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A Landscape Architect’s 1800s Daylesford Dream Home Is On The Market

On The Market

If this dreamy property in Daylesford feels familiar, that’s because we featured it and its rambling, heavenly garden back in 2017. Owned by landscape architect Natasha Morgan, Oak + Monkey Puzzle is a truly unique property on the edge of the Moorabool Shire – thought to be first built sometime in the mid 1800s.

Unbelievably, it’s for sale! Its five acres include everything from landscaped gardens, to fruit orchards to a converted shipping container workshop used for parties and events. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime home. See what we mean below!

18th February, 2022

A homely, warm family residence! Photo – Emily Weaving.

It used to be a pub, general store, post office and sports ground before it was this characterful, gorgeous dwelling. Photo – Emily Weaving.

The current owner is award-winning landscape architect Natasha Morgan, who has created pockets and vistas of green beauty like the entry garden. Photo – Emily Weaving.

A sympathetic kitchen offers all the mod-cons. Photo – Emily Weaving.

And nods to its heritage character, like this cast iron wood stove. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Original timber panelling is intact on the walls. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Integrated shelving spans the study nook. Photo – Emily Weaving.

How beautiful are the hardwood herringbone floors?! Photo – Emily Weaving.

The bedroom doors open to bathe the room in sunlight. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Natural light creates perfect atmosphere at all hours of the day. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Dusk in the garden, which contains so many pockets both functional and ornamental. Photo – Emily Weaving.

The wrap-around verandah overlooking the surrounding garden. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Garden arbours made from branches. Photo – Emily Weaving.

A view of the house through the scultpural meadow at the front. The patch of concrete is the remnants of the old cricket ground! Photo – Emily Weaving.

Natasha transformed the garden from a bare horse grazing paddock to an abundant, interesting wonderland. Photo – Emily Weaving.

The stature is grand, and the garden is mighty at this property! Photo – Emily Weaving.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 18th February 2022

‘I designed the gardens to be inhabited, lived in and with, and enjoyed as they change and offer new experiences with every season.’ – Natasha Morgan

Before this gold rush era weatherboard was a beautiful family homestead, it was a pub, a post-office and a general store. Local history upholds that it was even a sports ground at one point; remnants of the cricket pitch can be detected around the garden!

But that was all before it was purchased by landscape architect Natasha Morgan and her family in 2013, after which they promptly turned it into a gorgeous family home dubbed ‘Oak + Monkey Puzzle’, after the centuries-old trees that remained on the property.

‘With its original timber lath and earthen walls (complete with finger prints of its 1800s builder) and exposed mortise and tenon timber construction in the early sections of the homestead, it is embedded with a rich sense of history,’ says Natasha.

Despite the glorious, one-of-a-kind nature of the building, the real hero here is the stunning garden. Natasha’s thumbprints (real and stylistic!) are all across the property, which has been transformed from a derelict, horse-trampled paddock into a veritable wonderland of veggie patches, ornamental flower beds and functional terraces.

‘I designed the gardens to be inhabited, lived in and with, and enjoyed as they change and offer new experiences with every season,’ says Natasha. Including a kitchen garden, berry terrace, picking garden, orchard, meadow space and birch forest, the garden is sprawling and intimate at once – offering different perspectives in every corner. Buried in its depths is a workshop and studio space made from a converted shipping container. And a chicken house to boot!

This brilliant home is the perfect combination of local history, architectural merit, breathtaking landscape and unique personality. Whoever snaps this incredible property up is one lucky new owner!

Expressions of interest for 1333 Ballan Daylesford Road Spargo Creek close at midday on March 25th via Belle Property Daylesford. See the full listing and book an inspection here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net