Murchison Whom?

Many people ask me about my company's name. Murchison-Hume is an old family name from my Husband's side of the family. Precisely, my Father-in-Law: Dr. Roderick Murchison-Hume Kater.

From the moment I heard it, I loved it. To my ear, it has just the right mix of elegance and old-school gravitas. Even better, the man himself is the embodiment of our company's core values: He's practical, responsible, and naturally very elegant.

My Husband's family is the kind of rootin'-tootin, surfing, hiking, and riding family that initially scared the bejeezus out of me. The Katers value intellect, character, environmental responsibility, athletic prowess, and character in that order.

Harmony with Nature pervades every facet of their daily lives. To wit: My Mother-In-Law is a Master Tree Surgeon with an encyclopedic knowledge of native plants and trees (she reads botanical journals like I read American Vogue).

At Bonnington, their flagship free-range cattle property, she maintains an organic, sustainable food forest, an Instagram-worthy kitchen garden, and a chicken coop (the "Palais du poulet") and weaves her green magic over each.

Her houses are run with the same elegant efficiency and sympathy with the land as Dr. Kater employs on the land.


Solar panels power the house (and put surplus power back into the grid), food scraps are whisked away daily to feed the chooks, and what little rubbish is left over either gets recycled or thrown into the underground worm farm.

Central heating? You must be joking! They've never had it. The same goes for air-conditioning. At Bonnington, Mrs. Kater's sympathetic design for her house (a series of pavilions with a screened breezeway for ventilation) and simple ceiling fans combat the sweltering heat of summer. Double-brick insulation and a series of old-fashioned wood-burning stoves are relied upon to take the edge off winter.

Does it get cold? You bet it does. So? That's what wool jumpers are for! Too hot? Go for a quick dip in the river! Admittedly, I'm still learning to embrace my "inner-Kater." But to this creature-comfort-loving American, the best thing about their authentically sustainable lifestyle is that it just happens without a trace of apology, smugness, or ceremony. By the time I reach their age, I intend to be just like them: tough as old boots and hopefully just as happy and handsome.