John and Kate’s feelgood story
CYGNET seems to have some sort of invisible force which attracts a highly diverse range of talented and eclectic people, many of whom come from interstate seeking the ultimate sea-change experience.
One such couple, Kate and John Reed, formerly of Sydney, have transformed one of the town’s tired, old buildings into a modern, welcoming space for both their patrons and family.
Previously, the building had been a sterile space on its last legs and had operated as a take- away fish ’n’ chips shop.
Originally the Reeds had bought a block of land at Wattle Grove as an inheritance for their 10- year- old son Thomas, but instead decided to make the move south in 2011, bringing with them their homeopathic dispensary business.
“Cygnet just stood out as a wonderful place,” John said.
“We spent 20 years in Pennant Hills and after a year we had more of a sense of community here than we ever did in Sydney.”
Ryan Strating, of Woodbridge- based architectural practice Core Collective, designed the new shop front and living space at the rear of what was known for many years as The Green Inn.
The early 20th- century building has had many uses over the years and the couple encourage people to come forward with any history or stories they have about the inn.
“We anguished in Sydney about how the town would accept us because we’d taken away something we thought they valued highly and we’ve had so many people say it’s a great space and thanked us for building it,” Kate said.
“There are a lot of people in town who have strong associations with The Green Inn, especially from its heyday. People come in and say their parents courted here when they’d go to the movies next door then come here afterwards for something to eat.”
Completed by builder David Davenport, of Paradigm Construction, the renovation took less than a year and was fi nished in November 2011.
Passing through double- glass doors, every wall in the front of the shop is lined with John’s books.
Glass bottles and measuring instruments collected by John in his travels are displayed with pride in glass cabinets around the room.
The wooden- framed windows and pressed- tin ceiling have been added to create a connection with the historic streetscape.
A cosy wood heater in the centre of the room invites people to settle in for a good read.
“We wanted it to be an inviting space; almost like a lounge room where people can come and sit,” John said.
“Because the books are an add- on
to the homeopathic business, we’re quite happy for people to come and read and then go again. The books aren’t a money- making enterprise; they’re a passion.”
But the books don’t end in the front room; many more shelves line the storage space alongside hundreds of bottles of medicine and piles are littered throughout the living area at the back.
North- facing, double- glazed windows allow light to stream into this passive solar space, which comprises two bedrooms, one bathroom and a large living area overlooking the verdant pasture beyond.
The project has been nominated in the commercial architecture category of the 2013 Tasmanian Architecture Awards.
“It’s an extraordinary space and it’s nice it’s getting that exposure, particularly the shop because as soon as people walk through those double doors they go ‘ wow’,” Kate said. “It feels so different and unusual and its really nice to think that that has been recognised.”
Vote in the People’s Choice prize in this year’s Tasmanian Architecture Awards to be in the draw to win a Zip boil, chilled and sparkling HydroTap unit worth $ 4345.
You can vote online for your favourite project at www. architecture. com. au/ tas.
The winner will be notifi ed by phone on June 14.