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Bucolic hills, an architectural timber cabin and 80 acres of tranquil farmland located in a secluded pocket of the Surf Coast Hinterland. How could it get better? Throw in the fact the award-winning country restaurant and organic farm Brae is 20 minutes away, Lorne only 30 minutes and I think we’ve got the perfect recipe for a country escape. Need I say more?

The Wensley | Meet The Makers

3 BEDROOMS | 2.5 BATHROOMS

Rates start from $550 per night 

Constructed from recycled Oregon and Ironbark, The Wensley has been inspired by the iconic Australian shed and American ski chalets. The home has been constructed completely of timber – timber walls, timber floors and timber ceilings. Not a scrap of plaster has gone into the making. The result – rustic yet wholesome country living. The rawness of strong materials such as timber, concrete and steel has been complemented and softened by textured materials and natural fabrics.  The Wensley is a 3 bedroom timber cabin that can accommodate up to 10 guests.

The retreat is the perfect spot for catching up with friends and family. The open plan design encourages socialising and takes advantage of the wonderful country scenery.

We chat with Fran Derham host and owner of this show stopping home.

So tell us a little bit about yourself

My name’s Fran Derham and I’m a Producer by day and hostess by night. My husband Mike who’s responsible for the overall vision and build of The Wensley is a builder turned developer.

Why did you decide on the Surf Coast hinterland?

I grew up holidaying in Barwon Heads and my husband grew up in Ballarat. The Wensley is between where our respective parents are based and it gives us a little bit of the bush (which Mike loves) and the beach (which I prefer).

What’s the inspiration behind The Wensley?

Mike had a fairly strong vision early on – wanting to create an Australian shed like house. As a teenager he spent a year in Boseman, Montana so the American timber ski chalets and barns he came across there proved to be strong sources of inspiration as well.

We also found two rural Australian homes that provided further detail to the creative vision: the Kempsey Farmhouse by Glenn Murcutt and The Hill Plain House by Wolveridge Architects.

The best creative projects though evolve through collaboration. We wouldn’t be where we are without our amazing partners. Byrne Architects helped shape and make the inspiration a reality. Nick Byrne is known for his striking clean lines and sculptural angles. We used his vision and gave it a rustic edge with all the recycled timber.

Lisa Buxton helped shape and mould our interiors. Having worked in New York she brought a fresh perspective – giving the interiors a soft yet elegant feel. Her sophisticated aesthetic juxtaposes the rustic feel of the house. Ultimately it elevates the look, creating a feel of casual luxury. We also benefited from the help of Tess Newman Morris – she’s a real seasoned stylist and added the icing on the cake. She has lots of practical experience setting up houses, knows what looks good and has a fabulous eye for the finishing touches which has given the place a one-of-a-kind feel.

I must also say Lisa Cohen takes a rocking photo – she’s got a keen eye for identifying the hidden sculptural elements of the home.

What do guests most enjoy about their stay?

It has to be the view and the peace and quiet I think – also just the house in general. The timber is very grounding.

What do you and the family love most about the space and location?

The house itself, the interiors and the view. But the reason we built the house there was because of the land. It’s a great little secluded pocket where we feel like we’re the only people around, even though we’re just 20 minutes from the beach.

If you could bring anyone on a trip to The Wensley, who would it be and why?

At the moment all I want to do is organise a big dinner party with my girlfriends – a group of my nearest and dearest. I’d also get Sarah Glover up from Tasmania to cater and some incredible sommelier to come and do the wines. 

The Wensley | Your Hosts Fran and Mike

Create your picture perfect Surf Coast hinterland escape. With 3 bedrooms and space for 10 guests it’s the ideal retreat for a rustic yet sophisticated country retreat.

The Wensley triggers so many memories of cosy winter evenings, balmy days and idyllic countryside living.

I think it’s time to create some new memories…

Home: The Wensley  | Click here for more information and to book

Photography: Lisa Cohen

Looking for more holiday home inspiration? Check out our latest Meet The Maker features here

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Brett Diedrich

Brett Diedrich

Prior to creating the Origins Guide Brett was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group where he worked across Europe and the Middle East. Originally from Australia Brett has lived in the USA, Denmark, Hong Kong and the UAE. These days you'll find Brett in Melbourne and regional Victoria shaping the Origins Guide and meeting hosts of unique homes. Brett enjoys spending time with his partner Johan, visiting friends and family (including his gorgeous niece Charlotte), exploring new destinations, places to stay and of course food.

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