When Angeline and Richard O’Bryan purchased the Poets Lodge property in Daylesford, Victoria, they had ‘no plan, no surveys, and no pre-purchase inspection’… but it was love at first sight. ‘We knew from the moment we opened the front door,’ recalls Angeline. ‘It had so much to offer. So many features that make a house into a very special home.’
The property consisted of a very rundown house originally built in 1852, alongside a small cottage added in the 1920s. The main house hadn’t been touched in 20 years, so after relocating three families of possums squatting in the roof, the couple set out on completing a full restoration.
Angeline previously owned a boutique bed and breakfast in Bondi for 15 years, and Richard is a licensed builder, so while the couple had the expertise required, this project clearly wasn’t going to be without its challenges! ‘The first night we slept here, it started pouring with rain. We had 12 buckets and bowls sitting around the house under the many leaks!’ says Angeline. ‘Not even when the water was streaming down the walls of the internal hallway did we think we’d made a mistake.’
The vision for the main house was simply to strip the space back to its original features, to better showcase the bay windows, open fireplaces, high ceilings and timber panelling. ‘The use of plain colours and painted lining boards gave us the light we needed,’ says Angeline. ‘We wanted the interior to be as minimal as possible, whilst still retaining a country family home feel.’ Angeline’s styling brings together antiques, with Australian timber furniture and other locally made pieces. Favourites include the antique French iron bed from her family’s holiday house in France, a painting of Richard’s father, and the cast iron baths!
The small dwelling next door, now named ‘Old Jacks Cottage’ after the original owner, was also renovated with the intention of becoming holiday accommodation.
While works were underway, Richard decided to create a third building on the site, made entirely out of reclaimed materials. ‘We sourced materials from all over Victoria and in some cases, NSW,’ says Angeline. This takes time and when finding the right materials, we stockpiled as they became available. This property, named the ‘Garden Loft’, is so in keeping with the original elements of Poets Lodge, that guests often ask if it was formerly a stables or barn.
The three properties on Poets Lodge are available to be rented out individually or together, making it an ideal family weekend getaway spot or event space, just two minutes walk from town. Book here.