This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Spectacular Barn In Victoria’s High Country Named Airbnb’s Best Designed Stay

How I Host

Victoria is filled with unique getaways that offer a much-needed retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Coombs Hill Barn, nestled on 100 acres of farming land in Victoria’s High Country, is one of the best!

In fact, the luxury private home recently won the title of Best Designed Stay at the 2022 Airbnb Host Awards – and it’s easy to see why. The incredible property is actually a 160-year-old American barn that was imported from the USA and lovingly transformed into a striking architectural escape overlooking Mt Buller.

Superhosts Katherine and Wade Harris explain how the special holiday home came to be, and share their top tips for hosting a property with Airbnb.

18th October, 2022

The stunning Coombs Hill Barn is located on a working farm in Merrijig, which is less than three hours’ drive from Melbourne. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Superhost Katherine Harris runs the property with her husband, Wade, who is also a builder. Photo – Courtesy Airbnb

The holiday home is like a breath of fresh air! Photo – Marnie Hawson

A look inside the expansive living and dining room. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The ‘Great Room’ features an amazing 12-meter high fireplace. Each piece of stone was collected off the surrounding land of the property, before being hand laid over 18 long months! Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘Another feature that we love and always get comments on are the custom steel framed floor to ceiling windows,’ Katherine says. Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘The intention of the property was to be our family holiday home but we are also so happy that other families can now enjoy Coombs Hill and create special memories of their own,’ Katherine adds. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Having worked in the hotel, accomodation and real estate industries, Katherine has thoughtfully styled the home with her guests comfort in mind. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The property can host up to 10 guests! Photo – Courtesy Airbnb

A look into the contemporary kitchen. Photo – Marnie Hawson

A luxurious bathtub! Photo – Marnie Hawson

The restored barn features five bedrooms inside. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The property’s unique design paired with its incredible landscape have won Coombs Hill Barn the title of Best Designed Stay at the  2022 Airbnb Host Awards! Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘The views over the Delatite Valley from Coombs Hill are unparalleled,’ Katherine says. ‘We all love the remoteness of the property but also the fact that we are only a 15 minute drive into the township of Mansfield. It’s the best of both worlds.’ Photo – Marnie Hawson

Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 18th October 2022

‘We felt like the property sitting empty was such a shame and we wanted other families to be able to visit, enjoy the space and create their own memories’ – Superhost Katherine Harris

Even though Coombs Hill Barn has only been open for bookings on Airbnb since 2021, the story behind the award-winning accommodation goes way back.

Superhost Katherine Harris says the converted barn stands on 100 acres of farming land, which has been in her husband Wade’s family for 15 years. In 2017 Wade’s father, inspired by his travels to America, purchased and imported an authentic barn all the way from Indiana, USA!

‘He wanted to recycle the structure that was going to be pulled down, and turn it into a unique home,’ Katherine says. ‘It was important to us to give this barn a new life to be enjoyed by many for another 160 years.’

‘The process took over three years, from dismantling the barn in America and shipping it over to Australia, to the rebuild on our family property in Victoria’s High Country. Once Terry had completed the build, he passed the reigns over to Wade and myself to furnish and style the property.’

With Katherine’s knowledge from her career in the hotel and accomodation industries, and Wade’s skills as a builder, the duo enhanced the five-bedroom property’s rustic beauty without the help of an interior designer. They created an interior palette that reflected the barn’s raw timber beams, mixed with the natural colours of the surrounding landscape.

Although the property was originally built to be a private holiday home for their family, Katherine says living in Melbourne meant they couldn’t get to it as often as they liked – prompting them to list the home on Airbnb.

‘We felt like the property sitting empty was such a shame and we wanted other families to be able to visit, enjoy the space and create their own memories,’ she adds. And it didn’t take long for them to start getting ‘incredible feedback’.

‘They adore the views from every room and almost all guests want to know about the history of the property, and how it was dismantled and shipped across the world to be given a new life in Australia.’

Katherine’s Top Tips For Hosting the Ultimate Airbnb listing

– My number one tip for a listing would be to let your design choices tell a story. We believe that guests love to stay in places with a special story to be told. Try to mimic the colours and feel of your surrounds and choose pieces unique to your region. This can be true for city properties as well as remote properties.

– Ensuring your listing has high quality photography is so important. This paired with an accurate and detailed description will help really capture the story of your property.

– Invest in good quality and beautiful pieces. Dressing our property with good quality furniture and styling pieces including lovely soft linens gives our guests a luxurious and calming holiday experience. And ultimately, beautifully styled properties attract more guests!

Click here to discover our 8 simple tips for setting-up and hosting your own Airbnb listing! Or, visit Airbnb for extra hosting tips!

This Week

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Food

Julia's Miso Eggplant Rice Bowls

Quick, tasty and oh-so-healthy (and vegan!) - Julia Busuttil Nishimura's sticky and sweet miso eggplant bowl will be your new go-to dinner!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Charming Victorian Cottage, Reorientated + Optimised For Decades To Come

Pipkorn Kilpatrick goes back to basics to enhance the interior and natural light of this Victorian cottage.

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Similar Stories

Stays

Book Your Stay In This Architectural Home On 25 Acres In Kangaroo Valley

New accommodation The Sticks has been dubbed ‘Kangaroo Valley’s most spectacular home.' Book a holiday at this luxurious property!

Stays

A Wabi-Sabi Inspired Stay In Tasmania, Created By A Renovating Power Couple

Tasmania's newest accomodation, Sabi, is a beautifully rugged space inspired by wabi-sabi principles located on the Bay of Fires.

How I Host

8 Simple Tips On How To Set-Up + Host An Airbnb

We’ve compiled the basics to start your hosting journey, along with excellent advice from award-winning local hosts!

This Week

Interiors

A Charming Victorian Cottage, Reorientated + Optimised For Decades To Come

Pipkorn Kilpatrick goes back to basics to enhance the interior and natural light of this Victorian cottage.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Food

Julia's Miso Eggplant Rice Bowls

Quick, tasty and oh-so-healthy (and vegan!) - Julia Busuttil Nishimura's sticky and sweet miso eggplant bowl will be your new go-to dinner!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Similar Stories

Stays

Book Your Stay In This Architectural Home On 25 Acres In Kangaroo Valley

New accommodation The Sticks has been dubbed ‘Kangaroo Valley’s most spectacular home.' Book a holiday at this luxurious property!

Stays

A Wabi-Sabi Inspired Stay In Tasmania, Created By A Renovating Power Couple

Tasmania's newest accomodation, Sabi, is a beautifully rugged space inspired by wabi-sabi principles.

How I Host

8 Simple Tips On How To Set-Up + Host An Airbnb

We’ve compiled the basics to start your hosting journey, along with excellent advice from award-winning local hosts!

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