Dubbed by National Geographic as one of the best surf towns in the world, Australia’s Byron Bay is that beautiful combo of hippie quaintness meets design savvy cool factor. Amidst this pristine coastline that’s complete with shipwrecks, a lighthouse and the best surfing breaks, is a collection of getaway spots known as the Byron Beach Abodes.
It’s here that Taliah Lowry lives with her hubby and three sons. Somehow while raising three boys, they’ve managed to find time to purchase, design and renovate five properties and run an absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel that’s anything but cliché. Check out what she has to say about her family’s 20-year deep labor of love.
Both passionate about real estate and kickass hotel experiences, Taliah and her husband didn’t exactly train to become boutique hotel owners. Rather, it came naturally to each of their talents, hers being an eye for design and his being a knack for real estate.
How did you end up in the boutique hotel industry?
When I met my husband fifteen years ago, he owned the Arts Factory Lodge in Byron Bay. It was a combo of backpackers’ lodging, honeymoon suite cabins, chalets, teepees, wagons, camping, and more. For our first five years together, we lived on the property and raised our two boys. Accommodation and real estate has always been our way of life. My passion has always been interiors and I was on my way to study interior design in Melbourne when I met my husband in Byron, so I never left.
We’ve bought, renovated and sold about five properties since being together. I always want a new design project and will take any excuse to move on to the next one. There are so many holiday rentals in Byron Bay (as it’s a tourist Mecca), but my friends always have difficulties finding a place to stay with a unique style and feel.
How did you get involved in the design process?
Our family had built six five-star Balinese villas a few years ago, but I was too busy having babies to do any of the initial design work and so my in-laws designed them. In the last few months, I finally got my hands on them and restyled and rebranded the lot, transforming them from old Bali style to tropical luxe. My husband and I also took over management of the properties.
At what point did the real estate start to pan into a hotel collection?
Well, five years ago, we bought a large block by the beach with an original fishing cottage. Naturally, while being heavily pregnant, we moved into the cottage and did a massive renovation! With three kids in tow, we eventually grew out of the small cottage and built a bigger home on the back half of the block, which we call Magnolia. We also added a little studio, called the Chapel.
We now rent out the Cottage and the Chapel for holiday rentals and occasionally our own home, Magnolia, during school holidays. So, without much planning, we found ourselves basically having a little holiday rental business with our own properties.
Confused about what’s what? Here’s the skinny. There are 5 luxury villas nearby and 3 darling houses on the block, all suited for different needs and all decorated to ultimate dopeness.
The Pineapple Cottage has 3 bedrooms and a plunge pool – it’s the original fishing cottage with some major upgrades, both practically and stylistically. It’s charming and historical with a modern edge.
The Chapel is perfect for couples looking for some much needed post-wedding slumber. This space was designed as a loft studio of new construction, utilizing old repurposed materials like old brick, salvaged wood beams and more. Taliah explains, “the chapel came about from wanting to use an old stain glass window we had in storage for many years and having to come up with a small space to fit on the property. I have always wanted to live in the city and experience the New York loft-style apartment, so the chapel is a fusion of the city loft concept and relaxed Byron living.”
The largest house, Magnolia House, has 4 bedrooms, a saltwater pool and a gorgeous outdoor area. This is the house Taliah’s family live in when they’re in Byron Bay.
The Villas of Byron are the newly decorated lodges with options of one or two bedrooms. Each are complete with their own pool and outdoor shower.
Design Highlights of Byron Beach Abodes
It’s not everyday that you see old and new elements combined in a way that’s so aesthetically pleasing. Taliah is an internet shopping whiz and found a ton of decorative accents online.
What architectural elements did you bring in to make the new spaces feel like they have history to them?
We sourced 100 year old brick for the chapel, found old timber beams in Queensland, ordered antique lights from Belgium on Etsy, sourced handmade copper tiles, and we got the industrial barn doors on eBay. Even the glass door handles are vintage from Canada. We used antique doors that came out of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, timber beams from Queensland, fishing traplights from Africa, and we got some antique ship lights and port holes.
It sounds like you searched high and low for the right pieces. Did you do that because you had a specific customer in mind?
I never really thought of who I was designing for. It was more of my own design passion, creating a place where I would want to stay with texture and a mix of styles infused in one property.
Types of Events the Venue is Ideal For
Weddings, Wedding Reception, Birthday Party, Anniversary, Vow Renewal, Corporate Event, Holiday Party, Family Reunions, Workshops, Engagement Party, Rehearsal Dinner, Vow Renewal
The family’s newest project is Pink Flamingo Byron Bay, which will be a Palm Springs inspired motel in the heart of Byron. If it’s anything like the rest of the properties they’ve touched, this one is sure to be epic.
The abodes are about a block away from the beach and a quick walk to town. Check out Top Shop Café for breakfast, Clarkes Beach for surfing, take a walk to the old lighthouse. There’s a farmer’s market on Thursday mornings that’s also worth popping by.