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Country Style - - CONTENTS - OC­TO­BER 2018

AS LYNDA GAR­DENER and Mark Smith have dis­cov­ered, there’s a lot to love about Tren­tham, the charm­ing pic­ture­book vil­lage snug­gled in the for­est on the crest of the Great Di­vide, 95 kilo­me­tres north-west of Mel­bourne. Some­times shrouded in mist or blan­keted in snow and then in sum­mer, trans­formed into a re­fresh­ing re­treat — rem­i­nis­cent of a 19th-cen­tury hill sta­tion — it’s a place the cou­ple have spent a lot of their time since open­ing be­spoke ac­com­mo­da­tion and events prop­erty The Tren­tham Es­tate in 2015. “It’s such a sweet lit­tle town that has one of ev­ery­thing,” says Lynda, a Mel­bourne-based in­te­rior de­signer who has cre­ated a suc­ces­sion of beau­ti­ful spa­ces in­clud­ing The White House in Dayles­ford. “We are in­vested in this town spir­i­tu­ally and emo­tion­ally,” ex­plains Mark, for­mer mar­ket­ing and events direc­tor of Mel­bourne’s Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket. The cou­ple, who met while work­ing in the fashion in­dus­try three decades ago and have been to­gether for eight years, now di­vide their time be­tween Tren­tham, tem­po­rar­ily based in a sweet cot­tage called Acre of Roses, and their Mel­bourne ware­house home. It’s no sur­prise then to find that they have re­cently put their stamp on an­other of Tren­tham’s old build­ings, the 1880s for­mer Na­tional Bank of Aus­trala­sia in High Street, now re­vamped into Tren­tham Gen­eral. This time though, the project to cre­ate a con­tem­po­rary take on the tra­di­tional gen­eral store has been driven by Mark’s long-held dream to try his hand at hos­pi­tal­ity. That, and their shared love of the old bank build­ing it­self. “I have al­ways loved the façade of this beau­ti­ful old bank,” he says. “It’s the nicest build­ing in the street. All my life and in my ca­reer in re­tail and mar­ket­ing, I’ve thought about a café, a lit­tle hole-in-the-wall café, and then com­ing to Tren­tham all those things have col­lided.” There was al­ready a café in the build­ing and, for Mark at least, it was too good to be true when they fi­nally had the chance to take the reins. For Lynda though, a self-con­fessed hoarder who closed her renowned Mel­bourne home­wares store, Em­pire Vin­tage, two years ago to con­cen­trate on her de­sign and ac­com­mo­da­tion busi­nesses, warm­ing to the idea of cre­at­ing an­other re­tail space took a lit­tle longer. “The build­ing has a warm and invit­ing feel, and so af­ter >

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