A commitment to showcasing local artisan suppliers and building specialists, and establishing a sumptuous haven in the vineyards, was the focus in the creation of luxury guest house Blackwood at Pokolbin.
A sanctuary of indulgence for couples, it is the latest addition to The Woods’ stable of luxury accommodation, which includes Folly House and Chapel House, and was the vision of owner Anne Marie Cameron.
Approaching Shane Blue and Sarah Manners, from Newcastle firm Bourne Blue Architecture, Anne Marie’s brief was to “design a one-bedroom retreat with simple style and opulence”.
She wanted a modern approach that complemented the natural surroundings.
“We have much-treasured ironbarks on our property, many more than on surrounding properties,” Anne Marie said.
“We have always loved the deep black bark that protects these handsome trees.
“So my initial basic brief with Shane and Sarah was to create a house clad in the vertical boards and we would wash it in black.”
The striking Australian blackbutt wood has been used vertically with secret fixes, so there are no nails or holes.
As architect Shane reflected, there’s a sense of renewal and growth from the project, and you can’t help but notice “how well the house sits in the surrounding environment, appearing to be scorched as many trees are after a fire”.
With a fairly open brief, Shane took advantage of the natural setting in his stride. The property needed to be small, yet rooms should feel spacious; with deluxe appointments, but be self-contained with all the necessities.
Shane stretched his plan along the length of the dam, so that each room has views of the water. The living areas are featured at the approach side of the abode, while the bedroom is further away for privacy.
Anne Marie loved the design and felt “it was true to integrity” of Bourne Blue.
The build was completed by Summers Constructions, led by Marc Summers and his team, and took about seven months once the design was approved.
As well as for external use, blackbutt features throughout: from the purpose-built jetty where guests can relax and watch the colours change at sunset, to the plunge pool fencing and deck, and the interior flooring.
An array of local suppliers were approached to contribute to the build and interior design, with Anne Marie leading the styling of Blackwood. The results are a synergy of elegance and indulgence.
To enable guests to enjoy the bush aspect, large sliding windows run along the dam side of the house and were installed by Cardiff-based Langford Windows. Bench seats feature along each window.
The open living-dining-kitchen area has a cosy wood fire and marble mantel and accents of black to connect the central theme of the property.
Soft furnishings from Fetch, in Cessnock, and pendant lights and rugs from Pappa Sven, in Newcastle, add colour and comfort.
The lighting throughout the house was completed by Lear and Smith in Cessnock. They installed up-down LED lights to give a gentle warm glow to reach the pitched ceilings and the living areas and to save energy.
A practical kitchen runs along one wall and features rustic copper-capped tiles. The clean line cabinetry was designed and built by Branxton Joinery and whitegoods were supplied by the Good Guys in East Maitland.
There are Smeg appliances, Esserstone bench tops and a neat wine fridge.
At the other end of the house are the sleeping quarters, a comfy room with lush furnishings.
The wet bathroom with ceramic tiles from Cessnock Paint Place and Tile features a deep tub from which to take advantage of the serene aspect across the dam.
Twin burnished copper waterfall showerheads from Brodware are placed side by side and the bathroom, plus a separate toilet and powder room, is stocked with heavenly organic toiletries from Savant Apothecary based at The Junction.
“It was a couple of years in the making, but I love creating things,” Anne Marie said.
She has created a hideaway for grown-ups that is truly tranquil and a place for feeling spoilt.