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The artist's charming home is surrounded by nature.

| By Antonia Day | Home tours

How Painter Ash Leslie Turned a 1920s Coal Miners Cottage Into a Family Home

The artist's charming home is surrounded by nature.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour abstract painter Ash Leslie’s cottagecore home on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Cottagecore might be the trend of the moment, but for artist Ash Leslie, it’s just her style. The abstract painter lives in a revamped 1920s coal miners cottage on the NSW South Coast, surrounded by nature.

Ash and her family had been on the house hunt for a year before they discovered this gem, and it was love at first sight. “On first impressions we loved the character with original hardwood floors and windows and the bushland surroundings,” Ash tells Bed Threads Journal. “We were pretty hooked from the start.”

After getting the keys to their new space, Ash and her husband made some changes to the home to suit the needs of their family. “When we moved in we did a few basics like updating the kitchen… updating the remaining [spaces] with paint, tiling the floor and adding the essential dishwasher.”

As you’d expect from an artist, Ash’s home is filled with bespoke and unique furniture she’s collected over the years, adding to the cottagecore aesthetic. “The dining room chairs were my husband's grandparents,” Ash says. “We had them restored recently and my husband made the dining room table to match them. Our sofa is also a recent favourite. It’s a vintage modular from the ‘70s and it fits so amazingly well in our odd shaped bay window.”

Among her impressive furniture collection, artworks from Clare Dubina, Sara Kelk, Phoebe Stone and Loralee Jade are hung on the crisp white walls in her home. But with two little ones living in the space, Ash has had to prioritise which pieces are showcased. “Form and function are of equal importance to me, so it's always a balancing act especially when living with children.”

Ash’s approach to decorating her South Coast home is similar to how she tackles life and her art; with intention, pride, and love. “I like to go with the philosophy of keeping a neutral base and changing up the soft furnishing and artwork when you feel like you need a refresh,” she tells us. “Keep it simple and only bring items into your space that have a purpose and meaning.”

From a young age, Ash knew she wanted to be a creative. “I spent my early childhood on a building site whilst my parents built our family home, so I think a love of making something with my own hands was instilled very early on,” she tells us. After initially pursuing Graphic Design, she transitioned to painting full time after the birth of her first daughter.

Keep it simple and only bring items into your space that have a purpose and meaning.

- Ash Leslie

But finding her feet in the art world didn’t happen overnight, and Ash has had her fair share of imposter syndrome. “It blows my mind that there are people willing to spend their hard earned money on my work!” she laughs. “But as you get older, you start to realise that everybody kind of does feel the same – and nobody really knows what they're doing; you start to realise that people in the world aren’t as confronting as you thought they were when you were younger.”

When asking Ash her advice on investing in art, her tips were simple: “I wouldn't buy something that's necessarily on trend – I would buy something that you really connect to.” If you’re working with a small budget, “start with an artist print,” she adds.

Through her home and her work, Ash Leslie reminds us that art isn’t about fads or even style… It's about connection. Invest in what you love and you really can’t go wrong.

Shop Ash's edit.

For more from Ash, follow her @ash__leslie

Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Audrey Won.

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