Who lives here
Owned by Bede & Jemima Aldridge and Ric and Moir Jones, The Repose is a holiday property that is available as an Airbnb stay.
Dubbo, Western Plains of New South Wales
Weaving the old with the new – imperfect, artisan elements showcased next to clean, simple lines.
"In the lounge room we feature a handcrafted custom-made brass light made in France by Wo + We."
"We chose some beautiful European linen sheets from Major Minor and hung these on rods of raw brass to add a touch of understated luxury to our windows."
A humble, unassuming cottage that was built to house miners in the early 1900s stood weathered by time, moments from Dubbo’s town centre. That is, until two families set about transforming this heritage abode into an artisan getaway that nods to local craftmanship.
Bede and Jemima Aldridge, owners of Saddler & Co, and two health-based professionals, Ric and Moir Jones, met through a local mother’s group, Jemima with five boys and Moir with four girls. The women forged a friendship that years later was to become so much more.
“We came up with an idea of a bespoke, self-contained Airbnb in the Dubbo region which has a shortfall of high-end accommodation for couples,” says Jemima. “To leverage the strong growth and brand awareness of Saddler & Co, we decided to partner up on the cottage renovation.”
The first of its kind in Dubbo, the four have crafted a storytelling style - a reflection of things changing in a region that has been through a prolonged drought.
Ric, a full-time paramedic, did most of the building and plumbing, while Bede, a maker of fine saddles and leather goods, worked on the inside spaces. Once complete, they filled the interiors with pieces crafted by small makers and brands – celebrating the imperfection and quality of designers that endure through the years.
“I love to trawl antique shops, restoring some of the furniture pieces while also adding beautiful pieces from places like MCM House, Armadillo & Co, Frank + Enid, Barnaby Lane and Kim Wallace Ceramics,” says Jemima. “But it’s the dark oak Corbusier dining chairs from Thonet that are my favourite.”
Over 18 months, the two couples worked after-hours, while maintaining full-time jobs to transform the tired-looking cottage into a two-bedroom abode with dreamy interiors to lust over. And all while raising nine children between them.
“Charmed by the original floorboards, windows and history of the property, we saw past the cramped layout and quirks of the old house,” says Jemima.
A heritage wire gate, framed by a white picket fence, traditional iron roof and timber veranda hint at the beauty that lies within.
The cottage is a perfect blend of old and new, centred around a private courtyard, built by hand to reflect the group’s common European heritage, complete with an outdoor fireplace and olive trees.
A row of reclaimed French timber windows (sourced from antique stores) bring natural light in from the courtyard, while the long hallway that runs the length of the cottage connects the two bedrooms with the living area and kitchen.
The combined living and dining area provide cosy spaces to relax in, a fireplace offers extra comfort and the textured styling with pops of green of the living area sits harmoniously with the dining area a curated space of antique furniture, and the stunning, dark oak Le Corbusier dining chairs made by Thonet.
“We adore the high timber ceilings and original timber flooring, rejuvenated with a white lime finish,” says Jemima
Two bedrooms sit at the front of the house, one king size, and the other queen size. The styling was inspired by the traditional architecture of the room.
“With the bedrooms, we worked with the architectural features of each room, building our own custom bedhead and inbuilt lighting. The rooms feature Hale Mercantile European linen bedding, antique finds, original artwork by Belynda Henry, and a cane sofa from MCM house,” says Jemima.
The bathroom, designed around the original outhouse quarters, features the original clawfoot bath and antique washstand. Ric and Bede handcrafted the brass edging and hanging racks, and Jemima sourced brass Sussex tapware, marble basin, and reclaimed terracotta tiles. Tying it all together is the original landscape, Roam by Australian artist Rowena Dean.
“We wanted to create a place where subtle links to the past weave their way through every room of the cottage,” Jemima says. “We have been intent on being thoughtful custodians. Preserving a little piece of local history, crafted with our own hands.”
Often bypassed in favour of the burgeoning food and wine regions of Orange and Mudgee in the western plains of New South Wales, the regional outpost of Dubbo is shaking things up. Offering the best of both worlds, with Sydney easily accessible, yet surrounded by farming land and undulating countryside.
“Although we all ended up in Dubbo for various reasons, we all love this region, and we’re connected to this country and this community,” Jemima says. “The Repose gives us a platform to offer people a place to stay and experience the best of Dubbo.”
Jemma Aldridge's Favourite Dubbo Hangouts
For breakfast and coffee
Press, a stylish chic hangout in a quaint 1930s house, is a progressive café that’s located in a former office of the Land Newspaper.
Short Street Store is a charming café that has won over locals in a big way with its homemade snacks, breakfast and lunch menus.
Veldt Restaurant is contemporary dining with a seasonal menu, only a short walk from The Repose.
For drinksThe Establishment Bar is a late-night bar with cocktail hour, live music and a great selection of whiskey.
Shop atFrank + Enid, friends of The Repose, offer a hand-picked selection of ethical designer fashion and one-of-a-kind lifestyle pieces.
The one thing you loveSaddler & Co.of course! Astore co-founded by Bede and Jemima Aldridge. You can experience this world of leather for yourself and the tangible beauty of time-honoured craftsmanship. Each leather piece is made in-house and you can see directly inside to the workshop.
Get The Look
Pieces are sourced from MCM House, Armadillo & Co, Frank + Enid, Barnaby Lane, Kim Wallace Ceramics, Thonet, Hale Mercantile European linen
Image Credit: Abbie Melle photographer