PHYLLi Style: ‘The Dartbrook’
Hat Number: 353
Last Sunday morning, I sat down with my morning coffee and spoke to Grace Quast, a truly beautiful soul who I admire so deeply. Grace lives with her husband David on their property ‘Domang’ in far North NSW. They have faced more than their fair share of hardships over the last few years, although Grace’s creative work never fails to inspire.
With a background in fashion journalism, Grace has worked covering fashions stories and international runways, to now find herself at home in regional NSW, for some it may have seemed easy to step back from such a career with the challenges that come with living remotely. Instead, Grace has gone from strength to strength, learning to juggle and the beauty of balance, gaining endless inspiration from the fellow creative and entrepreneurial women clustered around her.
How did you discover Phylli Designs?
#buyfromthebush is where I first came across Phylli, on my search for country brands to work with for an upcoming Graziher Magazine shoot.
I remember the first time speaking to you on the phone as I was driving out to Lightning Ridge to do a photoshoot for Graziher, you were headed to the Hemsworth’s at Byron Bay to do your first hat party with them. So surreal that we were heading in completely different directions on that day!
Where is your home, ‘Domang’?
‘Domang’ sits between Moree NSW and Goondiwindi QLD, in a region known as the Golden Triangle. Out here at ‘Domang’, come this time of year, everything is golden. The wattle at this time of year lines the roads and in a few months time when the crops start to turn, the paddocks will become swaying seas of golden wheat.
Do you have a favourite space in your home?
The first thing that we renovated out here at 'Domang' wasn’t even inside the house. Lots of people ask me why I didn’t start with the kitchen, but for me it was the outdoor bath and the pool.
There’s an older style bathtub positioned under the rubber tree and jacarandas at the back of the house. It sits against this beautiful big shower wall with an outdoor shower so we can even wash the dog. It’s the perfect place to settle in for an hour under the stars, when David’s showered and headed inside long before me.
When the wattle blooms I’ll cut bunches and put it all in the bathtub, before cutting down to fill vases that I place all through our house. Sometimes I forget about what I’ve cut and will walk past the tub weeks later and it’s dried out and done for. This year I was adamant that was not going to happen!
Is there a part of your day that has become so habitual, that you now couldn’t live without it?
David and I go for a walk together at the end of each day with golden Labrador, Tilly. Even during the worst of the drought, we kept walking, mainly for our mental health, and for 2.5 years we didn’t look up. We would walk looking down at the cracked earth, the dry dusty scenery before us too depressing to take in.
When the drought finally broke and we could see green again, it was like we had forgotten our surroundings, and we were seeing Domang again for the very first time.
With a background in fashion journalism, how did you get your start in fashion photography?
In 2018, David and I went on a trip to Scotland together. The Christmas prior he had given me a camera, which I took with us to capture our trip. Claire Dunne, founder of Graziher Magazine loved the style of the images and landscapes so much, she had me write a travel story for the magazine and everything took off from there.
As a rural business spokesperson, what are some of your favourite businesses from your region?
Spinifex and co is a fashion brand that really celebrates the colours and the ruggedness of the landscape in their content and fashion pieces.
Wattle and Twine is a homewares store in Goondiwindi, I will be releasing a collaborative series of artworks here soon...yay!
Goondiwindi Cotton is a great local community business that employs locals and really contributes to the town in a number of ways.