Images by Carly Baker-Burnham
Respecting nature comes instinctively to mother and daughter duo Carly Baker-Burnham and Ruby Burnham. Together the pair manage Bloodwood Cabin in country Victoria, curating luxurious stays for a procession of eco-curious guests. Located in Bonnie Doon, the house was built on the family’s property (by husband and dad Grant with help from friends and family) using sustainably harvested timber from their own sawmill, and reclaimed windows and doors.
Located on a hill away from the main home, it’s secluded and shares the surrounding bushland with wallabies and kangaroos. Given the cabin is located on working farmland (the family produces organic beef cattle), guests might also make fast friends with cows and horses.
The intention behind Bloodwood was to design a space that was both one with the landscape and an escape from it. “It is a place to hide away, to disconnect from reality and reconnect with the important things – like nature,” says Carly. Every element of the self-sustainable cabin is considered – it runs off of solar power and is fitted with compostable toilets to lessen environmental impact. A small rain tank is affixed to the side of the cabin with a water filter fitted inside for clean running water (Especially important because guests consistently rave about soaking in the outdoor-facing bathtub along with handfuls of locally made bath salts.)
The interior is adorned with handmade ceramics and country enamelware sourced from local artisans, small businesses and quaint antique stores. Inside, you’ll also find an inviting bed (dressed with Carlotta + Gee linen, of course), easy chairs for lazy days spent reading, tea- and coffee-making supplies, local wine and a fridge generously stocked with organic produce, some of it homegrown. There is no WiFi, and that’s the way the Burnhams like it. “It's the perfect setting to detox technology. Bloodwood cabin is about stepping back both literally and figuratively.” (There is, however, a landline and some mobile reception should you need it.)
We caught up with Carly and Ruby to find out more about Bloodwood. Keep reading for the full interview.
CG: How did the idea come about to build Bloodwood Cabin at Bonnie Doone?
CBB: We live in and love all things about nature – the natural world is a constant source of inspiration. We wanted to create an off-grid, low-environmental impact cabin using home-grown timber to share with our friends and family, and so Bloodwood Cabin was born. It is located on our 20,000-acre organic beef cattle property. We love to share our story and space with visitors, so we decided to open it up to guests in 2021.
CG: All materials used in the build were eco-friendly and sustainable. Tell us about this.
CBB: We grow natural hardwoods and have a sawmill on our property. We harvest the timber and ensure that more forest replaces what we take. The cabin is also insulated with sawdust from the milling process, entirely solar powered and has a composting loo too. Plus, we love supporting local artisans and businesses who create natural soaps and cleaning products. Care is taken to ensure we are making a low environmental impact.
CG: The cabin is rustic and raw yet extremely cosy – what’s your favourite feature?
CBB: Our favourite feature would have to be the sunken bathtub; it overlooks the landscape, abundant with grass and trees. Guests can soak in the bath of an evening, gazing at the millions of stars in the night sky.
CG: The cabin is small but luxurious. How did you create a feeling of sanctuary?
CBB: It’s all about leaning into the contrast. The space oozes simplicity and charm with its raw natural timber, and it’s placed perfectly among the trees and granite landscape. To that foundation, we added a touch of decadence with handmade ceramics, your delicious linen bedding and a collection of vintage treasures.
CG: Do you plan to build other cabins on the same property?
CBB: Yes. Our intention is to build more cabins so as to create a place for groups to gather and connect. We want to share our property and methods of loving the earth with many curious and nature-loving humans.
CG: What’s the best way to get to Bloodwood Cabin?
CBB: Bloodwood Cabin is 60km west of Monto in the beautiful North Burnett region in Queensland. Drive north from Brisbane by approximately 600km and experience the most magical change in landscapes. The quintessential Australian bush awaits our guests with roadsides of gum trees and waving grasses in the wind.
Closer regional centres have airports and car hire available at Biloela, Bundaberg and Rockhampton.