Owner Tomasz Machnik had been on the property hunt for a while, but was priced out of the exorbitant Sydney market, so decided to look at homes in the Blue Mountains.
"The cabin was the first property that popped up and it was the only one I put an offer on - it was meant to be," he says. The cabin, while small and basic, backs onto National Park and has a creek running through the back garden.
"The first time I went to inspect the property, I remember being blown away by the beauty and tranquility of the place. I walked out the back to the creek and felt the most wonderful feeling."Tomasz Machnik
"I had no idea what I was about to embark on and it has been amazing. I didn’t end up renting it out full time as I initially had planned to, Airbnb ended up being how I rented it out - which allowed me to improve and enhance the cabin when it wasn’t booked out," Tomasz explains.
"I did my homework and crunched some numbers, and decided that I preferred owning something I would view as a lifestyle choice, and not a purely profit-driven decision. It was also cheaper then everything else and only took 1.5 hours to drive from the city."
While the cabin was in reasonably good condition, Tomasz set about making improvements straight away.
"When I bought the cabin it was a simple shell that stood on legs. I did a lot of cladding," he says.
Other improvements included adding barn-style doors to the three bedrooms, building a spiral staircase to connect the upstairs back deck to the outdoor area and adding an amazing deck and bar area, as well as a downstairs laundry and bathroom.
"I did a ton of the work myself, but when it came to the serious stuff, I paid professionals like builders and carpenters who I would shadow and assist," Tomasz says. "This way, over the years, I learnt a lot about how to use tools and approach design and building ideas."
The interior is warm, welcoming and has a minimalist, Scandi-style feel. The dining and living room have been furnished with mid-century pieces and colourful rugs.
"I love antique stores and have a particular love for Danish design, but I have tried to combine it with an Australiana feel with respect to Indigenous Australian culture," Tomasz says.
"It has to work and feel comfortable. I am definitely drawn to older styles of design/architecture and earthy tones/colors because of the cabin being in the mountains, surrounded by nature. I love finding pieces that come with a story and memory."
While Tomasz' cabin has been a real labour of love and has many beautiful and appealing features, it's the barn-style bar area and entertaining deck that really give the home a unique touch.
"If I had to choose my favourite aspect of the cabin, I would have to say the downstairs barn and entertaining area. I can’t believe how well it works in terms of flow," he explains.
"From cooking and preparing food upstairs in the kitchen, to be able to simply walk out onto the top, back deck and then come down the spiral staircase and onto the large bottom deck feels amazing."
"I love preparing drinks downstairs in the barn and sitting around the table in the afternoon with friends when it’s twilight. The birds come alive and the place just has the most amazing energy."Tomasz Machnik
As with most renovations, the cabin is an ever-evolving project, and Tomasz has plenty of plans for the future, including adding a new bathroom, building a new driveway and adding a hot tub and sauna out the back of the property.
And what advice would he give renovators embarking on a new project?
"Be as patient as you can, otherwise you’ll make mistakes and then have to return and do the job twice. Don’t rush into decisions. Let one project finish before jumping straight into another one.
"Having a bit of breathing space will allow new ideas to flourish, which will allow you to design clever ideas that will make your home function in a smarter way."
The Cabin is located in Katoomba, just 1.5 hours drive from Sydney. Bookings start from $175 a night. To find out more visit Airbnb.
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