Carl’s Hut is in Yellingbo, only an hour’s drive from Melbourne in the foothills of the Yarra Valley. Set amongst nature reserves, grazing land and within boutique vineyard, Solitude Estate, the one-bedroom accommodation feels like a tranquil sanctuary immersed in nature – with only kangaroo, birds, and wombats as the occasional visitors!
Interior designer Susan To first fell in love with the cabin when her now-husband Greg Kerr took her to his family’s vineyard for a twilight dinner date. ‘I knew this would be an amazing place to share,’ Susan says.
‘Preserving the natural character of the hut was key to the design process, but why couldn’t we make the interior super-cosy and luxurious, a place where guests could cook a lovely meal, light a fire, and enjoy a glass of estate wine while looking over the nearby mountains?’
Greg’s family first purchased the property in the 1970s when it was in a dilapidated condition. The original Carl’s Hut was constructed in about 1945, pairing local stringybark logs with a corrugated tin roofing, but in the ’90s the owners updated it, replicating the same look and feel as the original cabin, with the addition of a wine tasting and entertaining room and a large fireplace.
So in 2019, when Greg and Susan took over Solitude Estate, they embarked on an additional restoration and renovation that turned the rustic retreat into the idyllic eco-cabin it is today.
The couple engaged local builder Justin Watson and his team of skilled labourers for the 10-month transformation, bringing in lime walls and slab-heated polished concrete floors for a modern look while retaining the cabin’s existing exposed logs, which came from the surrounding farmlands.
‘The hut was always about subtle natural textures and understatement. We wanted to work with the intrinsic beauty of the surrounding environment, and let it shine; not distracting or flashy, but still a bit special,’ Susan explains.
She says guests often explore the region’s wineries and restaurants, go bushwalking, simply recharge and relax amid the towering trees, or watch the sunset while enjoying the natural warmth from an outdoor fire pit.
‘It is hard to imagine few better places to offer a gold class seat to view the four seasons as they unfold in the Yarra Valley!’