Home Home This Week’s Airbnb Listing: Heartwood Cottage, Stirling

This Week’s Airbnb Listing: Heartwood Cottage, Stirling


Dating back to the 1850s, this tiersman’s cottage has been restored and expanded, creating the perfect mix of old and new. Nestled in the peace and quiet of the Adelaide Hills, it serves as an ideal base for exploration, or a welcome sanctum away from the everyday grind.

I spoke with host, James, and Pauline Hurren, the Adelaide architect responsible for designing this property back to life.

How did Heartwood Cottage come to be in your family?

Pauline: A couple of years ago, my son and son-in-law were looking for an investment property to renovate. Heartwood Cottage had been on the market for a long time, most likely because it was derelict, and the land was quite steep. Being an architect, I could see the potential.

How long did the renovation take and what challenges did you face?

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Pauline: A bit over a year. We needed to proceed carefully as there was a lot to do and I wanted to ensure the design work was compatible with the original building. The cost was more than anticipated but it needed to be done properly.

We’ll continue to establish the surrounding gardens, especially around the pool, and eventually add a garage.

What were some of the design goals?

Pauline: I wanted to use as many natural materials as possible. We excavated the slope as part of the extension, allowing one of the bedrooms to have a stone-work wall. I’ve used minimal tiles, preferring cement tiles dyed to soft colours.

What do you feel are the property’s best features?

Pauline: The conservatory. For living, all spaces in the house are interesting, but there’s nothing like sitting under glass. A beautiful oak tree provides shade during the summer. When designing the renovation, I didn’t want to overwhelm the quaintness of the original structure and using glass was a good way to do this.Was listing the property on Airbnb the intention from the start?

Pauline: Being an investment, yes. We wanted the best exposure to ensure we were covering the extension costs. We were planning on selling the property after a year or so, but due to the great response, we’ve hung onto it for a while longer. We would consider selling in the next few months if we found the right buyer.

Who stays?

James: It’s mostly families on holidays or groups visiting for functions. Our per-night-rate is very competitive compared to booking multiple hotel rooms, and everyone can stay together. We’re also a popular choice for city dwellers holding dinner parties and just wanting to get away for the weekend.

Around popular sporting and cultural events, we attract further bookings once city accommodation options are exhausted.

After the extreme heat during the Tour Down Under, we’ve had more enquiries from parties who previously stayed in the city. The slightly cooler temperatures in the hills are more appealing, and they can take advantage of the pool.

Check out Heartwood Cottage on Airbnb here or on their website.

For more information on the Heartwood Cottage renovation project, click here.