Stay: Casa Warrandyte Bush Retreat

If you’ve ever been to A Little Company—the boutique beauty clinic with outposts in Melbourne and Byron Bay—you’ll be familiar with the low key aesthetic and sense of hospitality fostered by founder Stacey Burt and her staff. Walking into either of the light-filled and calming spaces, you instantly feel welcomed and relaxed, and know you’re in for much more than a transactional treatment. Receiving a personalised facial while wrapped snugly in flax linen bedding, the stresses and worries of everyday life are suspended in time for that magical hour-or-so window.

There’s a similar sense of escapism driving down the dirt road to Casa Warrandyte, the property owned by Burt and her partner Kenny Pomare. Before being listed on Airbnb, they lived in the mudbrick house with their daughter. Staying there as a guest, you can tell it was previously a family home—in a good way. An eclectic collection of ceramics in the kitchen, indoor plants placed throughout rooms, African mud clothes from Pan After, cushions from Pop & Scott, and stacks of coffee table books offer a comfy, lived-in feel. An unconventional sheep statue in the bright living space is a playful nod to the couples’ Kiwi roots.

After moving to Melbourne from NZ, Burt and Pomare were immediately drawn to the community feel of Warrandyte. Just a half hour drive from the city, the town is characterised by its bohemian vibe, artist colony of painters and potters, and verdant bushland setting. After some research, they came across the three-bedroom house and aside from a few minor changes—adding in four large skylights and terrazzo tiling—kept the residence as was.

Rich with history, the property was part of an alternative school that was in operation in the 1940s (you might notice the school tennis court in the neighbours backyard). In the early ‘60s a fire destroyed the original building on the property and it was rebuilt a decade later when architect Alistair Knox designed a modest two-bedroom mudbrick cabin. New owners added an additional bedroom, light-filled living space, and a separate artist’s studio (great for morning yoga) in the late ‘90s.

Highlights include the Isamu Noguchi Akari light sculpture that hangs over the dining table, the outdoor bath (extra special if it’s also raining), and, most importantly, the location. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase luscious, sprawling greenery and bird sound provides a soothing soundtrack. Go down the garden path and walk for just a few minutes and you’ll find a secluded swimming spot in the Yarra. Much like a really good facial, after staying at Casa Warrandyte you feel nourished and alive.

You can book a stay at Casa Warrandyte here and follow them on Instagram. Photography and words by Really Well.

Cheat Sheet

  • Distance from Melbourne CBD: 24km
  • Pets allowed: Yes, upon request
  • Internet: Yes
  • Bath: Yes, outdoor
  • Guests: 8
  • Other: Fireplace, access to river and walking trails
  • Tip: Take your own pots, pans etc if cooking for multiple people