Graham and Susan Rollin moved from Sydney to Orange in 1979 to raise their children in the country. Over four decades later, the Rollin family are excited to share the Central Tablelands region with guests via their newly-opened accommodation, Basalt.
Basalt is located about 10 minutes drive from central Orange on the neighbouring property to where Graham and Susan moved all those years ago. The former chemical engineer and midwife became orchardists, whose property now contains 12,000 cherry trees that thrive in the region’s rich volcanic soil.
Graham and Susan bought the land next door in 2007, initially to expand their cherry operations, until the idea of Basalt came about.
‘This was first and foremost a cherry orchard. Growing and exporting cherries was what mum and dad have done for decades,’ says Simon Rollin, Graham and Susan’s son who owns Basalt. ‘The thought of becoming accommodation hosts was quite daunting initially, however, Basalt has enabled us to diversify what we do and has given mum and dad a new love of what they do as they can now share this land with people from all walks of life.’
Simon engaged an experienced team — Cameron Anderson Architects and Lisa Johnson Design Studio — to design the accommodation made up of three self-contained studios. The design was driven by the site’s natural attributes: its rich soil and elevation 1100 metres above sea level overlooking Orange and the wider Central Tablelands.
‘With views like that, our vision was quite simple — make the most of it! This means enabling guests to be mesmerised by the views both day and night, no matter where they were in the studio,’ says Simon.
The foundation of the studios draws its inspiration from the cherry trees on site. Simon explains, ‘Inspired by the orcharding practice of grafting — where a scion is grafted onto a root stock to grow the cherry variety that we choose — our architect envisioned the Basalt studios “grafted” into the hillside overlooking the cherry orchard.’
The external walls are made up of rammed earth and sheet metal cladding that also appears to be grafted together.
‘Internally, the line of the rammed earth references the existing slope of the land so internally you have a strong affiliation with the natural landscape around you,’ says Simon.
It’s only when arriving at Basalt that the full extent of the property’s outlook is revealed. Timeless interiors frame these views at every opportunity, including from each studio’s bath featuring large windows that open directly to the outdoors.