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One of the oldest properties in Hepburn Springs and a much-loved family holiday home for over 20 years, Greenlands has been given a sensitive renovation while a new sister property next door, Green Retreat Passive House provides a new option for guests with a state of the art environmental design.

Tony and Ellen’s first visit to the Daylesford region was over 25 years ago. On that visit they drove through Daylesford, and other towns in the region, as part of exploring the Goldfields Tourist Route. The Daylesford area immediately attracted them, and they returned for a wedding anniversary a few years later. On this visit, they were so struck by the town they decided to look at properties in the area. After visiting a local real estate agent, they were shown what was described as the best available property at the time, Greenlands.

When we walked into the first room in Greenlands, we looked at each other with approval. In the second room, we looked at each other and nodded “YES”. A day later we had made the offer and it was accepted. So, within two days of deciding to have a look at what was available, we had purchased Greenlands! When we told our 4 kids that we had bought a holiday home in Hepburn Springs, they complained that we had not bought a beach house. We simply told them to hold judgement until they visited the house and they would understand why. We were right! Everybody – family, friends and visitors – has the same reaction – they love Greenlands.

Greenlands was originally a one room miner’s slab hut constructed during the gold mining boom in the 1860s. The slab hut became the lounge room in the 1890s after the addition of a kitchen, 3 bedrooms and a verandah. The large oak tree in the front yard dates from those early times and is claimed to be around 150 years old. The story goes that this oak tree was also the saviour of Greenlands and the nearby Macaroni Factory, as it provided a shield from the heat of the flames in the 1906 fire which swept through the town. It is claimed that the oak tree deflected the fire to either side saving both properties. Greenlands, the Macaroni Factory and the Spring Creek Savoia Hotel are now among the oldest in the whole of Hepburn Springs.

The 1890s extensions remain largely as they were, apart from the addition of more modern bathroom, shower and laundry facilities. A new larger bedroom and an adjoining covered deck was also added, making the house very much a family home.

After enjoying Greenlands for over 20 years, Tony and Ellen decided it was time to restore the much-loved family holiday home to her former glory and embarked on an ambitious renovation project so that they, and others, could continue to enjoy Greenlands for years to come.

There were several objectives when we began the whole renovation/extension project. First and foremost, we wanted to retain the original look and feel of the property, keeping the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that everybody felt when they entered Greenlands. At the same time we knew that the house had to be modernised to make it comfortable for today’s demands. This meant we had to properly insulate the walls, ceiling and floors, provide adequate bathroom facilities and install a spa bath. We also wanted to emphasise the use of the extensive garden areas and provide more outside spaces to enjoy the garden. We have therefore built the covered deck at the back, replaced the verandah flooring, laid pathways and outdoor living spaces in the garden, and included a space for relaxing under the oak tree in the cool for the summer months.

Despite the recent renovations, it has retained its old-world charm and warmth while introducing a comfortable, “contemporary industrial” fit out. The more modern look is accompanied by the original 1860s windows in the lounge and kitchen, and the building style is much the same as the original.

The renovations to the old cottage also offered an opportunity to make use of the large unused back yard. When Greenlands renovations started, the builders contracted to do the work talked about their passion for environmentally friendly construction, and their specialisation in it. The Director had worked in Germany for 8 years, and brought back a wealth of knowledge about European/Scandinavian construction methods.

Having considered a number of alternatives, we decided to complement the charm and beauty of the old cottage, Greenlands, with a second cottage, utilising a modern, energy efficient design that would blend into the natural setting among the gum trees. Just about everything that could be done in the way of energy efficiency has been incorporated into the building – from full insulation, heat exchangers, hot water heat pumps and solar panels to triple glazed German windows and doors. You will notice that the temperature remains constant, regardless of whether it is 0 or 35 degrees.

The second cottage “Green Retreat Passive House” has separate access and is available for holiday rental as a stand-alone 2-bedroom property, or for large groups and families, both properties can be booked to accommodate up to 10 guests.

Both Greenlands and Green Retreat Passive House offer peaceful environments made for relaxation. When venturing out guests can pop across the road to Rubens Restaurant or the Savoia Hotel (the locals’ favourite) – or head down to the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa for mineral water bathing and indulgent treatments.

There are numerous features of the two cottages that Tony and Ellen love, but it is the overall beauty of the property, the garden and the location that appeal strongly.

Overall, we want guests to feel that they have had a restful time and return home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

By Bianca. W | Dayget