Montacute Pavilion and Gardens is like no other Daylesford accommodation. It is a European-inspired hideaway in the treetops of one of Daylesford’s oldest and most historic gardens near the Wombat Hill Botanical gardens. Completely private, it is designed as the perfect romantic couples’ getaway. The bedroom is not just a bedroom, but a place to lounge in all day. And the bathroom is not just a bathroom: huge bath and ‘The greatest shower in the world, in which one can live out one’s fantasies of bathing, nymphlike, in a grotto.’ There is a fully equipped kitchen and comfortable sitting room downstairs, as well as a second bedroom and ensuite.

In the garden there is a terrace, an exotic dining pavilion, and spectacular parterres, and lots of seats in leafy nooks. Shops and cafés are just a few streets away. It is perfect for couples, couples with children, or friends who just want to hang out in a special place. Even hermits. It is great for longer stays. The building, which is based on the garden pavilions at Montacute House in England, is intriguingly festive, while the furnishings are luxurious, a mix of modern antiques and arts-and crafts cosiness. As one guest wrote: ‘I felt that I had died and gone to heaven’. It has all the luxury touches: Molton Brown toiletries, a hamper and a complimentary bottle of Passing Clouds’ ‘Graeme’s Blend’. There is off street parking and flat-screen TVs with Netflix on both floors.

See the feature on Montacute Pavilion on Channel 9’s Postcards programme.

https://www.9now.com.au/postcards/2018/clip-cje6dlm9d001l0gmyg0pem7lt

 

Panel 1

The Vision

Montacute Pavilion is an interpretation of the garden pavilions at Montacute House, Somerset, England (Fig. 1)

Montacute House is one of the most important Elizabethan houses in England, now the property of the National Trust.  There is a terrace at the front of the main house with on either side two pavilions built in about 1600. These were originally probably banqueting pavilions, although now there is nothing inside. Midway between them was an entrance gate, now gone. A similar arrangement is still intact at Hardwick Hall.

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From the garden

Montacute Pavilion is an accurate enlargement (120% bigger) of these pavilions, but with two main changes. The windows have been changed from the type with a semicircular bay with flat side lights to bigger rectangular bays of Elizabethan type such as are found in the main Montacute House building, and it has been extended on the street side to accommodate the master bathroom and the downstairs bedroom. This changes the look of the building somewhat: from the street, the effect is quite exotic; from the secret garden and the Chinoiserie fabrique it is more comlplicated, while the pure Montacute view is from the garden on the west side.

Morning mist.

The intention has not been to create a replica of the Elizabethan building, but to take its form, and translate it into a building which is both a garden ornament and functional holiday accommodation, using (mostly) standard building materials. This is how the architecture of the past was made: by taking an admired model and adapting it to present-day purposes. This is what Andrea Palladio did when he created Veneto farmhouses in an antique/classical style. The original Montacute pavilions are of stone with slate roofs, but this has been translated into timber with a Colourbond corrugated roof. The building is, of course, timber framed, with the cladding made from Silvertop Ash, and the stringcourses made from treated pine.

Elizabethan architecture demonstrates an interesting interaction between traditional Gothic forms and a new Renaissance interest in Classical forms. The ogee curve (reverse curve) of the roof is a traditional Gothic form that was a favourite roof form in Elizabethan buildings. The radius of both convex and concave sections is 2800 mm. The original pavilions were dressed with classical columns at the corners and a classical entablature with modillions, topped by battlements. I found the battlements to be a little rudimentary, and so developed somewhat different ones based on those at another Elizabethan building, Stanway House in the Cotswolds.

These battlements are made of solid Accoya timber. This is a form of treated pine made with radiata pine treated with vinegar. It is not widely used in Australia and is therefore relatively expensive, but there are plants in the Netherlands and elsewhere that produce it. It is both more durable and more stable than the usual treated pine, and has been used for building bridges in Europe. It is also non-toxic: the company that made them for me told me that their workshop spelled like a fish-and-chip shop when they were making them. The modillions were made in treated pine, cut from standard 75 x 200 mm sleepers.

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Cornice, with modillions, battlements, dragon spouts and obelisks.

The feature that people find most striking are the obelisks and the finial on top, which are clad in brass and some copper. In the original pavilions these were of stone, but the translation into a timber building resulted in a different colouristic concept. Some people find them to be excessively exotic, especially the colour, suggesting other building typologies, but they are meant to add a festive note. After all, it is a place for enjoying oneself, and who needs drab? The dragon spouts are a bit of whimsy. They are the equivalent of Gothic gargoyles and are common in central and Eastern Europe rather than England (there is a seventeenth-century example in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and interesting examples, often remade, at Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria; Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland; and at Schwäbische Hall, Germany.  Click here and here for more about these. Elizabethan buildings had long channel waterspouts (old photos of the Montacute pavilions show them, though they are probably not original). Click here for more about this. Mostly these were replaced with cast iron downpipes in the eighteenth century. These dragon spouts are functional, but not as the normal way of removing roof water (building rules do not permit it) which is taken by downpipes. However, should the downpipes be blocked the dragon spouts would come into play. The vases are not found in the Montacute pavilions but came about because the bathroom extension needed chamfered corner so as not to be too boxy, while the ground floor bedroom needed to be rectangular: the vases ease the transition, as well as providing visual interest from the bathroom, where they manage to look a kittle Art Deco. They are made of painted Accoya.

Panel 2

Reviews and Testimonials

December 2018. Another wonderful stay at the perfect ‘little home’. Kids have thoroughly enjoyed the garden and the hospitality was excellent, as always. J, C, E, L and T.

November 2018. Amazing, would definitely return. The pictures don’t do this place justice. High end fit out, great internet, comfy beds, amazing bathroom, great views of the garden. The gardens were fantastic.

November 2018. We have thoroughly enjoyed your eclectic home. Full of one-of-a-kind architecture and modern trends. You have stunning and beautiful gardens that are very well maintained.

October 2018. Thank you for creating a special place in Daylesford. The gardens are gorgeous and relaxing, and the views from the pavilion into the gardens is magical. My partner was blows away by this treat for his 75th birthday. D and R (Sydney) and C (Melbourne)

October 2018. Hands down one of the most unique and opulent places we have ever stayed! It was a joy discovering the house and garden. I could live in the master bedroom (:. Beautifully appointed and fantastic amenities; we had a wonderful time — high point of our honeymoon. L and J.

September 2018. Exceptional. We didn’t find anything we didn’t like. Beds were so comfy and roomy, attention to detail about the place was second to none. Loved the garden, a lot of which is very unusual. And the heated floor in the en-suite main was a welcome plus as it freezing this particular weekend. Definitely worth another stay

September 2018. What a wonderful and quirky place you have created! The gardens are just lovely and I really enjoyed reading the history of how this pavilion came to fruition. Thank you. G and L.

September 2018. Such a beautiful and romantic spot. Such attention to detail, with all the delights we could ask for! Thank you! B and T, and F.

September 2018. This is our dream house. We loved it we’re going to come back aigen soon. (young visitors.)

September 2018. This has been a wonderfully relaxing and therapeutic holiday in such a picturesque accommodation. Thank you for the opportunity to experience pure bliss!

September 2018. There have been many wondrous words to describe your unique getaway, but one that has not been used is … fan-dabby dozy!

September 2018. A lovely place to spend a ‘long weekend’ for us on our 30th wedding anniversary. This ‘pavilion’ has all that you need for a relax and just sitting around looking out the windows to the interesting garden.

August 2018. Montacute Pavillion and Gardens is an amazingly beautiful and special place where you are treated by beautiful design and little extra touches of luxury that include a local produce hamper. Perfect for a romantic getaway. We loved our stay here and hope to return soon.

August 2018. I am in the process of finishing ‘The Architecture of Happiness’ and I think this wonderful Pavilion and gardens perfectly articulates the point. My husband and I, celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary, have absolutely enjoyed the house and the garden views. We’re contemplating a return trip in autumn and spring to see those incredible trees in different seasons.

July 2018, An absolute delight to stay at this wonderful place for our babymoon. We have had a fabulous time watching the garden on a drizzly weekend and great chats with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing this experience with well facilitated furnishings and facilities available.

July 2018. My wife and I love the house. Everything is clean and well furnished. We especially love the attention to detail in the design of the house and the gardens. The heating facilities and fireplace was a hit with my wife especially the daybed by the bay window overlooking the garden. I like the abundance of power points, USB charging points and the remote powered shades. We love the large windows and views and had a lovely view of the lunar eclipse on Saturday. We hope to return another time during spring or autumn, when we could spend more time in the garden. The provision of milk, coffee, muesli, wine and snacks is a lovely touch.

July 2018. Thank you for having created such a beautiful home. From the moment we drove up the street Montacute stood as a magnificent unique structure amongst suburban homes. However, inside it is more than a structure, it is a home. All modern conveniences included and the quality of all the essentials is top class. The bedding, towels, toiletries and other items are of the quality of a 5 star hotel. We were here for my husband’s 50th birthday weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The gardens are spectacular. It is obvious there has been a lot of thought and love put into this home. Thank you for sharing it. I want to come back in Spring and Summer to experience the gardens!

July 2018. It is truly an Oasis. This is day 1 of 3 and by far the best property I have stayed in. And we have travelled in Europe and a lot in Australia. Will come back in Summer, look forward to it.

July 2018. Thank you for providing such a peaceful, comfortable and warm place for us to rest and enjoy. We have really enjoyed our stat here. Hope to stay here again another time.

July 2018. Very sad to be leaving this tranquil, gorgeous home. So comfortable, so relaxing. The most luxurious bedroom – and bathroom – we’ve ever seen. Kept warm in these wintry evenings by your beautiful fires. Perfect coffee. Could go on. Thanks so much, we’ll definitely be back.

July 2018. Beautiful, love the garden. Look forward to coming again to see it in Spring/Summer. We have enjoyed our mother-daughter time. Great place to sit by the fire, talk and have time to catch up. P.S. Loved the coffee machine!

July 2018. Absolutely beautiful property and lovely gardens. we also got a cute welcome hamper that had some local wine and snacks. mum and I will definitely be coming back. Highly recommend this property.

July 2018   Whimsical, quirky and a refined attention to detail. What’s not to love?

May 2018. Absolutely divine! What a beautiful place. Totally relaxing and clearly put together with love. The stunning garden made us feel we were in Arcadia.

April 2018. Great stay in Daylesford, lots of walking, eating and shopping. Montacute was very relaxing. Lovely garden, very comfy bed, we enjoyed sitting in the garden. Perfect stay.

April 2018. What a wonderful place to celebrate my 50th birthday. The Montacute Pavilion was magical. Gorgeous gardens, beautiful house with every need met. Thank you so much for the perfect accommodation, for the perfect holiday.

April 2018. Perfect. Wonderful 3 days to celebrate a 40th anniversary and engagement. Loved the property, stunning gardens & perfect retreat!

April 2018. Thank you so much. When we drove in I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The garden is so stunning. *Magical* in fact. The house is as beautiful as the Cotswolds of England, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better it did. I really don’t want to go home. I was the lucky one. I ended up with the Royal Suite, my friend had a lovely time also. Next time she can have the Royal Suite if she’s lucky. Thank you for sharing your chestnuts, I had such fun foraging. Will look forward to returning to Montacute Pavilion. Now I want to go to Somerset, England. 3 beautiful days.

March 2018. Thoroughly enjoyed this unique little property. The immaculate gardens and arabesque flavor made for an incredibly memorable experience.

March 2018. Thank you for a beautiful stay. It has been a most relaxing stay for us, making this Chillout the best one yet!

March 2018. It’s a wonderland!

March 2018. What a beautiful place to stay in such a lovely area! We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend ‘get away’ to Daylesford and we will be back! This property is certainly a memorable one, and staying in it had added to the lovely memory we have of the area!

November 2017. What an absolute pleasure to stay in such a unique, confortable, lush secret hideaway! The property is gorgeous from the views over the stunning gardens, the mix of old and new, the gorgeous treasures and the little touches like the hamper and the Molton Brown toiletries. Perfect! We feel revived, relaxed, and wish we could stay longer. Wonderful job in creating such a special property, hope to be back someday!.

November 2017. Thank you for sharing your beautiful property with us. A generous touch in the provision of Graeme’s Blend and lovely toiletries didn’t go unnoticed. We appreciate the owners vision and historical relevance in building a unique residence in Daylesford. The house has a warmth and wonderful connection to its gardens.

November 2017. This amazing residence reflects a vision and passion for historical relevance and clever design. Wombat Hill welcomes you when you leave the property and Cliffy’s +Wine & The Country make a daily walk into an exciting adventure. Manteau Noir will surprise you with a touch of France. The Mill Markets & Weekend Farmer’s Markets complete the experience. Molly said ‘.., do yourself a favour….’

September 2017. We just got back from a beautiful child-free parental-retreaty weekend at Montacute in Daylesford. It was truly divine. Loved the luxurious accommodation & garden (and the bathroom)! I had seen photos but it’s even better in the flesh.

Panel 3

Wedding and Special Events Stays

Montacute Pavilion and Gardens is perfect for your wedding stay or honeymoon. If you are having a wedding at one of the Daylesford wedding venues this is the perfect place for the wedding couple to stay. If you contact us we can help organise transport to the wedding venue. If you are having a 3-night stay you can have the wedding photos taken at Montacute if arranged in advance. (By arrangement, you can also use other parts of the Villa Castagna garden.)

Montacute and Villa Castagna can also host small informal events (up to 20 people) such as a post-wedding breakfast with external catering concurrent with a 3-night booking at Montacute. Such events would take place in one of the garden spaces, not in Montacute Pavilion.

It is also the perfect venue for that special birthday stay.

For further information contact montacute@iinet.net.au or David on 0430 455 900