While outdoor showers aren’t rare in Australia, it is unusual to find one where you can spot koalas hanging out in a gum tree above you as you wash. That’s the case with the bathroom situation at The Perch, a two-bedroom holiday home resting high above Possum Creek Valley, 6km from Bangalow.
In addition to an outdoor shower, the home also features a 12m indoor, solar-heated pool, a kitchen with Smeg appliances and a butler’s pantry, and an outdoor entertaining area with views of the Byron Hinterland.
Constructed in 1978, the home originally had a mud-brick design, the recycled floor from an old milk factory, and was made with reclaimed timbers that were sourced locally.
“Back then, this would’ve been considered extremely experimental, though the Byron Hinterland was the perfect place do this,” says Geoff Cochrane, who now owns and rents out The Perch with his partner Zach Holmes. “However, now we call this sustainable living at its best.”
Cochrane and Holmes bought the home in 2020, making an offer after only visiting it once. While it was well maintained, Cochrane says it needed to be modernised and brought back to its original condition.
“We wanted a luxury hacienda, with touches of Soho farmhouse, while still feeling very Byron Hinterland,” he says. “We mixed high-end furniture from Coco Republic, MCM House and Eco Outdoor with local artisan works. My dad and Zach made our 12-seater outdoor table from timber we found on the property.”
Today, the peaceful property embraces nature-inspired textures and colours, from the terracotta wash on its mud-brick exterior and the mottled whites on its soaring interior walls, to the timber-slatted cathedral ceilings and natural, brick-paved flooring.
Raw timber columns dot the indoors, and a paved outdoor area leads to a sprawling lawn where guests can settle in during the day and listen to the kookaburras and a koala or two on the roof, and, come nightfall, witness stunning sunsets by the sunken firepit.
The two bedrooms are on the same floor as the mezzanine level, which is framed by floor-to-ceiling curtains that give the area a moody feel. Stretching out below the mezzanine level is an open-plan living and dining area with a wood fireplace. The pool is draped in curtains, and feels as if you’ve stumbled on a secret garden oasis.
The Perch’s main bedroom has a clawfoot tub with an antique brass faucet, as well as the aforementioned outdoor shower that’s lined with grey stone tiles, a rain showerhead and a feature wall with a window that looks out onto the trees.
“The master bedroom feels like you’re floating in the treetops,” Cochrane says. “One of our big investments was in premium mattresses for the bedrooms. We often get guests saying they’ve had ‘the best sleep ever’. Though, that could also be because they’re sleeping surrounded by the Earth – from the mud-brick – and in complete silence.”