At home with Barry Du Bois
Barry Du Bois certainly champions the philosophy of looking on the bright side, and now The Living Room co-host and master builder has teamed up with The Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation, donating his time, design and gardening expertise to create Australia's first Cancer Survivorship Garden at the hospital. It's a cause that's very close to Barry, after his own battle with cancer in 2017. He understands first hand the value that being outdoors has, not only for recovery, but the mental health of patients.
"I love nature and know how incredible meditation is," he says. "As a someone who went through horrific treatment myself, I know sitting in a garden is so therapeutic."
Barry's Federation home in Bondi is also a place of peace.
"I have bought and sold real estate my whole life, I just saw it as a commodity to trade. When the kids were born I wanted a home like the one I grew up in."
Barry has made some changes to the home, including putting in a pool, but he doesn't advise rushing into a renovation.
"Write a list of what you want from the home for the next 25 years. I want this home to nurture and protect us."
Words: Catherine Nikas-Boulos
Photos: Tim Pascoe
Who: Barry Du Bois
Where: Federation home in Bondi with wife Leonie Tobler and their twins Bennett and Arabella, 8
Favourite thing: Anyone my age would remember the Malvern Star as the best bike on the market. I saw this bike on the side of someone's house, and it was the exact bike I had as a kid. I thought, 'that's the pushbike I want for my son'. I knocked on the door, bought it off the bloke and had a friend restore it exactly the way it was when I was eight years old.
Inspiration Eclectic. Every room offers something different
Home: is A sense of security and belonging
These are letters to my dad and his brother via their mother, my grandmother. They are comparing swimming in the Red Sea to doing laps in Bondi and having a cold beer at the Bondi Hotel.
In that pouch is the last cigarette he ever rolled. This was left to my grandmother and before she passed she asked me if there was anything I wanted. Going through cancer I think about how we're created through the generations. The fact that I have my grandfather's DNA in my living room is pretty special to me.
I feel like I have had so many lives. I was a successful businessman, retired at 45 and went sailing around the world. Meeting Amanda Keller and the boys and creating The Living Room is so special. I definitely don't take it for granted that 100,000 people invite us into their homes.
With the help of Miguel (Maestre), I wanted to turn something negative into a positive. I know people trust me and believe in me and I wanted to share everything I had learned about living with cancer.
I always advocate for sustainability, and since my kids have come along I am even more focused on their life and the war on single use plastic. Anytime I can do something for the wellbeing of the planet, I am going to do it.
The Channel 10 team surprised me with this for my 60th birthday. It was a This Is Your Life moment. I had not seen him in about 40 years. My sister had it, and it was pretty special the team took so much trouble to track him down.
After 12 failed IVF attempts, Leonie having cervical cancer and being on the adoption trail for many years, we were very lucky on our seventh attempt at surrogacy. Nothing else matters more to me than these two.
I am a bit of an artisan and I enjoy being creative. This is the first project I did on this house. As a more mature parent I am conscious of the memories I can create with my children. They can tell their children they helped their dad build this.
Originally published as At home with Barry Du Bois