Raised on a grazing property that has been in the family for over 100 years, Susan Playsted is certainly accustomed to the trials and tribulations of farm life. However, it wasn’t until Susan and her family, husband Matthew and their four sons: Clancy (16), Will (14), Sam (11) and Archer (9) along with their two dogs Jess (10) and Nugget (4) moved to their own 820 acres of paradise, “Hopewood” 28km NE of Chinchilla, that she wholeheartedly pursued her love of quilting.
Being no stranger to a needle and thread, Susan’s initial love affair with sewing heralds from the early influence of her mum who was always sewing clothes or mending items for her children. However, it wasn’t until high school where she studied Senior Home Economics, hands down her favourite subject, that she discovered the art of patchwork. Often spending lunchtimes with her friends putting in extra work at the Home Ec classroom, Susan is grateful for the expertise of her home economics teachers. Under her first label, “Archer & Mary” Susan lost count of the amount of name bunting she made. Undoubtedly the move in 2015 to Hopewood was the catalyst that prompted Susan to pursue her label aptly called “Hopewood Home.” Dedicated to the creation of bespoke, heirloom quilts, Susan has certainly found her niche.
Between sewing and ferrying her boys around to their rugby league and cricket commitments, after school and on weekends, Susan finds time to potter in her garden. There was no garden whatsoever when the Playsted family moved to Hopewood, but they have swiftly taken steps to rectify this and Susan admits to a newfound love of gardening. While they’ve planted lots of trees (86 at last count), Susan loves her roses and appreciates the prolific blooms they offer even through the hottest and driest of summers. To ensure the longevity of their garden Susan and Matthew have put in a large dam not far from the house in the hope that it will sustain the house and garden during dry times. “It’s amazing what a little bit of green around the house does for the soul when the paddocks are dry and dusty.” Ain’t that the truth!
We chatted to Susan about all things Hopewood Home and discovered she’s definitely a woman of many talents. Read our interview below and feast your eyes on the beauty that abounds at Hopewood.
Launching a small business can be very daunting. Who or what inspired you to take the plunge? I was inspired by our move out of town to concentrate on making quilts under the “Hopewood Home” label. Quilts are beautiful, tactile, homely pieces that emit such warm, nurturing feelings. I love seeing my boys wrapped up in a quilt I’ve made for them while they’re reading or watching TV.
In just three words how would you describe Hopewood Home’s aesthetic? Modern. Vintage. Comfort.
Your business specializes in creating beautifully crafted heirloom quilts that can be treasured for years to come. What is your favourite part of the process? My favourite part of the process is the design stage. I absolutely love putting the fabrics together and thinking about the overall design and feel of the quilt.
When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass it? I will often bake. That’s another hobby of mine.
Your beautifully renovated home was recently featured in Country Style Magazine. What is your top styling tip for those playing along at home? Surround yourself with only pieces you truly love! Don’t get caught up in trends or thinking your home should look like a furniture showroom or wanting something just because someone else has got it.
I’ve found over the years that you’re better off waiting and saving up for something that’s good quality or hand crafted rather than purchasing something of poor quality that may end up as landfill in a short amount of time. Having said that, furnishings and home décor items don’t need to be expensive. We’ve found a lot of our furniture at second hand sales or on ebay/gumtree. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!
I often source fabric remnants from ebay to use for cushions or lampshades. It feels good to create a unique look in your home by making things yourself and saving money that way.
If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be? That’s another hard one! If I had to list 5 ‘possessions’ - Our restored 1800s iron bed, a folder of our boys’ drawings kept from when they were little, my sewing machine and a couple of our art works.
(I do feel awkward listing these possessions as important because they’re not really….Obviously if anything happened to our home I would only care for the safety of my family).
Name three inspirational women you admire and why.
- My mum, who worked as a registered nurse most of her life, is a selfless person with a kind, caring nature.
- Annabelle Hickson – I’m always inspired by her effortless way of making things look beautiful and her amazing photography and writing ability.
- Elizabeth Barnett – This artist creates stunning pieces full of colour and life while mothering two little ones and also knits beautiful things!
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I would love to learn how to upholster.
What’s next in the pipeline for your small business? I’m continuing to work on creating gorgeous custom quilts for my customers as well as an affordable ready made range using Liberty of London fabrics and a mix of other lovely prints and solids.