’d never lived on nine acres, so that was going to be a whole new adventure for us.”
Miranda’s plan was to live at The Laurels and travel back and forth to Vanuatu, where she was preparing to launch her boutique oceanfront resort and retreat, Havannah Boat House, in 2020. Designed by Troppo Architects, Havannah Boat House was created with a sustainable focus and what Miranda says is a mission to support the cultural revival of the Ni-Vanuatu people.
But when COVID ceased all international travel, Miranda sunk her focus into renovating The Laurels.
As a property designer and visual artist, Miranda has renovated several high-end properties over the years. Her first one was in Dulwich. When she sold that first property, the buyer purchased all the furnishings with it, even the crockery.
“I buy homes, renovate them, live in them, create something and then move on to my next adventure,” she says.
“I’m a visual artist … when I do a house, I just see it as a really big canvas. This has been my biggest canvas yet – like one big painting.”
The extensive renovations of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom and three-living space home took about 18 months, with the renovation encompassing both the inside and outside the property.
“I was completely immersed in the process, and we lived in it while we renovated,” says Miranda who project managed the renovation and landscaping, in collaboration with Annabelle Kerslake.
“There’s not one inch of this property that hasn’t been touched. It was very much about keeping it true to the aesthetic of the Adelaide Hills,” she says.
Five Stobie poles were removed from the property and power was run underground. The home is now completely self-reliant with water and solar power.
Inside, almost everything is bespoke and handcrafted, from the Agostino & Brown kitchen to the light fittings that were hand-forged in Philadelphia.
“The interior design is playful, theatrical and fun. It’s also got charm and warmth about it,” says Miranda.
“The home enables you to close off each space and keep them warm, particularly handy in the cold Adelaide Hills winters.”
Outside, the property has it all – a spring-fed dam, swimming pool and spa, 100-year-old orchard and even an outdoor bath with a view.
There are al fresco spaces that transport the imagination to the hills of France and cute timber structures for creating and relaxing.
“The large sitting room has four sets of French doors that connect the two outside living spaces, letting in summer breezes and the smells of the garden in spring,” says Miranda.
“It has a French provincial feel. In winter, you can enjoy the fire, while in summer you have lots of shade.”
There are wicking beds and an external garden kitchen – a creative space that could be transformed into a study or teenager’s retreat.
With so much on the go – and planning to return to Havannah Boat House in Vanuatu – Miranda has decided to sell her Adelaide Hills oasis.
“The Boat House and The Laurels are so different, but people who have been to both have commented on some similarities,” she says.
Miranda hopes the new owners of The Laurels will appreciate the work that has gone into it and enjoy the lifestyle as much as she has.
“The Laurels is all about warmth and hospitality and fun,” she says.
“It is a beautiful family home and an oasis where you feel completely in touch with the march of the seasons.”
The sale is being handled by Dee-Anne Hunt of Williams Real Estate.