Lambs Valley

Reset & Forget

PERched atop a mountain overlooking picturesque farmland, Valley Ridge House in lambs Valley is a place to relax and recharge.

As soon as you drive into Lambs Valley, a secluded pastoral paradise in the Lower Hunter, you feel the urge to take your foot off the accelerator, wind down the windows and breath in the fresh, eucalyptus scented country air. Your shoulders relax. You begin to feel centred again. You’ve traded life in the fast lane for life in the stationary lane, at least for now. And now is all that matters. 

Cruising deeper into the valley, you take in the bucolic scenes of rolling green hills, cows grazing lazily in paddocks and bush-covered mountains until you reach the three kilometres of dirt road that leads to your destination – Valley Ridge House. The dreamchild of Newcastle couple Jenny and Scott Nicholas, this architect designed, contemporary holiday house has been conceived as the ultimate offgrid retreat, a place where you can switch off from the outside world and focus on recharging yourself, not your phone.

 

I stood on the escarpment and said where do we sign?

Lambs Valley

Situated on 110 acres of magnificent bushland, the house sits elegantly on the escarpment overlooking the valley below. With two light-filled queen bedrooms (both with ensuites), a fully equipped kitchen and stylish open plan living spaces, the house is perfect for two to four adults pining for a relaxed, romantic weekend away in the wilderness.

“Our guests come here to chill,” according to Jenny Nicholas. “Most of them have nothing planned and never go anywhere else. It’s enough to just lounge on the daybed or in the pool, or sip on a glass of your favourite wine by the outdoor firepit or indoor fireplace, as you watch the colours of the landscape change during the day.”

If you love animals, you’re in for a special treat. Stroll around the property and chances are you’ll be greeted by the resident horses Benny, Dallas and Wrangler who are always up for a bit of interaction with the guests. You might also spot Australian King-Parrots, Wedge-tailed Eagles, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and echidnas.

lambs valley
lambs valley

Designed by Newcastle architect Murray James, the layout of the house takes advantage of its commanding mountaintop position with valley views from every room. It has a light, airy, minimalist feel with a touch of warmth provided by the earthy tones and textures of natural materials like wood and stone.

After searching far and wide for the right builder, the Nicholases found Ben Kavanagh from Modern Traditional, a construction company based in the Maitland area. “Ben did an amazing job in very challenging conditions – the site is remote, and we had a lot of rain. All the joinery and some of the furnishings were created by Wildflower Furniture, with design ideas for the kitchen provided by us. The plunge pool was designed and built by Harvest Pools – an essential part of the home on hot summer days,” Nicolas says.

Reflecting on when she and her husband Scott discovered the property, Nicholas says it was love at first sight. “There was no house, no shed, no water, no power. I’m sure most people were turned off by this, but when we pulled up, I stood on the escapement and said where do we sign?”

lambs valley
lambs valley

Valley Ridge House is only a 50-minute drive from Newcastle, but it feels like you’re a million miles from nowhere. To get there, take the Hunter Expressway, then head through Luskintyre or Branxton towards Lambs Valley. From there, it’s only 40 minutes to the popular Hunter Valley wineries if you feel like a day trip. But as soon as you slow down and settle into this idyllic hideaway where time stands still, you probably won’t want to leave.

Valley Ridge House, Lambs Valley

336 High Country Rise, Lambs Valley NSW 2335

 
PHOTOGRAPHY | STORIES WITH MEL
WORDS  | Colin SevitT