Just over a year ago, Alastair and Kerry Houston purchased a 1849 former pub in Stanley – a small town their family had been regularly visiting for four years – on Tasmania’s north-west coast. The couple had been trying to work out how they could relocate permanently from Hobart to the town, so when this historic building went up for sale, they saw it as a golden opportunity. ‘Looking for an employment opportunity and a family-focused lifestyle, this property seemed like the perfect fit,’ says Kerry.
The 170-year old building had most recently been operating as a ‘cheap and cheerful’ guesthouse, which the Houstons hoped to transform into timelessly-styled, luxury accommodation reflective of its historical origins. The project would also include an apartment for their parents to live in, and one of the suites would be converted into the couple’s family home.
Rebranding and renovating the property took over 12 months, with the assistance of numerous creative people, from interior designers to copywriters. While the building had previously been renovated and was therefore in decent structural condition, these new works designed by David Denman & Associates provided a more cohesive and elegant aesthetic. ‘It was very mismatched and not really suited to the 1800s era,’ says Kerry. ‘Some areas were still derelict, like the room used to store the barrels, which is now our light-filled kitchen.’ Overall, the aim was to ‘create something special that travellers in Tasmania would like to stay in to get a sense of history, luxury and to enjoy this special village in the Cradle Coast region.’
Integral to the design process was researching the property’s history, which would inform the storytelling conveyed in the styling by Belle Hemming and Lynda Gardener of Inside Story. The name Ship Inn, for example, was the name of the building when it traded as a pub in the 1800s, so reinstating this felt only fitting. Belle and Lynda refined the couple’s vision upon visiting the property, and examining their amassed collection of artwork that would be incorporated into the suites.
The guest house continued to operate throughout this renovation process, with suites simply closed one at a time as they were due to be updated. ‘Luckily the walls are so thick the noise did not carry!’ says Kerry.
Major renovations of the Ship Inn are now complete and the accommodation is open for business. The family is currently taking a well-earned break before tackling the property’s final stage – converting the old billiard rooms next door into a guest lounge with undercover courtyard gardens. Stay tuned!
Book your stay at Ship Inn Stanley here!