Welcome to ‘Getaway With’. For this new series we’re taking you into beautiful spaces around the globe - from airbnb properties to resorts - to give you inspiration for your next getaway. In this post, we head to the Byron hinterland, where Katherine and Daniel Heapy have created a stunning mediterranean inspired home in Clunes, New South Wales, Australia.
After years of travelling the globe and living in the city, Katherine and Daniel Heapy got the urge for a tree-change, trading in city life for the coast and country. After an arduous search for the perfect property they eventually found a home with the right feel and bones to turn into their dream home. Inspired by their Mediterranean travels this home was completely gutted and redesigned to effortlessly blend the interior with the exterior and showcase a nature inspired palette. Daniel’s expertise was showcased throughout the renovation as he crafted many of the furniture and fit out pieces which made this home so unique.
Two Acres Home is located in Clunes, a gorgeous village about thirty minutes drive from Byron Bay in the enviable hinterland. Fast becoming one of the most desired places to live in the Northern Rivers, Clunes has a growing food scene thanks to its local General Store and nearby regional pubs and restaurants. A perfect location for travellers who want to explore the region without the hustle and bustle of Byron Bay.
We caught up with Katherine and Daniel after a recent photoshoot in their home and talked about their gorgeous AirBNB and the design choices behind making such a unique and memorable space.
Before we get into the gorgeous Two Acres Home, tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
My husband Daniel and I moved from Sydney 5 years ago to pursue our dream of living a more creative lifestyle in the Byron Hinterland. When we were living in Sydney, I was fortunate enough to work at Qantas for 11 years which gave us the opportunity to travel quite extensively around the world. On our trips away we were always so inspired by the diverse destinations we visited, the beautiful architecture and the warm hospitality we received. Daniel is a carpenter by trade and would make furniture for friends and family in his spare time. We decided to pursue our dream of starting a furniture/homewares company and move away from the busy city life. We knew we wanted to find a space that would allow us to create our own sanctuary and as we love to travel, we knew it would also be a space that we would be sharing with other travellers. When we first moved to the Byron area, I worked for a luxury holiday rental company for a couple of years as a property manager which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a great opportunity to learn the skills needed to run my own Airbnb. Covid has temporarily brought us to Brisbane for work, I now run the Airbnb full time and drive down between every booking to help with the cleans and welcome guests on arrival. I am currently studying Interior design part time and we have just begun another renovation project here in Brisbane which we are very excited to share soon!
What made you choose Clunes in the Hinterland of Byron Bay as the perfect spot for Two Acres?
When we initially decided to move to the Byron area, we knew we wanted to find a property with space and a place we could renovate and redesign into our dream home. We began our search in the Hinterland looking no further than Bangalow. After 9 months flying back and forth from Sydney we were starting to wonder if we would ever find the right place. After speaking to a friend who suggested we look further out towards Nashua and Clunes we broadened our search and stumbled across Two Acres Home! It was the first property I inspected and from the moment I drove through the beautiful village of Clunes to the house my heart instantly knew we had found the perfect place. The property was by far the biggest space we had seen, and the home was a perfect size. Clunes is such a wonderful place to live, we are very lucky to be surrounded by lovely neighbours and beautiful outlook and the convenience of having the Clunes store and café just a short stroll away.
The Kariba Cone Pendant featuring in the master bedroom.
When did you begin renovations of the property and what was your vision?
We began renovating the property in July 2018. Designing this home had been a dream of ours for years and the result is a culmination of our time seeking and exploring around the world. The property already had great bones, when we purchased it had more of a Balinese feel and outlook to it with some of those wild early 90’s ”Byron” features like square glass bricks and blue and pink bathrooms! We gutted the entire property and re-designed the entire house starting with just the structure of the home. We love to cook and entertain so a big part of the design process was to create large areas for our friends and families to gather around. A large entertainer’s kitchen was a must, so we knocked out the existing wall and opened the space up connecting the living, dining and kitchen areas. A breakfast window and a 3 panelled sliding door seamlessly connect the indoors with the out. We knew we wanted to create an earthy, calming space that felt like you were somewhere tropical on a retreat. We wanted to use as much natural resources and materials as possible to ground the space. Our vision was a blend of modern Mediterranean and tropical minimalism, places of inspiration were the modern interiors of the Greek islands, Spanish fincas, Tulum and retreats in Ubud and Thailand.
Daniel is an incredible furniture maker, what pieces has he crafted and how did that vision work into the overall design of the spaces?
Daniel is an incredible furniture maker and carpenter; he is also the hardest working person I have ever come across. Most of the pieces in the home were crafted by him such as the dining, coffee, side and outdoor tables, the console pieces, the timber bed ends, and the incredible two front entry gates made from timber and steel. We would often sit down together for hours with a glass of wine in hand and brainstorm custom designs and pieces for the home. Everything in the home including the large kitchen island, inbuilt bathroom vanities, wardrobes, wall niches and outdoor areas such as the alfresco dining, cabana and fire pit were designed and built to specifically work in harmony with the overall outlook of the home.
What were some of the biggest challenges in renovating the home?
In the beginning some of the biggest challenges we had were finding the right trades people as we were new to the area, we were originally going to tile the second bathroom floor, but we were unable to find anyone available for 4 months. We ended up rendering the floor as well as the walls in that bathroom which was a benefit in the end. Once we moved to the outside, we underestimated the extent of the landscaping we were about to undertake, especially since neither of us had any prior knowledge or skills in this area. It was challenging to begin with, and we were stuck in a rut for a few months and left it undone, we ended up contacting a landscaper to come out for a few hours to point us in the right direction and were able to move forward from there. In the end it became one of my favourite aspects of the renovation, I have certainly found my green thumb and love to be out in the gardens. There’s still so much we want to add to the outdoor space, such as a treehouse and outdoor bath to name a few so it’s still a work in progress!
The home has a rich and modern interpretation of Mediterranean living, how did you get that mix right?
Both of my parents were born in Greece, so growing up I was heavily influenced by the Mediterranean lifestyle. I spent a year living in Europe when I was 21 and spent 4 months living and travelling through the Greek Islands which was a great source of inspiration for me. The year before we started renovating, Daniel and I travelled through Greece again and were inspired by the modern architecture and interiors. I spent hours sourcing through articles and collecting as many images as I could to bring our vision to life.
Your home mixes a variety of natural finishes and gorgeous textures, why did you go down this route in the design process?
Our concept was a minimal, natural aesthetic with pared backed luxury. We wanted it to feel grounding, calming and blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings. We love to use as much natural, reclaimed materials as possible. There's so much warmth in these materials, it’s almost like they have an old story to tell. On one of our trips, we spent a few weeks travelling on the Trans-siberian railway, the journey took us from Moscow through Siberia, Mongolia and down through China to Beijing. We travelled around China for a few more weeks and were inspired by the ancient architecture of the homes which is mainly made of timberwork. Wooden posts, beams, lintels and joists make up the framework of a house as well as beautiful antique pots and paintings. The home is always based around a courtyard which is something we wanted to incorporate at Two Acres Home. You can feel the rich history when walking through these beautiful old homes and the calm energy the materials bring. Another major source of our design process was the Wabi Sabi philosophy. Wabi-sabi is a concept that motions us to constantly search for the beauty in imperfection and accept the more natural cycle of life. It reminds us that all things, including us and life itself, are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. It encourages a more connected way of living, where we are more connected to nature, and thus, better connected to ourselves.
What is your favourite space in the home and why?
My favourite space of the home changes all the time. In summer I love to be out by the pool and cabana looking out to the lush rainforest. In winter I could spend my days relaxing in front of the fire with a book and a glass of wine. I've never really enjoyed the cold all that much but since moving here I have found the winters very enjoyable. There’s just something serene when you are in front of the fire, the high A-frame ceilings make you feel like you are in a cosy cabin in the woods. Lately I find my favourite space to be sitting on the back deck looking out to the pool and gardens, I find clarity and calmness in this space.
For guests that visit Two Acres Home, what are some of your recommendations of must visits?
We really are spoiled for choice living in this beautiful part of Australia. The Northern Rivers has so much to offer, and we love sharing our favourite places with our guests. Some of our go to dining places are: Beach Restaurant at Clarkes Beach, it has the most spectacular view looking out to the ocean and the food is always incredible. We also highly recommend Harvest, Light Years, Bang Bang, Three Blue Ducks at the Farm, Fleet in Brunswick, Doma in Federal and the newly renovated café in Clunes. Karen and Brian have done a wonderful job of extending the café and bringing a new exciting foodie scene to the area.
I love to shop for homewares, there are so many places to choose from but some of our must visit shops are Island Luxe, Havali, The Habitat precinct where you can find some our favourite Dharma Door pieces, The Beach People, Shackpalace rituals, Hope and May, Marr-Kett, Bodhi living and Newrybar Merchants, just to name a few!
Lahari Runner in Bone graces the floor leading to the other guest bedrooms at Two Acres.
What do guests love the most about staying in your home?
Our main intention when designing the home was to create a home that felt like a place you could retreat in and communal spaces that connect family and friends together.
Most of our guests tell us that it feels like a home away from home, a place that feels like a tropical destination far away. We are always happy to hear them say they had planned to go out and about but ended up spending the majority of their time at the home together and left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
You can book your stay at Two Acres by clicking here to explore availability on AirBNB.
Hemp Body Scrubber is perfect basin side for easy cleansing in the morning and evenings.
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