Retreat To This Hemingway-Style Cabin In The Rainforest

The exact origins of the Otways Loft in Forrest (64 kilometres west of Geelong) are murky and kind of mythological. Before Fleur Leslie and her husband purchased it in 2013, the rundown house had been on the market for years – the pair had to wade through knee length grass and dodge rotting floorboards to even inspect it!

‘The original build is reputed to have taken over 5 years,’ says Fleur. ‘The builder lived in a shed on-site, and craned in a train carriage to use as a workshop while building the house.’ This is estimated to have been in the ’70s but prior to that, little is known about the property at all.

‘It’s an eclectic construction, built on a framework of local tree poles. In parts, it is three storeys high,’ describes Fleur. ‘The interior is a mixture of parts from the train carriage, locally felled timber, materials

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An Architectural Gem, Designed Around An Oak Tree

Having a mature oak tree in your backyard is a coveted gift, but also something to be carefully managed. 

Prior to a recent alterations and additions project by Kennedy Nolan, this Fitzroy North home was experiencing all the cons of such trees, but few of the benefits.

‘The oak tree is very tall, and living under it was hard for our clients. They fought hard to keep the noisy brushtail possums out of it, and they struggled to grow any garden under it,’ explains Rachel Nolan, founding director of Kennedy Nolan. ‘In fact, given the height of this beauty, they really couldn’t see it at all from their home. The neighbourhood could enjoy it, but they really could tolerate it at best. This situation needed to change.’

Kennedy Nolan went back to the drawing board to address the problem, reworking the elements that make a domestic environment functional and

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