THE WHITE HOUSE, DAYLESFORD
A short drive west from Melbourne to a leafy street in spa country lies a hidden abode that is The White House. Nestled behind wild hedges, passing through a latched gate, you get the feeling you're stepping in to a classic novel. One created by decorator and design maven, Lynda Gardener.
Formerly a miners cottage, The White House has been revamped in to a delicately balanced installation of vintage collectables that also doubles as a vacation rental for the design enthusiast.
The house has two bedrooms, each with their own personality. Bed linens in bright prints are sourced meticulously and are layered with wool blankets and mountains of pillows. Large windows with shutters let in an abundance of light, slightly dappled from the outside Holly trees and industrial style lamps hang low from the high ceilings illuminating the artfully placed books and flowers. It all whispers "stay a little longer".
The Garden Room, separate from the house, is a studio with it's own bathroom. Tucked away in The White House's lush garden, it is a tranquil oasis for a pair of lovebirds. It's white-on-white feel is less dramatic compared to rest of The White House's deep moody tone, but it still retains Lynda's signature eclectic aesthetic with pops of yellow and pre-loved accoutrements.
The kitchen is the soul of the house and allows the most inept cook to flourish. A blackboard splash-back is jotted with recipes for inspiration and the bench-top is laden with cookbooks from some of Australia's best chefs. The pantry and fridge, discreetly hidden by a wooden door, is stocked with olive oil, spreads and basic essentials. Locally made sourdough, muesli, milk, eggs and oranges (for juicing) are provided fresh for guests and thickly sliced bread, lathered with butter and jam hits the spot on a lazy afternoon in the country.
Flowing on from the kitchen is an open lounge and dining area that sits beneath a slanted roof. Medical style lamps accent sunken lounges and chairs that surround a grand fireplace. It's here that you really see Lynda's ability to take something that would soon be RIP and turn it in to something special. Vintage fans, typewriters and armoires are given a fresh breath of life, whilst styled perfectly next to books, greenery and statement furniture.
Striped blue and white deck chairs face a groomed lawn in the backyard. It's a well maintained area that could play host to an upscale BBQ or party. As the sun goes down, light shimmers through overgrown trees and lanterns glow with tea candles. It's a gorgeous ambiance.
Perhaps the pièce de résistance is the central bathroom. Retaining the cottage's original walls, a clawed bathtub sits proudly in the middle of the room. An opulent chandelier hangs over head and you feel completely OTT bathing in what feels like a crumbling historic mansion.
Sinking in to a masculine leather club chair in the library, The White House transcends the holiday experience in to something much more theatrical. The hand painted floor-to-ceiling wallpaper of bookshelves runs to the corner where it trompe l'oeil's in to shelves full of Penguin classics. It's tempting to grab a Shakespeare and start reciting it out loud.
A short stroll down the road from The White House and you're in the heart of Daylesford. Cafes, produce makers and upscale eateries - there's no shortage of options for foodies. Topped off with a massage at a nearby spa and it's safe to assume you're going to want to extend your stay.
FEEL: Lemony Snicket's country cottage.
ROOM PICK: The house is yours, but you can choose to book one, two or all three rooms.
WIFI: None and the 4G/3G coverage is patchy is Daylesford. Prepare to switch off.
RATES: Weekday rates for one room start at $390 AUD p/n.
IN ROOM: Towels, bath soap, shampoo, conditioner all provided.
MINI BAR: Included is fresh jam, butter, eggs, bread, oranges and a pantry of basics.
GETTING THERE: Daylesford is a 45 minute drive from Melbourne.
I stayed courtesy of The White House.