Card-carrying Fox opens den
Afriend told me I needed to go to this fabulous place at Brunswick Heads on the NSW north coast. She knew I would love it. She even gave me a card, which I carried around in my wallet for a year before I stumbled on a shop one day called The Fabulous Mrs Fox. It was enchanting and fabulous. Why hadn’t anyone ever told me about it before, I wondered?
The shop sits at the foot of a building that you would swear had been part of the Brunswick Heads skyline for decades but is, in fact, quite new, just masterfully rendered and decked out in a manner that harks back to another era. There are swans on the roofline, like imagery you might encounter in the pages of some old South American magic realism novel.
The shop stocks new and old wares, and owners William and Johanna White have turned a room out the back into a truly beautiful, surprising space that they rent out. Through an old wroughtiron gate, a path leads to a weathered timber door painted with the words One Fabulous Room. It opens to an astro-turfed nook with a table, vintage sun chairs and a concrete garden gnome ready for his Instagram close-up.
But the breezy, beachy mood changes when you step through French doors into your room. Every inch is considered and lovely – there’s a chandelier, an ornate mirror and glorious vintage linen. There’s a little wooden table beside a timbershuttered window that allows natural light to pour in on a bowl of fruit, a still life waiting for paint. It’s the kind of room in which you know you’ll sleep and dream well. There’s more – a thoughtfully decorated bathroom, plus all those modern-day necessities such as reverse cycle air-conditioning, a coffee pod machine, television and microwave. There is potential, yes, to disappear and not emerge for a week if you want to.
So rested am I after my first night here that I am up early enough to wander to the ocean to see the sun rise. It’s about a four-minute meander along a deserted lane, onto the footbridge across the river, then on to the beach. Unlike so much of coastal Australia, this stretch retains a sleepy charm. The sunrise is pretty enough but I can’t wait to get back, via the Footbridge Cafe, to my room to plan my day.
One Fabulous Room is positioned ideally for jaunts into the hinterland and tasty visits to places such as the Harvest restaurant at Newrybar, a few kilometres south-west of the Heads. I return for a second fabulous night. And as I nod off, I make a mental note to call my friend and inquire what other places she thinks I would like.