The Main House is one of the oldest houses in the town of Daylesford, it was originally built as a miners cottage in 1852 utilizing the vernacular architectural style of 3 gable roofs joined together to form a house, each of the 3 sections serving a particular use, this type of Architecture is classified as Colonial.
Typical of the time, a separate building was constructed for the purpose of cooking and dining, separate because the kitchen area was more prone to fire, therefore if that building caught fire (with only pales of water to put it out) the kitchen building might be lost without destroying the whole house.
In the 1920’s with the gold rush well passed, Hepburn spa had become very popular for weekend visitors from Melbourne and surrounding districts. With a strong demand for accommodation the large cottage was converted into a 6 bedroom guest house. A connecting passage with elaborate roof lantern window was constructed to link The Main House with dining and lounge in addition to external toilets and washing areas.
Around the same time, Old Jacks Cottage was built for the owners to reside, away from paying guests.
The rear kitchen was added in the late 1930’s. In 1994, the house was modernised again, including the addition of an Edwardian bay window to master bedroom.
The house was purchased by its current owners in 2016, in poor repair, with overgrown garden the first task was to carefully restore The Main House, to its original 1850’s Colonial classification with modern twist. Everything reproduction including gas fires and mantelpieces were removed, old chimneys repaired with grates, dampers and cowls, as required modern appliances were introduced these included installation of hydronic heating and instantaneous hot water systems. For architectural enthusiasts, the existing Colonial windows even predate counter weight early Victorian windows. During restoration panes and frames were purchased from or donated by local farmers, the rest recreated by hand using recycled timbers.
Old Jacks Cottage was built in the 1920’s, by a former owner of Poets Lodge. We have been advised (ref Kath Kepple) that Jack enjoyed his own space separated from the hustle and bustle of an active guest house. Remembered for his story telling and quiet gentle nature he used to hang his hat outside his front door, advising everyone “if you see my hat, that’s where I’m at”. Whilst restoring the cottage, we removed 100’s of empty beer bottles which we found placed inside the walls and under the floor of the old cottage. Barrow after barrow were taken and replaced with modern insulation. The discovery of the bottles is strange because we were also advised that Old Jack was a teetotaller.
We took great pleasure in the restoration of Old Jacks former lodgings, whatever was there we carefully restored and repositioned as necessary, whatever was added we did with Jack in mind, from the reaction of Kath Kepple we feel confident that Jack would be very pleased as well.
The Garden Loft is a newly built structure, constructed almost entirely from recycled materials. Our design actually started with the spiral stair which formally provided access to the viewing gallery of a private squash court. Impressed by the stairs graceful curve, it had been so carefully designed and constructed we just needed to find a special project to make use of it.
In the end, a mathematical jigsaw, combined with the challenge of blending the contemporary elegance of the stair into a historic setting. The Loft ceiling is pitched at 45 degrees only to ensure sufficient head height stepping from the stair onto the mezzanine. The stair positioning also required to serve as access to upper level books in the library.
To the west of Poets Lodge is a late 1800’s hotel, surrounding that hotel are old stables and out buildings, (these are the rusted roofs to the west of Poets Lodge) as was common in the day, the external walls of those outbuildings formed the dividing fence between adjoining properties. For adjoining owners the weathered buildings form the backdrop of their gardens instead of fences. We approached the council to do the same with our new structures, working hand in hand with neighbours, building surveyors, fire engineers and town planners the new buildings were accepted as fences.