Story by David Renwick
Photography by Trevor Mein
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Designed to provide a luxury rural experience, this combination eatery and hotel features bespoke Australian materials and a hard-to-beat location
Photographer: Trevor Mein
About the project (Text from architect): Brae Restaurant and Accommodation were conceived and designed to provide a luxury, sustainable rural experience. The restaurant, completed a couple of years ago, consists of a simple, understated fit out of the old homestead.
The accommodation, a new building, references the archetypal utilitarian rural shed in the landscape, folded into its terrain, while providing a handcrafted, bespoke luxury.
The restaurant is renowned for seasonally sourcing raw produce from either the property or local region. There was a desire to bring this careful, considered approach into the crafting of the rooms and restaurant. Simple robust materials, contrasting hard and soft, and a level of intricate detailing remind you that hands have made and shaped the buildings.
Staggered recycled brickwork with occasional heritage tile inlays are reminiscent of ruined remnant chimneys visible in Australian paddocks. Rich Australian recycled timbers, brick, raw steel and brass are all old materials utilised in rural settings. The project purposefully plays off the materiality and self-build nature of old rural buildings, reinterpreting them into contemporary and luxurious interiors, framing views of the working landscape beyond.
The view to the south, from within the suites, is framed to capture a picturesque, almost Capability Brown, experience of an Australian rural, sunlit, working landscape. The landscaped berm to the north, made from the soil excavated for the new building, protects the suites from the carpark and intentionally creates a more intimate and personal environment.
Vines, roses, herbs and other scented plants, along with the enclosure provided by the berm, are reminiscent of an old homestead garden. The proximity of the front porches provide the opportunity for guests to be sociable with their neighbours and enjoy the northern sun. Alternatively they can choose the more secluded deck to the south, for the late summer evening sunset.
The project, built using local builders and trades, is designed to have zero net energy use during operation. 48 solar panels provide 12.5kW of power, with an estimated average daily generation of 43.78kWh. A 4000lt worm farm deals with waste and irrigates the fields to the south, while rainwater water is collected in two 40,000L tanks for drinking and washing. The accommodation building achieves 7+ stars on Nathers, utilising passive thermal design and simple operational initiatives.
Careful selection of bespoke, engaging objects, by the clients, Six Degrees and Round Studio, give the rooms a comfortable familiarity, as if you are staying at a friend’s. Any suggestion of a hotel room has been banished, no doilies, no beige carpet, no boxed soap. Instead you can select from a range of fine liquors and settle down with a single malt to watch your framed view of the rolling hills beyond.
First published date: 30 October 2017