Woolooma Glass House has sat atop Woolooma Mountain since 1973, remote and solitary on a volcanic basalt outcrop dusted by clouds. It offers the wild romance of a nature escape gently shaped into luxury accommodation perched at 4500 feet above sea level overlooking the limitless expanse of the upper Hunter Valley in N.S.W.
The property is owned by the White family, a prominent farming family that has lived in the region for over 180 years. Dr Judy White and her husband Michael purchased the western flank of the mountain in the early seventies as an act of conservation. Their goal was to prevent logging on the escarpment and protect a colony of lyrebirds while providing an extraordinary location for loved ones and environmentally-minded guests to stay.
Dr White commissioned Sydney architect John Suttor to design a building that respected the rugged topography. “John Suttor was also a fighter pilot, and he had a very strong vision when she first took him to the location,” says Phoebe White, Dr White’s granddaughter and the current custodian of Woolooma Glass House. “His first desire was to have a skillion roof that looked like it was soaring off the cliff, like a plane taking flight.” The home is clad in hand-placed basalt rock pulled directly from the parcel of land. “My grandmother wanted the outside of the house to be at one with the mountain,” Phoebe shares.
The construction process was not without its challenges - which you can imagine given its dramatic locale - but once completed, the property offered a private retreat for the large White family. “My grandmother also opened up the place occasionally to creative types,” Phoebe explains. “And then the baton was handed to my father, Peter White, who ran it successfully as accommodation and had people visit from all over the world. He has since passed it to me, so it’s an extra special intergenerational project.”
Phoebe feels Woolooma Glass House is the perfect stay for creatives seeking inspiration or anyone needing the deep restoration borne from time spent submerged in the purity of nature. “We want people to come up and totally disconnect from the world but reconnect with themselves and whatever they have going on,” she says. “The ultimate guest would be a writer, painter or musician, or anyone who can appreciate the house being so remote and inspirational.”
The atmosphere of the interiors, so elementally linked to the landscape, is organic and grounded. Phoebe, her father, and Phoebe's brother (a builder who owns Mable Projects) have sensitively updated the home within the last year. “We have been really committed to keeping the original structure and concept of the house, and it's been about improvements like a new roof and gas lines, updates to the kitchen and bathroom, and new flooring. As for the layout, we’ve kept everything as original as possible,” Phoebe explains.
The enriched curation of furniture and decor includes handprinted textiles, Australian-made furniture and layers of natural texture - think linen, soft fleece, tactile ceramics, and woven decor and storage baskets from The Dharma Door. “We’ve kept earthy, inviting tones in the home, so it feels stripped back and raw. It’s why we added, and love, The Dharma Door pieces,” Phoebe explains. The decor additions complement the home’s seventies spirit, at the heart of which is the sunken conversation pit wrapped around an old ship cauldron sourced by Dr White and repurposed as a gas firepit. The expansive windows in this cosy zone bring the resounding beauty of the distant valleys and peaks indoors. The outlook is sweetened by the daily appearance of majestic wedge-tail eagles soaring past the mountain, just out of arm's reach.
It’s moments like these that give Woolooma Glass House its luxurious air, offering a wealth of time and space and an exclusive connection to this stunning spread of Australian landscape. The property can only be accessed by a four-wheel drive handled by someone who knows the intricacies of the steep, rugged terrain. To ensure the safety of guests while also reducing the environmental impact of running the accommodation, Phoebe and her team chauffeur guests to the house in a Polaris ranger. She says it’s one of the most adventurous thirty-minute drives you will ever take. “You’ll see wildlife and really get the sense that you’ve left the city behind. Getting up to the house is a wild adventure, but once you are there, it’s very much about tranquility, peace, and reconnecting with yourself.”
Story written by Jessica Bellef
Images by Nicole Sevitt
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