Ronnen Goren, Daylesford VIC
Images by Terence Chin
The Daylesford Longhouse is a project between Architects Partners Hill, and home owners Trace Streeter and Ronnen Goren. The property in Central Victoria houses a small farm, garden kitchen, cooking school, events venue and their home - most of which is contained in a long and singular, 110 metre shed. It's such a unique structure and ambitious project that it was the focus of an episode of Grand Designs Australia in 2018. We visited this incredible property, and heard from Ronnen about how it came to be, the lessons learned and what's next for the farm.
“It all started after one new years eve, when we were watching back-to-back episodes of River Cottage and we realised that the vision for a new life together was embedded in the series – a project that could amalgamate my passion for hospitality, food & cooking with Trace’s passion for animal husbandry, gardening and self-sufficiency. So we set about looking for a plot in Daylesford, since we had spent much time there away on weekends in an attempt to sustain a long-distance relationship of four years.”
IN BED navy pinstripe bedding.
“We were challenged by how long it takes to build a vision. It has been nearly a decade to bring this to fruition; and with the prospect of initiating the Cooking School and Events, we have the next stage of vision to realise and bring to fruition. A surprise has been some of the wonderful people we have met and made friends with along the way.”
We were challenged by how long it takes to build a vision.
“There are so many things that we love about this house, but the intricate details are just so extraordinary. The tactility in the range of materials and textures. Colour would also have to be a strong point; contrasted by the ever verdant garden inside that makes for a wonderland.”
“What has been amazing is the integrated elements, Timothy (the Architect from Partners Hill) has designed everything from the drapery and upholstery to the loose furniture. Going on this journey with him has been amazing and enlightening, for he has been able to make something sublime from the most mundane materials – it is never about marble or expensive architectural hardware. One good example is how the doors use architectural mouldings for handles and handrails. Probably, the most expensive investment was the Mulberry Wood Duck Velvet Curtain that is used to section off the entry and retain warmth. He also did an extraordinary job of picking the delicate but beautiful white glass light-fittings in Belgium which he brought back with him.”
“It has been a journey to realise a vision of self-sufficiency. Building farm systems from water management, composting, feed & fodder development through to selecting and building our breeding stock. We had a naive idea that this would happen in a year; and still to this day, nine years on we continue to learn and hone these systems. We had always maintained our interest in on-going life learning and what this project would yield for us.”
It has been a journey to realise a vision of self-sufficiency.
“When we talked about our vision and what we wanted to achieve the selection of a smart and talented architect was paramount; the program and complexity of what we wanted out of the Longhouse, was not an easy brief.”
“The issues of Climate, Wind, Water and economical farming practices were complex issues to respond to. As such we looked at 5 models for the house – but the idea of a long container for everything was the most logical and economical answer. It not only managed to provide something that was efficient and economical, but it also contends with the Australian condition and challenges the way in which other Australian architects throughout history have dealt with rural conditions. What has also been amazing – is that the design partnership and time, has allowed us to build progressively, evolving the scheme over time as we lived there, testing out the systems and how they worked with the environment.”
The design partnership and time, has allowed us to build progressively, evolving the scheme over time as we lived there, testing out the systems and how they worked with the environment.
“On a farm, there is always a new project. A glass house for seed raising is the next endeavour, and we are moving our pigs to new paddocks and to make way for goats. But the main focus is programming events for 2020 and launching our new website. I have been banking so many exciting ideas over the past decade, that I don’t know where to start.”