Maggie Dylan and Julian Kelly are the owners of the much-loved cafes, Folk, Byron Bay and Woods, Bangalow.
“We started Folk in what was maybe the rough area of Byron at the time. We took on the lease without having visited the building (rookies). The first day of renovations, we took the big grated security bars off the windows and cut a giant hole in the frontage for our barn door. Our neighbours were aghast (were we crazy, everything will get stolen, this isn’t going to work in this area etc). When they discovered we would only be serving vegetarian food, their jaws dropped even further. But we felt like it was the best area for it. A little community garden. Everything we knew in Byron at the time felt like such a tourist trap, we wanted to create an inclusive space for locals to hang like we wish existed when we lived here previously. Something that reflected the values of the area.”
“When we first started, we were just a bunch of gritty kids and old hippies lounging on the lawn sipping coffees and sharing what was really restaurant quality food, from an old shack out the front of a caravan park. Haha. Now our family laughs and calls it the machine. Byron has had massive growth in that time and sometimes it feels as though Folk has come to represent an aspect of Byron in itself – we constantly get reactions of “oh my gosh, this is so Byron”, but really, nothing in Byron was like it when we started. We feel like, “well, actually it’s so Folk”. Our feelings about which are forever changing. What we do is such an extension of who we were at the time, it’s been wild to see that become commodified. Byron as a town holds much more of a consumer culture than it did then. Or perhaps we have just grown and opened our eyes to it. I guess when we started Folk, we were 24 years old and had a vision of this little bohemian garden cafe. I’m not sure we could have pulled it off if we were older at the time. I’m glad we did.”
I guess when we started Folk, we were 24 years old and had a vision of this little bohemian garden cafe. I’m not sure we could have pulled it off if we were older at the time. I’m glad we did.
Their home is in a converted barn in the Byron hinterland. “We have lived in a beautiful barn in Coorabell for about 3 or 4 years, which we found by chance in the local paper. It’s been a special place for us and it’s walls are filled with many memories. We cook here, play music here, read and riff on about all things art, business, love and life. “We feel very lucky to be here. Our landlord’s are amazing and the property is a bit of a mix of wild beauty and considered design. We live together with Cohen (our dog) and his brother Len (cat). We don’t get to spend much time at home because we work so much, but when we are here, we are gardening, cooking and reading together.”
“We like to keep the home itself pretty loose. I have the attention span of a goldfish and we can both be quite messy so our home space needs to accommodate that. It is our office/bedroom/art studio/kitchen. It has housed us lovingly. It housed us as our businesses grew and we needed that sanctuary, it housed my Dad in some of the final moments of his life while we cared for him. It has housed us in love and in grief.”
It has housed us lovingly. It housed us as our businesses grew and we needed that sanctuary, it housed my Dad in some of the final moments of his life while we cared for him. It has housed us in love and in grief.
“Lenny and Cohen are our adopted kitten and pup. We adopted them in Fitzroy, a year apart. Lenny was found as a newborn in a storm water drain, we adopted him from our local vet and brought him home with us when he was big enough for them to be confident in his health. He is a sassy pleasure, quick and elegant and rules our household (and lords over his much larger but younger little brother). Cohen was adopted when a couple who had already taken him home hadn’t realised he would grow larger – he was a small ball of flop that has continued to grow for 5 years, he’s now almost as tall as me when he stands up. He is our absolute joy, my very fierce protector and keeper of the ball. Lenny and Cohen have a sweet relationship. They play wrestle in the morning and then Cohen will sit and groom Lenny on the head for as long as Len will allow it.
Maggie & Jules open bedroom featuring our duvet & pillow slips in tobacco
The photograph above the bed is an aerial of the Murray River region meeting the sea. “We originally picked up the picture in order to use the beautiful old frame, but once we got it home we were so enamoured with the image we couldn’t bring ourselves to remove the print. The glass on the front is a bit frosted, and as a result the tones in the image change throughout the day depending on how the light is falling around it.”
“Our book and record collection is very special as are our plants, most of which we adopted when they were so young back in our previous Melbourne life. Everything in our home is pretty special to us. We don’t like to bring anything into our space unless we already have a purpose or place for it. There is no storage, so everything is ‘on display’ so to speak. Our books and music collection are precious to us as they are sentimental and provide us with the connection to the outside world (living in the hills of Byron is very isolating !)”
“My favourite piece of furniture is the old Japanese door we use as our bed head. It has the most incredible patina, I love laying down to sleep with it. If you look closely, you can see what I assume are the carpenter’s original notes. I’m waiting for a Japanese friend to decipher them for me.” Jules.
“My favourite objects are my macrame pieces, which were made by my Dad in the 70s during a long stay in hospital. They hold much sentiment for me now.” Maggie.
“The big tub was already in the barn. It was the only fixture other than the kitchen. We love sitting in it in the rain.”