Lower Portland: 'The Church House' weekend
Drive just over an hour outside of Sydney CBD towards Lower Portland and you will find that the scenery gets better and better with every passing time. Within this rural suburb, two rivers meet; The Hawkesbury and The Colo, and here dwells an 1880's weatherboard church, previously disused, and now lovingly restored to become the home of husband and wife, Elise and Pablo, along with their six-year old daughter, Loulou.
My husband and I spent two glorious nights and three lazy days here, getting to know the house and its history a little better. Upon arrival, we explored every room, taking in every intrequite detail; from the hidden antique treasures decorated throughout, to the vintage fine china from France — it was easy to tell that Elise and Pablo were a well-travelled pair.
The next morning was our only full day spent in the church home. On this day, a handful of our friends were arriving by noon and we were very excited to host a lunch with some of our nearest and dearest. We were up at the crack of dawn, trimming and arranging flowers I had bought from the flower markets the day before, setting the table, and preparing food.
Once our company arrived, cheers were all around. We ate and mingled inside the church before making our way to the backyard where we all sat under a blossoming jacaranda tree. Here we stayed eating dessert, drinking wine, and talking for hours on end until the sun began to set over the hills.
The next day, before leaving this delightful home behind us, we met with Elise and Pablo. I interviewed them for a piece I am writing for work on interesting home conversions, as they shared their tale of a love at first sight encounter with the church. They also shared their renovation story and the memories they have created here together as family.
When it was time to leave, I couldn't help but feel lucky to have created memories here of my own. You can read the piece I wrote for Domain here.