Heart Of Africa

In a be­spoke re­treat on the coast of Mozam­bique, this Perth cou­ple loves to shake off their city stresses and re­con­nect with fam­ily.

Australian House & Garden - - News - STORY & STYLING Anna Flan­ders PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Dion Robe­son

A trop­i­cal lodge in Mozam­bique is a sanc­tu­ary for a Perth cou­ple and their far-flung fam­ily.

Adiv­ing trip to the Bazaruto Ar­chi­pel­ago in Mozam­bique in­spired Adri-Ann and Rob Brown to buy land in this south­ern African na­tion and even­tu­ally cre­ate a re­treat on the In­dian Ocean. “It was love at first sight for Rob,” says Adri-Ann. “He loves the ocean, I love the bush. This area has abun­dant wildlife in an ex­traor­di­nar­ily bio­di­verse ma­rine and ter­res­trial re­serve, so he knew I’d love it, too.”

The Sanc­tu­ary is a 30,000ha re­serve set up to pro­tect the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment and indige­nous an­i­mals and plants. Within it, a lim­ited num­ber of li­censes have been is­sued to build pri­vate prop­er­ties and just two com­mer­cial lodges. Adri-Ann and Rob se­cured one of only two pri­vate sites at World’s View, the north­ern­most tip.

They pur­chased the plot in 2004, while still liv­ing in their home­land of South Africa, but moved to Aus­tralia the same year with daugh­ter Cam­dyn, now 17. The Sanc­tu­ary project was placed on hold while they set up busi­nesses in Perth and Fre­man­tle, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture and home­wares des­ti­na­tion Blu Peter.

“In 2013, af­ter the death of my dad, our fam­ily went back to The Sanc­tu­ary on hol­i­day with my sis­ter Char­lene and her Swiss hus­band San­dro. It was de­cided the fam­ily needed a place to get to­gether from all over the world, and that it was time to build a lodge on the land.” That was the seed of the prop­erty now known as Azulik, an earthy, peace­ful re­treat where the fam­ily can gather and dis­con­nect from the world at large.

The de­sign evolved quickly, thanks to Adri-Ann’s in­te­rior-de­sign flair, her sis­ter’s ar­chi­tec­tural back­ground, and Rob and San­dro’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the build­ing in­dus­try. Their ap­proach re­tained the large na­tive msasa trees on the site while max­imis­ing views along the ridge, which sits 60m above sea level. “The aim was to build a main area con­sist­ing of a lounge, kitchen, bar and pool in ma­sonry and con­crete, which gave us a solid struc­ture to with­stand cy­clones,” says Adri-Ann. The four be­d­rooms, with en­suites fea­tur­ing out­door show­ers, are a se­ries of tents with knock­out views.

All the stone, brick, ce­ment and other build­ing ma­te­ri­als had to be brought in on tra­di­tional sail­boats. “A slow and costly ex­er­cise,” says Adri-Ann. Work­ers from nearby com­mu­ni­ties were em­ployed in the project, and lo­cal women helped weave lala-palm walk­ways, kitchen door cov­er­ings and some mats in the main lounge. In line with the area’s build­ing reg­u­la­tions, jecca, a reed har­vested as part of a com­mu­nity uplift­ment project, was used for the roof. Most of the tim­bers are sus­tain­ably har­vested or re­cy­cled, in­clud­ing old jetty tim­bers in the firepit area and a ca­noe-turned-cof­fee ta­ble.

“All lodges on The Sanc­tu­ary use sam­biri hard­wood for the roof trusses,” Adri-Ann ex­plains. “We painted ours white to cre­ate a beach at­mos­phere. The aim was to cre­ate a calm space with soft, washed-out colours re­flect­ing the bush and ocean.”

To achieve that im­pres­sion, the walls in the main area were ren­dered and bag-washed with ce­ment-based paint. Tim­ber decks and col­umns were aged us­ing a mix of wa­ter and ce­ment, rubbed on by hand and left to dry. Adri-Ann and Char­lene dec­o­rated the con­crete floors with sten­cils and white paint. “Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t bring tape or glue to hold down the sten­cils. We re­sorted to honey at one stage, which was messy!”

In con­trast, the in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing was easy for Adri-Ann, who in­tro­duced her sig­na­ture in­ter­play of tex­tured lay­ers in nat­u­ral fi­bres, an­tique woods and cus­tomised pieces in neu­tral tones. The only bright colour is a touch of aqua, which feels to­tally in keep­ing with the wa­tery as­pect.

“The space is al­ways evolv­ing,” she says. “We’re par­ing it back more and more so that it’s all about tran­quil­lity and calm, and be­ing a beau­ti­ful, com­fort­able back­drop to our coastal view. It re­ally is our beach-to-bush­land piece of par­adise.” Azulik Lodge is avail­able to rent at azu­lik­lodge.com. Blu Peter; (08) 9433 1782 or blu­peter.com.au.

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