SET IN STONE
HARDY NATURAL MATERIALS MAKE THIS FORMER BACON FACTORY A RUSTIC HOME FULL OF CHARACTER AND STYLE.
DAWESLEY IS A RURAL hamlet tucked away in the Adelaide Hills. Like many other settlements in this region, it was once on the main thoroughfare until the South Eastern freeway blazed through in the late 1960s and 1970s bypassing the town. From then on Dawesley became, somewhat idyllically, a little more offff the beaten track. “It’s a beautiful little town with no services, no post offiffice, just a cluster of homes, but it’s got a really rich history,” says Alia Elaraj. Alia and her partner, Scout Edwards, fell in love with the little settlement, in particular one of its early buildings, four years ago. Alia and Scout had been searching for a place to call home; a place where they could bring up their sons, Oliver, 10, and Arlo, four, with respect for the natural environment and with an appreciation of old fashioned values, when they came across this grand industrial building in Dawesley. It was the former Davies Bacon factory and had been built of stone in 1870s. More than a century later, in the 1980s it had been restored as a beautifully rustic home. “We just fell in love with the house, it was so exceptional,” Alia says. “Nothing else that we had seen ticked the boxes, and it was in our price range, close to Oliver’s school, and was on half an acre, just enough for what we wanted.” Scout is a photographer, whose business White Wall Photography specialises in weddings. Meanwhile, Alia had, until recently, run a store called Poet’s Ode in the nearby historic town of Hahndorf. She sold beautiful natural, vintage and handmade objects that were textural and tactile. Sustainability and provenance of goods was the focus at Poet’s Ode, so for Alia in particular, the old factory in Dawesley with its rough walls of local stone and timber beams, was appealing for its natural, honest materials, and all those things that have a story and bear the marks of time and maker. “I’m a collector and I love beautiful things, natural fifibres and textures — it’s in me,” says Alia, 35, who was born in Australia but spent her childhood between here and Canada. “I have dual citizenship, my mum is Australian and I’ve spent half my life, in bits and pieces, here.” Scout grew up in Adeiaide, where he and Alia fifirst met. “We lived in Canada together for two and a half years,” Alia adds. “We got married and Oliver was born over there. I was 27 when we moved back here.” Alia and Scout decided to call their new fifive-bedroom home Factoria V11, reflflecting its industrial heritage. It had been
converted to a home by the previous owner, an architect, who installed the huge old wharf timber beams throughout the house. “He had used beautiful reclaimed timbers from Port Adelaide and they are big substantial beams,” Alia says. “There was a lot of high gloss timber and dark wood because it was an 1980s renovation, the walls were unsealed and dusty. To make it more livable and brighter, we thought we would paint all the surfaces white. That highlighted the huge spaces and the beautiful features — the big exposed beams and arched windows. It’s got jarrah flfloors, which I didn’t really love… but we stripped them back and stained them really dark, and that works well for creating a canvas with everything else white and textured. We’ve kept it really simple.” Most of the furniture and decorative pieces at Factoria V11 had, at some stage, been at Poet’s Ode — all the natural and vintage pieces that Alia curated ultimately found their way, as if they always belonged, into her home. “This home has a grand industrial feel and although it’s the same palette as the shop was, I feel it’s unique.” For Alia and Scout, deciding to close Poet’s Ode in February this year was a turning point, an opportunity for a change in direction and to start travelling. “I loved having the store and meeting all the artists and customers, and I’ll get Poet’s Ode up online again. But I grew up with wings under my feet, I grew up moving around,” Alia explains. “As much as I love to settle, I think it’s good for kids to explore the world, and we’re just going to run with that.” Alia and her sons are now visiting family in Canada, with Scout set to follow soon enough, planning to travel back and forth for work commitments. They have no fifixed plans or timeline for their return. Meanwhile Factoria V11 is being offffered as accommodation. “At this stage I don’t know if we’ll come back, we will see,” says Alia, “But because we have this house it doesn’t feel like I have to let go of my beautiful things or that we’re leaving. If we do, I would want to take this house with me. It’s so romantic, you can hear the rain on the roof, and there are two wood-burning fifires and a beautiful courtyard with a lemon tree... These are the little things I love about it. It’s a very charming place to live.”
The sitting room is made for relaxing with a linen sofa, classic leather armchair and an antique Indian rattttan and timber daybed from Water Tiger under the window. The leather pouf is from The Silk Road and Moroccan beni rug is from Paris. For...