East Coast lux­ury get­away

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jar­rad Be­van Any­one in­ter­ested in putting their own home up for con­sid­er­a­tion for house of the week can email jar­rad. be­van@ news. com. au

ADRA­MATIC home set on Tas­ma­nia’s rugged East Coast is a prime ex­am­ple of off- the- grid liv­ing with­out sac­rifi cing any crea­ture com­forts.

show­case of self- re­liance, the house draws its wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and warmth from the el­e­ments.

Su­san West built Thalia Haven about 12 years ago on a pri­vate, 50ha wooded penin­sula.

Four an­cient- look­ing stone cot­tages are clus­tered around olive tree court­yards on the edge of the ocean.

Sleep­ing up to 10 people, Thalia Haven is about 2km from its near­est road or neigh­bour, which means there are no lights to in­ter­rupt stargaz­ers.

The main build­ing has space for a crowd of people, high­lighted by huge open fi re­places in the din­ing and liv­ing ar­eas. It was also de­signed with pri­vacy in mind, should it be needed. And a wall of win­dows open fully, al­low­ing in the sounds and smells of the ocean.

Su­san said her ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing a project of this scope in Tas­ma­nia was fan­tas­tic be­cause, with pa­tience and a lit­tle ef­fort, “you can fi nd ev­ery­thing in Tas­ma­nia”.

“If you look long enough and talk to the right people, you will fi nd amaz­ing crafts­men with in­cred­i­ble skills,” she said.

Su­san and her part­ner chose the award- win­ning hus­band- and- wife team of Mor­ri­son & Breyten­bach Ar­chi­tects to de­sign their dream home af­ter be­ing im­pressed with the feel of their work on the Tar­remah Steiner School.

The team from Rock­Star Con­struc­tion spent about three years on Thalia’s stone­ma­sonry, while builder Jed But­ler – a specialist in re­cy­cled tim­ber – was used for his rich knowl­edge of what was avail­able around the state.

“We were over­seas when Jed called at 3am to say he had found a wooden bridge that would be per­fect to be re- pur­posed for our beams,” Su­san said.

“These beau­ti­ful weath­ered beams had to have the bi­tu­men sand­blasted off them, but it was well worth the ef­fort.

“These tim­bers have a story to tell, you can feel them.”

Thalia Haven boasts a unique style not found in many, if any, Tas­ma­nian res­i­dences.

In­side is a colos­sal sin­gle stone block that crowns the liv­ing room fi re­place, there are black lime­stone fl oors that re­tain the sun’s warmth, and out­side is a bath with taps that rise from an aged branch of Huon pine.

While the house’s lo­ca­tion on a cliff face and a fi re­place that you can cook over are some of Su­san’s favourite el­e­ments, she said people were blown away when they saw the bath on the deck.

“With the lo­ca­tion’s ab­so­lute pri­vacy, you can use the bath at any time of the day and it is re­mark­able in any weather,” she said. “We use it twice a day.” Lo­cated near the bath is a wood- fi red sauna and an out­door shower.

“Great Oys­ter Bay is as beau­ti­ful as any stretch of wa­ter in the world – from the Great Bar­rier Reef to the Mediter­ranean,” Su­san said. “There are of­ten seals and dol­phins, and oc­ca­sional vis­its by whales.

“And you can swim with­out a wet­suit a cou­ple of months a year – plenty for a cooler cli­mate like ours.”

Last year, Su­san and her fam­ily moved out of Thalia Haven to a new house in the Huon, one that fea­tures sim­i­lar rock­work by the Rock­Star team.

The good news for ev­ery­one else is Thalia Haven, win­ner of the 2013 Aus­tralia’s Best Houses TV show, is now avail­able as hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion.

These tim­bers have a story to tell, you can feel them

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