A Curated Getaway: The Estate Trentham
Photography by Marnie Hawson
Lynda Gardener has a gift for creating beautiful spaces. The interior designer, stylist and entrepreneur is known for her distinctive style, featuring a soft palette layered with rustic and modern touches, evident in her four boutique accommodation properties.
One of them is The Estate Trentham, a charming two-bedroom house located an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Set amongst 2,000m² of gardens and orchards, the grounds include a third room converted from an old potato pickers’ shed and The Barn, which has become a popular space for weddings, events and workshops. We caught up with Lynda to find out how she has made a stay at this country home feel like an intimate escape.
How did you find this gorgeous property?
I stumbled across it on a lazy Sunday while browsing the Internet and knew I had to see it immediately! In fact, I ended up buying it the same day I walked in the door – I just knew it was the right one instantly.
Tell us a bit about the renovation process.
The house was in a good condition but in dire need of a makeover, starting from the front door all the way to the rear of the property. It’s a Federation-style weatherboard house built in 1902 and I love the character and signs of age, so I preserved as many original features as possible, including the high ceilings, simple floorboards and pressed metal ceilings in the bathroom. A team of builders arrived on the day I settled and within 3 months the house was transformed. One of the highlights is the view – the house has windows all the way around which face into different aspects of the garden.
How would you describe the aesthetic of The Estate Trentham? What was your inspiration in styling it?
I love interiors that combine old and new, and this house is the perfect mix. I wanted to keep the original aesthetic of the house but update it with luxurious details such as one-off vintage finds, linen bedding and pure wool rugs. I’ve been a collector all my life, so my interiors always include some of my personal objects. In this house I added a lot of wonderful original oil paintings and a huge collection of vintage crockery in the kitchen.
The house is filled with layers, textures and muted autumnal tones throughout. There is also a little touch of Scandinavia with the skins and leather-plaited stools. It’s cosy and all you want to do is curl up on the wall-to-wall couch and read, chat or just take time out.
We love the feel of country properties. How do you make them feel cosy in cold weather?
Lighting creates a warm and welcoming ambience, especially when it can be dimmed right down. A fireplace also does wonders for creating a cosy, homely feel. Other than that, it’s all about texture and layers – plush feather-filled cushions, indulgently soft throw blankets, and a sumptuous wool rug for when you kick off your shoes.
Do you have a favourite room?
Oooh, the front bedroom as it faces onto the large front lawn and veranda has loads of character. I also love the lounge room as I just want to throw myself in front of the fireplace in winter!
The Estate Trentham has some beautiful outdoor spaces. What can guests expect to find on the grounds?
Herb gardens, fruit trees, a tea garden and a Mediterranean garden…our gardener is constantly working to create lots of ever-changing vegetables, year after year! All of our guests are encouraged to use the garden during their stay, whether it’s to sample some fruit, make a salad or brew some tea leaves.
How would you recommend we spend a weekend at The Estate Trentham? Do you have any favourite shops, eateries or sights in the area?
Du Fermier is a must, but you need to book 3 months in advance. Their chef, Annie Smithers, is very well-known and runs a rustic French-style kitchen with a daily menu fresh from her garden. Trentham General is a great cafe for breakfast, lunch or a homemade cake for afternoon tea. I also love The Green Store for sustainable goodies – they offer massages too!
Philip and Lea is a quaint boutique for picking up jars, pots and pans like no other, while Frankie and Mae is my go-to for hand selected curated clothing. We also now have our very own little pizzeria down a laneway off the main strip, and a handmade chocolate store just opened. For sightseeing, I love going for a walk – you can’t go past the Trentham Falls or the Domino Trail into the forest.
Do you have any advice for people who are preparing their house for guests?
Make sure it has all the comforts of home that you yourself would want when going away for the weekend, but also offer something special – I believe people are always looking to experience something unique or different to what they have at home. The Estate has lots of objects that I have hand-sourced, so I feel it adds something really unique to the experience of staying here.
Are there any decorative details for a guest bedroom that might be overlooked but can really enhance the experience?
Pure linen sheets – so very special!
Finally, we can’t help but ask – what’s your favourite Armadillo rug to have underfoot?
I love the Zulu rug for its tribal inspiration and of course my favourite monochromatic tones. It is incredibly soft under bare feet and has a very luxurious feel…but I could slip in a few more favourites as it’s hard to just choose one!