Home Life Series

Inside The Wensley - a bespoke architectural haven in the surf coast hinterland

This week's Home Life Series invites you to indulge in pure luxury and cosiness, as we unveil a bespoke architectural masterpiece nestled in the serene surf coast hinterland — The Wensley. 

Set high on the rolling hills of 80 acres, in a secluded but central pocket of Wensleydale, this bespoke accommodation is the slice of heaven (and autumn escape) you’ve been looking for. Boasting an indoor AND outdoor bathtub, roaring fireplace, rolling hinterland views and an entirely recycled timber exterior, everything about the Wensley will leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed and recharged. 

So pack your bags, grab your book and run a hot bath! You and a special someone could WIN a two night stay at The Wensley, plus a suitcase full of goodies from the new Kip&Co collection, Toasty. Keep reading to find out how.

Hi Fran, we’re so excited to see our new Autumn/Winter collection styled in your boutique accommodation, The Wensley! First up, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? 

I’m a producer by day and an Airbnb hostess by night. I produce TVC’s, documentaries and most recently scripted drama! At the moment I’m in pre pre production for a web series and developing a few show concepts to take to market.

Take us back to the beginning, how did The Wensley come about and how did you find this slice of heaven? 

My husband, Mike, scrolls realestate.com instead of instagram. And on a blowy October Saturday he went for a drive while I was on bridesmaids duties for a girlfriend’s wedding. Nek minnut we own 80 acres in this secluded and almost secret pocket of the Surf Coast Hinterland called Wensleydale. In 2013 he proposed to me there on a cow track in the pouring rain and then we built the house there in 2017.

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You and your husband worked closely with the architect to ensure the home really embraced the Australian countryside, bringing the beautiful outdoors in. Talk us through the design brief and what elements you wanted to incorporate on the property? 

Initially Michaels vision was to create an Australian shed like house - inspired by the Glen Murcutt Kempsey Farm House - along with the Plain Hill House. 

As a teenager he spent a year in Boseman, Montana so he has also been inspired by the American ski chalets and Barns he came across over there. And when he salvaged recycled oregon from demolition jobs in the city we took the opportunity to use them in the house. Initially I wanted to paint all the timber white, thank god we didn’t …!! My touch is the understated luxury; everything you need in the right place.

Our latest collection, Toasty, is anchored by warm winter tones of marmalade, ochre, ruby and lilac, all of which seem to fit in seamlessly at The Wensley. How would you describe the styling of The Wensley and what about it makes the space feel cosy and inviting for winter getaways?

Timber lies at the heart of all: we have worked hard to keep clutter at bay, instead wanting the materials and architecture to inform the space. Unlike a lot of peoples homes everything here has a place and purpose and when you enter you immediately relax because of this - and the fact that it’s constructed out of natural materials. This is the perfect space to read a book and disconnect from everyday life, have a bath or light the fire pit and toast a marshmallow while watching the moon rise.

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What would be your top tip you’d recommend to someone who is wanting to start a luxury Airbnb? 

If it’s not good enough for you, it’s not good enough for everyone else.

Describe your perfect winter’s day at The Wensley? 

Make a coffee at sunrise, take it back to bed and read a book. Get up and go for a walk around the property. Have a shower and then prep a late lunch for some friends, have a few wines and then go to bed. 

Given one lucky person may win the chance to stay at The Wensley (details on how to win here!), can you give us your top 3 favourite things to do around the Wensleydale area? 

1. Drive down and have a dip at Point Road Knight (yes even in winter … man up and get Wim Hoffing) of if it’s warm and low tide explore the rock pools with your children 

2. Pick up a coffee and some Canneloni from Tony at Laneaway 73 in Anglesea or if it’s drink a clock head to Last One Inn and see Jorge for one of the best Margarita’s on the coast 

3. Reach out to Sam Goodwin and see if he’s free to cook you dinner at The Wensley 

You can also see my list of walks and activities here - https://www.thewensley.com/see-do