Lux Nomade checks in to Paddock Hall – a 1-bedroom studio in the Byron Hinterland
Winnie Stubbs explores the family-owned Paddock Hall in Byron Hinterland, Australia.
There’s a unique magic to waking up at Paddock Hall – the timber-clad cabin on the quiet macadamia farm in the Byron hinterland. Through the wide vintage windows that line the east side of the cabin, the sun rises behind a row of gum trees, their silhouettes cut black against the tangerine sky. The morning call of kookaburras and magpies form a layered alarm clock, so the rise to consciousness is a multi-sensory experience – a gentle nudge from nature.
Once the sunlight has washed the cabin in gold – across the verandah that lines the side, in through the windows, and across the thick timber floorboards – you can consider pulling yourself from the warmth of the hand-built four-poster bed to heat the kettle on the stove.
Waking up that way – greeted immediately by the kiss of sunrise and the sweet, muted sound of birdsong through stained glass windows – it’s difficult to feel anything but an indulged, coddled sense of calm.
This was my second visit to Paddock Hall, and on arrival, I was greeted with a cup of tea and a slice of sourdough fruit loaf in the kitchen of the family farmhouse that sits in the centre of the property. I don’t imagine this kind of greeting is standard procedure, but based on the familiar, friendly love notes left in the guest books that line the shelves inside Paddock Hall, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people who come to stay return again as friends.
Owned, designed, and built by the Fewson family, Paddock Hall is a welcoming, family-run operation. Despite its spectacular beauty and elevated design (the entire cabin was designed and built by David Fewson, along with the architecturally striking four-bedroom farmhouse and a soon-to-be-complete brutalist concrete bunker on the other side of the property) there’s something about Paddock Hall that inspires a sense of ease, of homely comfort.
Once the cinnamon smudge had evaporated through the farmhouse kitchen window, Jane (David’s wife, who runs the operational side of the business alongside their daughter Hannah) took my bags and showed me into the cabin. The two sets of heavy wooden doors that open onto the verandah were pushed wide to welcome in the midday sun, and the goats were grazing lazily in the paddock beyond. Exhausted from a 5 am airport mission, I ran a bath and read in the sun while the vintage tub – which sits at the end of the verandah flanked by plant pots and candles – filled with steaming water.
If I’d been inclined to leave, I might have taken the ten-minute drive into nearby Newrybar – a quiet pocket of heritage buildings that house vintage shops and a wholesome village deli. Newrybar is also home to Harvest, one of the region’s most well renowned farm-to-table restaurants. As it was though, I stayed put – suspended in the peace of the bohemian vintage cabin I was calling home for the weekend.
I invited friends from the area for dinner, and we took glasses of rosé that matched the colour of the sky out into the cool of the evening. We petted the goats and wandered through the citrus trees as the sun disappeared behind the hinterland.
We roasted veggies in the oven and cooked salmon and rice on the stove as the paddock outside the windows disappeared into the night and stars began to punctuate the sky.
I ran another bath before bed and sunk into the tub serenaded by the croak of crickets and illuminated by candlelight.
The next day, I picked my way barefoot across the dew jewelled grass and plunged into the 15-metre swimming pool that dominates the farmhouse garden. It was mid-winter and the water was icy and perfect.
Jane and David were drinking tea in the morning sun, so I joined them on the vintage iron table to talk about the space they’ve created. Although the architectural concept and build were David’s work (an incredible feat, especially considering he’s entirely self-taught) the interior elements were found and chosen by Jane and Hannah. A vintage green sofa sits facing the fireplace, and a metal chandelier hangs between the thick timber ceiling beams. In the far east corner, a fishing rod has been converted into a curving lampstand, throwing warm amber light across an old vintage armchair and a wicker basket filled with wood for the fire.
Based on my experience, and the adoring letters that fill the guest books, I’ve concluded that it’s the collaborative family effort that has imbued Paddock Hall with its particular strain of special. This is a space designed with love – not just for the building itself, but for all of the people involved in the process.