Two Kiwis with a fascinating backstory have travelled across the world and back, and are now living in the Bucketty bush in an eclectic house with a fantastic view of the mountains.
Ruth and Rob Walker live in during the week – and rent out on the weekend – a funky wild-west themed three-bedroom space covered in Midwestern decor.
Two of the bedrooms are actually caravans. When you walk in, you spot a hand-made potbelly log-burner in the kitchen and a ceiling covered with hundreds of baseball caps from the US.
“In the 70s and 80s baseball caps were one of the premium promotional items, so I naturally acquired a huge amount of them,” Rob says of his career with Capitol Records
When he finally returned to take up a position with EMI Australia, he brought all the caps and a 1966 Chevrolet convertible.
Previously, Ruth and Rob lived in Sydney and would come up on the weekends as often as they could. In 2007 they left their careers and moved to Bucketty for good.
In the beginning, they had no intention of renting out the place.
“There was no bathroom, just a good, old-fashioned Aussie long-drop, state-of-the-art throne with a bush view and an outdoor shower,” Ruth says. “It was just two caravans linked with the humpy.”
Ruth says Rob is extremely artistic and practical. He built the original shack, and builders were brought in later to help with the rest. They built the foundation from an old steel bridge.
Now, they have a cabin for themselves, which they retire to at weekends when guests arrive.
If they ever want more time to themselves in the bigger house, they just block it off the Airbnb calendar.
They now call their home Walkers Run, and it stands out.
As you drive along the dirt road to get to their home, a red-coated soldier marks their driveway’s entrance. The silent gatekeeper is a good indicator of the wide-ranging ornamentation waiting inside.
Walkers Run is an open-plan house that is both rustic and majestic, with wooden floors and exposed timber. Large decks wrap around the house with loungers, hanging chairs, and sunken and raised open-pit fire-places.
Enter the house and find the two bedroom options in either caravan, both of which are cosy and covered in lone-star-style decorations with the touch of random. Glow-in-the-dark stars line the ceiling of one caravan and a cowhide rug is on the floor.
Decor includes cow skulls, heirloom guns (registered to be decorations) saddle equipment and a miniature truck hanging from the ceiling.
“The house has just evolved rather than being architecturally planned. We decided where a few basic features were going to be – i.e. the sound system and fireplace – and then pretty much made up the rest as we went along. Rob built our king-sized bed out of original post and rail fencing from the old and stockyard from property” Ruth says.
The bathroom is very pink. Rob drove 200 kilometres to get the original claw bathtub, which matched the basin unexpectedly, leading to the pink theme in the rest of the bathroom, along with a rubber duck collection.
The master bedroom is also the main lounge room with the view, but it can be screened off for privacy.
Pictures on the wall give a glimpse into Rob’s previous career and life.
“Most of my career was spent in the music industry,” Rob says.
Among his major achievements are signing Savage Garden, James Blundell and Keith Urban to their first recording deals. His work in the music business included a five-year gig circumnavigating the globe as Tina Turner’s tour manager, as the photos show.
Now he works for Hyatt Ground Engineering and enjoys the quieter life. He and Ruth look back fondly on their life of travel but are happy to stay put in the bush.
Interestingly, the pair originally had a fling 30 years ago when Ruth worked as Rob’s PA in Wellington. They went on to have separate lives and families, but the relationship was rekindled many years later when the two met in Sydney at the funeral of a mutual friend.
Ruth has a background in marketing in textiles and furniture, so the two had complementary skills to make their place work. This, and their mutual desire to make Walkers Run their permanent home and business, made them the perfect team to build, design and decorate.
Now the work is done, they’re happy to stay where they are and enjoy the peace and quiet for as long as they can.