Lynda Gardener's Estate at Trentham Is Our Dream Home
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, renowned interior designer, stylist and boutique hotelier Lynda Gardener welcomes us into her self-designed property, The Estate at Trentham.
If you’ve been looking for your next getaway destination, the search ends here. Allow us to introduce you to Lynda Gardener’s boutique hotel, The Estate at Trentham. The esteemed Melbourne-based interior stylist first opened the doors to her country retreat four years ago, and it’s taken pride of place on our mood boards ever since.
Lovingly restored, the dreamy property just outside of Melbourne calls to mind a rustic farmhouse you’d find in the French countryside. Throughout the space, weathered wood furnishings and vintage decor pay homage to the past, whilst industrial lighting and concrete floors place the space squarely in the present. On tables and shelves, ceramic vases and antique bottles hold dried flowers and herbs from the garden, while Lynda’s love of early century portraits add warmth to the walls.
Set to an earthy palette of grey, white and brown, each room has its own distinct personality, yet Lynda’s sophisticated eye ensures there’s a consistency to the space. In the kitchen, antique cookware lines wooden shelves, whilst in the bathroom, a deep white porcelain tub sits opposite a concrete fireplace. In the living room, pillows and throws set the scene for a cosy afternoon, whilst beautiful French doors open onto a picturesque yard surrounded by lavender and orchids. Relaxed just looking at it? Imagine how you’ll feel once you’re actually there.
Hi Lynda! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I create unique spaces for my clients so they can feel happy and special in their space. Aside from The Estate at Trentham, I have five other properties where guests can feel inspired, relaxed and enjoy a break from their regular routine.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
Making is simply who I am, through and through! I have loved making and creating from a very early age. It was within me from as long as I can remember—I love creating beautiful spaces to live in, and I love surrounding myself things that feel homely—texture, collectables and special items picked up over my travels.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue interiors? And what gave you the impetus to turn your attention to boutique accommodation?
I started in fashion and realised when I was young (with no training or guidance) that I was good at making a room feel special—I am extremely visual.
When I was 19, I asked my boss [at the shop I was working in] for whatever petty cash the business had, and stayed back after work to create a newly-styled showroom. I stocked up on second-hand pieces from the markets—old leather suitcases, ropes, old typewriters (this was back in the early late 1980s) and created a space that the entire team went crazy over.
After that, I became a stylist and mechaniser for Levi Strauss and set-up their concept stores around Australia. Then, after many years, I went out on my own and opened a vintage store in Albert Park, which stayed open for 24 years. During that time, I bought what is now The White House Daylesford, which was my first foray into accommodation. Since then, my portfolio has grown to include The White Room in Fitzroy North, The Estate Trentham and the Apartment St. Kilda.
Plus, there’s the styling arm of my business, Inside Story, where I create interiors—my signature aesthetic is mixing old and new—for clients.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
It’s all instinct! When it comes to decorating a space, I get a feel of which way I want to go, what the surrounding colours are, views and aspects and pretty much stick to a very basic palette, leaving as many original features as possible in the house (all of my houses have been old with character.) I try to keep the integrity of the space while adding new elements.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
I stick to what I love and I don’t stray too far away from my signature look. I’m good at mixing old and new, working on old houses and bringing in the right mix to create a warm and inviting space. I love neutrals and warm, earthy tones and all my homes have stood the test of time. My advice to others is to stick to what you know best, what you feel most passionate about and of course, have the drive to see through.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to go out on their own?
Believe in yourself, work hard and stick to what you love and believe in! Dreams do come true!
Now, the home stuff. How long have you owned The Estate?
Around six years.
What inspired you to take on this home as your next project?
The love of decorating. Following the success of the White House and the White Room, it was a very easy decision. It’s a very special house—I fell in love with it instantly—and bought it the same day I viewed it!
What was your inspiration behind the beautiful renovation you completed at The Estate?
As always, it’s a mix of old and new set on a natural, calming palette. I want guests to relax, soak up the views from every window in the house.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
There’s a collection of old pieces I cherish—oil paintings, landscapes, portraits and one-off pieces of furniture. It’s a layered space and to me, feels homely and unique.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The lounge room. The sofa takes up most of the space and that was the intention—space to sprawl and lay on if you choose to while reading a book and taking in the green gardens surrounding the Estate.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Make sure your flow starts from the front door to the back door. Everything should be coherent and continue through the entire house including colours, tones and feel. A well-styled bedroom to me should have textures and layers, beautiful linens always, rugs for warmth and cosy details such as an armchair if there is room, plus some collected art on the wall so, most importantly, it’s a room you can feel relaxed in.
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