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A Self-Built Weekender Cabin

Homes

Today’s home is a true lesson in living by your values! Three years ago, artist and researcher Lucy Hersey and her husband Nathan built a tiny, off-the-grid weekender in regional Victoria, following their ethos of recycling and slow-living.

There is something SO WHOLESOME about this self-built retreat, where everything has a purpose and nothing exceeds the basic requirements. Lucy and Nathan share this space with pups Lolly and Alice, and weekends are spent gazing across the paddocks, cuppa in hand. Pop on the kettle, we are coming to visit!

8th August, 2018

Inside the weekender of artist and researcher Lucy Hersey and her husband Nathan. Handmade tiles behind the fire are by Daniel Robertson (gifted by Lucy’s Gran, left over from the home she built in the 1960s) and the cowhide stools from Bangkok. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

They completed construction of their amazing little cabin three years ago. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

It was self-built with the help of Youtube clips and phone calls to tradie mates! Earth pigment painting by Lucy Hersey and second-hand sofa, originally from Freedom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The ‘style’ of the home emerged organically and is ‘just filled with things we love,’ tells Lucy. Watercolour of Lolly by Zoe Harriet,  thrifted chest of drawers featuring Australian wildlife painted by Lucy, and her treasured Koala head bottle opener! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Most of the furniture is second hand or pieces found on travels. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The loft bed, with vintage crochet blanket and little love birds painting, found in a market in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The cabin is a trove of op-shopped homewares! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Deck view. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A perfect library of ‘ugly mugs’. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

It’s all 70’s Australian craft movement meets Kevin McLeod from Grand Designs! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A deck and outdoor setting, perfect for whiling away the weekend! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The couple loves enjoying an afternoon cuppa and gazing across the paddocks. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The cabin, in regional Victoria, offers some pretty idyllic vistas! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 8th August 2018

‘We live by candlelight and battery lights most of the time. It is nice to be forced to slow down.’ – Lucy Hersey.

Artist and researcher Lucy Hersey and husband Nathan seem to have found the perfect balance of city living and weekend escape, in this tiny nook of a cabin in regional Victoria. Three years ago the couple built their miniature getaway, despite admitting to lacking any real construction know how! Lucy describes how the pair ‘had to learn how to do everything for the first time on site’. Between Youtube clips and phone calls to tradie mates, the pair cobbled together the skills required to build this cosy cabin. And it’s such beauty!

Lucy explains that the ‘style’ of the home emerged organically, as the cabin is ‘just filled with things we love.’  There’s a touch of 1970’s Australian craft movement about the place, with an emphasis on raw timber and ceramic details, and mostly second-hand  furniture. The couple loves recycling for ethical reasons, but also cherish the experience of fossicking through the op-shops and occasionally striking gold!

Despite the limited footprint, the space is fully adorned with lovingly selected artworks, ceramics, and cosy details – we especially love the hand-crocheted blanket (a bedroom destined for the pages of Frankie ‘SPACES’, surely!?). Lucy’s own stunning earthy toned artworks are hung on the walls, alongside those of her friends Candice McGaw, Andy Murray and Sarah Dingwall. ‘I try to buy pieces from artists I have a relationship with already. Buying work from people you know and love adds that extra dimension to a special piece,’ Lucy describes.

‘I love waking up in the morning and drinking a coffee in the loft bed, looking out at the view, and snuggling down by the fire in winter after being out in the cold and wind all day’ Lucy enthuses. The tiny kitchen is a favourite spot, where she can peer out of the cabin window to watch the cows grazing, and in summer the couple love to entertain friends on the deck.

If this all sounds a little TOO idyllic, Lucy is upfront about the realities of the property! The cabin has no bathroom, and electricity is occasionally powered by a generator, but Lucy makes these limitations seem romantic – ‘we live by candlelight and battery lights most of the time. It is nice to be forced to slow down, collect firewood, be thoughtful about your use of resources and feel self-sufficient.’ There are plans for a permaculture garden, olive grove and native flower plantation – has a low-energy-and-impact lifestyle ever looked so good?!

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

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