A sprawling lawn framed by manicured gardens and punctuated by a 14m glistening pool and all-white, draped cabanas, perfect for lounging on post-long lunch on the property’s large deck or after a morning spent shopping or brunching in the nearby town of Bangalow. And inside, chandeliers, dark wood floors and white, sheer curtains moving every so often in the breeze floating up from the sea.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a historic home (rather, mansion) in The Hamptons, New York than in fact at a boutique accommodation called Hinterland House, a 20-minute drive from Byron, on a macadamia farm in the Hinterland. Recently having undergone an interior refurbishment, the eight-room accommodation is now a part of the Private Collection by Spicers.
But though the property is actually a historic home (you did get that right — it was built in the 1906), what’s so fantastic about it is that the owner wasn’t hell-bent on keeping it locked into that era, explains Kathy Brauer, owner of styling company and homewares establishment Bisque Traders, who was at the helm of Hinterland House’s interior refurbishment. She was briefed to combine Federation style with what she calls a “Bisque/Byron look”, an aesthetic her company is known for.
“A lot of properties of that era are filled with darker, gloomy period pieces,” Brauer says. “The owner was open to it being injected with some contemporary decor. I usually do only Bisque/Beach Byron-style houses for clients, as this is the general demand, but with this particular home, I felt that owner was completely trusting, allowing me to mix it up and be as adventurous as I felt necessary to create a unique look.”
Brauer says she was highly conscious of the status and era of the Hinterland House home, wanting to hold onto its essential elements, while still bringing it into this current era. She also wanted the house to feel like a home, rather a clinical hotel.
“I tried to inject as much character into each room, without making it feel as if it had too much personality,” she says.
“We had many of the pieces custom-made for the job, and all of the original art was painted by myself to tie in with the feel of each room. The overall desired achievement was one of luxe bohemian style-meets-Federation, with a bit of sexy glam thrown in. I feel that this combination worked really well, creating a space unlike any other.”
Brauer says she thinks there’s no other property in the district — maybe even in Australia — that has its same feel. “Each room is completely unique, yet there is a common thread running through the entire 8-bedroom, 3-living room mansion. It’s quite luxurious, yet still feels as if you can put your feet up and totally relax in its room.”
And while Brauer says she loved seeing the transformation of all the bedrooms, the Anton room, in particular, is her favourite – by far. “When I first went into the house, this bedroom was very opulent, filled with all gold baroque style furniture,” she says. “I removed all of the furniture, and worked around the incredible marble fireplace.”
Brauer says she wanted to keep the glamour of the room, yet make it more understate. As a result, the only items she kept from it was an “incredible feather floor lamp” and an over-the-top chandelier, which she moved into the bathroom. In its place, she installed a contemporary ‘candle’, a black pendant light that she’d found in the owner’s storage.
“The simple black and white décor, the modern, quite provocative print of the girl smoking in a bikini bottom only, mixed with the classic style of this bedroom really works, I feel,” Brauer says. “It is also a room that the guests can still feel really comfortable, with the ultra-soft sofas and luxurious leather occasional chairs.”
As for how guests can spend their time on the property, Brauer says you can start off their days with breakfast at a dining table on the veranda, following by some relaxing poolside and then lunch on the other veranda. Round it out with afternoon drinks on the pool balcony and then dinner on-site or at any of the nearby towns and villas, including Newrybar, Federal, Bangalow or Byron.
“I would like to think that the minute a guest steps into this calm, inviting space, their heart rate would immediately slow down and they would continue to feel this way until they leave, completely blissed out,” she says. “Feeling completely regenerated and renewed, wanting to come back for more in the near future.”
Rates at Hinterland House start from $8035 per night with a minimum of 5 nights.