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An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Stays

In the early 1990s, Melbourne architect Jim Commadeur designed and built his dream weekender: a handmade, open-plan ‘shack’ with a distinctive triple-peaked roof and a separate Japanese-style bathhouse.

Fleur and Mike Leslie fell in love with the home, going on to purchase the property and open it as the enchanting accommodation, Liptrap Loft, in 2006. 

Take a look inside this private, one-of-a-kind retreat in south-west Gippsland, Victoria!

22nd November, 2022

Liptrap Loft is an architect-designed accommodation in Walkerville, Victoria located in south west Gippsland, about 80 minutes from Melbourne. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Fleur and Mike Leslie fell in love with the home, going on to purchase the property and open it as the enchanting accommodation, Liptrap Loft, in 2006. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The rustic timber kitchen. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The main structure is an open-plan space beneath a soaring triple-peaked ceiling. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The main bed and wood fire heater. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The verandah has been enclosed to make a second bedroom. Photos – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Architect Jim Commadeur originally designed the house in the late 90s as his personal weekender. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The Japanese-inspired bathhouse. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The tiled bath is a former cattle trough that fits up to four people. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Recycled materials were used throughout the build. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Guests are offered complete privacy on the five acre block. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

The Japanese-inspired bathhouse is a completely separate structure, accessed from the main house via outdoor walkways. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 22nd November 2022

‘There’s an energy about the place that’s hard to put into words.’ – Fleur Leslie

In the words of accommodation owners Fleur and Mike Leslie, Liptrap Loft is really hard to describe. ‘It is like no other place we have been or seen. It’s somewhat of a paradox with a soft charm and a bold beauty,’ says Fleur. 

The couple came across the hybrid cabin/shack/house in Walkerville, Victoria (located in south west Gippsland, about 80 minutes from Melbourne) back in 2005—years after it was designed and built by hand by architect Jim Commadeur as his personal weekender.

‘Locals who got to know Jim describe him as a pedantic craftsman. They describe him as being vehemently passionate about this plot of land, the design, and each little step of build, which took years,’ says Fleur. 

The main structure is a rustic bedroom and kitchen beneath a soaring triple-peaked ceiling. ‘Almost everything is in one room, which is somehow calming and simple,’ says Fleur. ‘Jim took  ‘open-plan living’ to a new level with the kitchen, bed, lounge room, wood fire heater, and dining room all set in the same space.’

The Japanese-inspired bathhouse is a completely separate structure, accessed from the main house via outdoor walkways. Roll down screens allow the bathroom to be opened up, providing views from the shower and four-person bath with views across the surrounding land. 

Fleur and Mike purchased the property and opened it as the accommodation Liptrap Loft in 2006. ‘We were intoxicated by the one-of-a-kind feel of the place and the little details,’ says Fleur.

The couple have added to the property over the years by enclosing the verandah to make a second bedroom; tiling the bath (a former cattle trough); and adding a laundry and separate toilet. ‘We haven’t done a lot and tried to stick with Jim’s vision and keep the simplicity,’ says Fleur. 

Further renovations designed by Jeanine Gagnon in 2019 scaled the interiors back, allowing the tactility and unique qualities of the recycled materials speak for themselves. ‘She had a really clear vision for the place… She helped us tone down some distracting bright colours so that your eye now goes to the little authentic details like the incredible old school metal windows,’ says Fleur of Jeanine. 

These changes have all culminated in a calmer and more curated space encouraging ‘slow stays.’ 

When visiting Liptrap Loft, Fleur hopes people get in touch with nature as architect Jim Commadeur intended when designing the property. Guests can expect to hear the sound of the rain on the roof; sit underneath the stars; engage with wildlife; and explore nearby bush tracks all in complete privacy on the five acre block.

‘There’s an energy about the place that’s hard to put into words,’ says Fleur. 

Book your stay at Liptrap Loft

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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