While The Nook is a relatively new addition, its story begins three decades earlier on the same block of land. Just over the hill, behind where the Nook now stands, lived a young Benj and his parents. His dad had a dream to build cottages on the property and provide tourists to the area with a unique and memorable stay.
Together, his parents Jackie and Robert built four individual cottages made entirely from recycled materials. Each cottage used just one type of material to create the overall structure of the dwelling: redgum, redbrick, mudbrick and stone. During this time, Benj was always close by making things with his dad in the workshop (which still stands today) or painting with his mum in her studio. These were formative years for Benj and taught him that making do with what you’ve got wasn’t a boundary to creativity.
Fast forward to 2013 and Benj was an architecture drop out with a full arts degree and a job in the advertising industry. But when he felt the itch to build his own home he knew it was something that needed to be scratched. So he quit his job and set off with his brother to the Pilbara, Western Australia. There, he worked in electrical construction with the hopes of earning enough cash to make his dream a reality. Two and a half years later, he was back in Victoria. It was here, he had a chance encounter with his now partner, Holly. It was while living with Holly in the UK that his plans for The Nook began to take shape.
After seeing Benj’s progress and passion for the project, his dad made a proposal: he’d loan Benj a portion of his retirement fund to buy a block of land his mum had been holding for him, and fund the initial stages of construction. Hesitant to accept such a selfless offer, Benj’s dad put his foot down: the loan was exactly what he wanted to do with his money. For him, there would be no greater joy than to witness his son complete the same dream he’d done all those years earlier.
The Nook took over two years and countless people to build. From Holly and Benj’s family, to friends and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. Nothing ran on time and not everything went to plan. Benj’s resilience was pushed to its limits as he juggled the pandemic with terminal illness and one of the most severe bushfire seasons in Australia’s history. But through it all, Benj was never alone. Every one knew someone who could help and with the collective strength of community, the Nook was built.
Sadly, in July 2021 Benj’s dad, and best friend, Robert passed away.
Benj immediately returned to the Nook and sought solace in the space made possible by his father. He chose to be directed by nothing more than his internal desire, and slowly but intentionally continued to evolve the Nook, adding the redgum pergola and recycled ironbark entrance, and further establishing the native garden.
And really, that’s what The Nook is designed to offer everyone who stays under its blackbutt beams. A moment of solace and calm; a slow escape from a fast world.
You can read the complete story of the Nook here