Blackwood Rest | Re-imagine the perfect bush cottage

HEARTH AND HOME: The exquisitely crafted chimney alone took three months to complete. Photo: Adam Gibson
HEARTH AND HOME: The exquisitely crafted chimney alone took three months to complete. Photo: Adam Gibson

It's not often an architect gets to revisit a finished project and update it.

But for Melonie Bayl-Smith, of Bijl Architecture, that's exactly what happened at Blackwood Rest, a tranquil hideaway in the Tasmanain bush.

Originally completed in 2003, the home had weathered a once-in-a-100-year storm, but in 2016 a freak flood incident damaged the home.

Its structural integrity remained, but interiors were damaged.

"When we were invited back to restore the cottage, we found it sitting beside a picturesque new dam installed by the owner," said Melonie.

RURAL ROMANCE: The building glows like a lantern over the lake at night. Photo: Adam Gibson

RURAL ROMANCE: The building glows like a lantern over the lake at night. Photo: Adam Gibson

"This new outlook gave us the opportunity to rethink the internal layout to make the most of the water views, while shoring up the home against any future, if unlikely, flooding."

Wet areas have now been relocated to make way for a larger bedroom, and the entry takes up less space, extending the living area for fireside dining.

Robust new external-grade render was applied to the internal walls, too.

And more windows expand views over the rural vista - the cottage glows like a lantern by the lake after dark.

For city clients escaping to the bush of Tasmania each summer, Blackwood Rest is a glorious place to drop out.

Originally envisaged as a modest summer sanctuary, Blackwood Rest is less a holiday house for entertaining, and more a remote refuge from busy city life.

Originally envisaged as a modest summer sanctuary, Blackwood Rest is less a holiday house for entertaining, and more a remote refuge from busy city life.

The client's brief was for a simple cottage in the woods, nestled above a creek.

"Though we agreed this would not be the typical Aussie shack, we argued for a more modern interpretation of 'cottage'", said Melonie.

The result is both cosy and aesthetically pleasing.

In strong gabled gestures, ridge beams rise to meet large format windows, and clerestory openings capture treetops and sky.

In strong gabled gestures, ridge beams rise to meet large format windows, and clerestory openings capture treetops and sky. Photo: Adam Gibson

In strong gabled gestures, ridge beams rise to meet large format windows, and clerestory openings capture treetops and sky. Photo: Adam Gibson

Working with a local builder and stonemason, the owner made the plans his own to deliver a faithful interpretation of our one bedroom, one bathroom, plus mezzanine scheme.

The building is a nod to the site's surrounding forest with locally obtained and milled wattle (ceiling) and macrocarpa (floors).

Blade walls anchor the timber, the stone sourced from the back paddock of a nearby farm.

The exquisitely crafted chimney alone took three months to complete.

The result is a sanctuary that seems to grow out of the environment, at one with it in materials and history, and sympathetic to its lush Tasmanian bush setting.

The building is a nod to the site's surrounding forest with locally obtained and milled wattle (ceiling) and macrocarpa (floors). Photo: Adam Gibson

The building is a nod to the site's surrounding forest with locally obtained and milled wattle (ceiling) and macrocarpa (floors). Photo: Adam Gibson

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