Words by Tim Maxwell – Managing Director
My family has been privileged to own our lodge for over 20 years; formerly a characterful group of small apartments built in the 1970s.
Over the past 10 years, Dad and I would often sit under the palms, sometimes for hours, discussing the best way to one day update this beautiful site to give our guests a truly authentic Lord Howe Island experience. We agreed an ideal platform would be 2 very private houses. A house provides the opportunity to have breakfast on the deck and listen to the birds in the forest, go out and explore the island, maybe catch a fish and then come home and cook it with friends or family. A house offers a space to enjoy art, sculpture, and the many small objects that make a house a home. To light the fire, read a book, listen to beautiful music, have a bath under the stars – all in total privacy.
In 2017 we commenced construction.
We chose to use enduring materials that reflect the timeless nature of the island- hardwood, copper, wide oak floorboards, and solid oak walls. We wanted to carry this idea of timelessness throughout the whole experience and we have gone to great lengths to source the lodge’s key elements both locally and internationally. As an example, we have collaborated with ceramicist, Keiko Matsui, to make not only beautiful and unique kiln-fired bowls, but also to manufacture our sign in porcelain, which perfectly reflects who we are and what we represent. It is hand made, with firing cracks and not overly polished, but it is full of soul and authenticity. Our search took us to Copenhagen to choose original mid-century furniture made in the ’50s and ’60s. We went down alleyways in Kyoto and talked to artisans and individual designers and collected small objects of enduring quality to warm and add interest to the houses.
We have travelled to Australia’s top end and talked to indigenous communities about the Island, the way the light bends in the morning and filters through in the afternoon so that they could recommend works that would complement the surrounding materials and provide intrigue and mystery.
Sound is something we are highly passionate about. Each house, as well as the transit room, has a genuine audiophile- quality sound system.
We have combed both new and second -hand book stores to fill the library in each house with a broad range of novels, art and design books, cookbooks as well as many other quirky titles and subjects.
We want our guests to feel inspired to cook and be creative in the large kitchens which are both fully appointed with beautiful Japanese and European culinary tools. When opening the fridge guests will see an assortment of island-grown produce by our sister business, the Nursery, located just 100 metres down the hill as well as from other island growers.
To accompany the houses we built an adventure room filled with quality outdoor equipment and a transit room that can be transformed from an additional seating area to a conference room, private cinema, or wellness space.
So after 10 years of dreaming and three and a half years of construction, we are most excited to welcome guests to Island House. We have put our heart and soul into offering sophisticated travellers a place to explore, rest, and be inspired.