William and Margaret Preston moved to Berowra in 1932, and it is believed that the artist was recovering from surgery performed in 1929 as a result of breast cancer. The anticipation of the retreat into the bush coupled with the first ownership of property by the Preston’s would have provided Margaret with a great sense of comfort during that difficult period.
Arthur Rickard throughout the previous decade had been promoting the health benefits of Berowra in the Sydney Morning Herald. Many people like the Preston’s became aware of seeking an exodus from city life as beneficial to health and well being, in Preston’s case a time for reflection and contemplation.
We witness a striking development in the architectural style of Preston’s house as compared with that of the Federation style of such homes as ‘Sunbeam’. Preston’s house was extremely modern, based on the California Bungalow with a low-pitched roof, it’s architectural structure was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. The Preston’s made additions to the existing structure – it is believed that Margaret used the concept based on “design for living” principles when the additions and refurbishments were undertaken. Effectively, Preston created flow between the outdoor and indoor living spaces as she was known to often work on the verandah which overlooked the gardens and bush land area. Life and art merging within the everyday – one of the many inspirations of Berowra.