Home Tour: Sun Ranch in Byron Bay is the Ultimate Creative Escape
Sun Ranch fuses the laid-back allure of a 1970s Californian ranch with a Spanish twist that delivers a truly off-beat experience.
In the Hinterland of Byron Bay lies a brand-new luxury escape that’s been dubbed the ‘hotel of good times.’ And it’s fair to say, that’s somewhat of an understatement.
Located on 55 acres of lush, rolling hills and an exclusive 350-metre creek frontage, Sun Ranch is an other-worldly oasis that seamlessly fuses the laid-back allure of a 1970s Californian ranch with a Spanish twist.
The brainchild of creative powerhouses Jamie Blakey, former Creative Director and Founder of One Teaspoon, and Julia Ashwood, Founder of The Vista, Sun Ranch was dreamt up to serve as the ultimate destination for creative souls to recharge and unwind.
“We believe the land really found us first. As soon as we stepped onto the property, the vision quickly unfolded. We called on a group of close friends who all loved the idea and two years later here we are, ready to open the Ranch doors on the first day of spring,” Jamie Blakey, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Sun Ranch beams of the project.
When the team purchased the property, there was an older-style family home they used as the initial footprint, and then built out their vision from there.
“There was a lovely shape hexagon to the common areas and the hint of a sunken lounge and circular fireplace, the design process and ’70s influence grew from here. The six, two-bedroom, off-grid barns were built from scratch, as well as both pools and the outdoor field house,” Julia Ashwood, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Sun Ranch, explains of the extensive build.
Teaming up with progressive design and construction company Balanced Earth, Jamie and Julia’s imagining strikes the perfect balance of a hotel that is both retro and current. Using a dark and moody colour palette, you can’t help but feel like you’re stepping back in time to a super cool cowboy headquarters
Or, as Julia says, “It’s the love child of Mick Jagger, Quentin Tarantino and Stevie Nicks. You’d spot Jack Kerouac scribing a novel by the fire in a cosy cabin.”
“Jamie and I have always loved the laid-back approach of Californian design. A trip to LA and Mexico during the design process truly affirmed this. We also sourced a lot of the art and furnishing on this trip which makes the space feel so unique,” Julia reveals of the styling process.
“We sourced terracotta, tiles, and marble from Italy. We also used recycled timber from a winery floor in France,” Jamie adds of their epic global hunt for one-off textures and materials.
At the heart of Sun Ranch is the 25-metre pool (aka The Pool Club) made of basalt stone with a north easterly view of the hinterland vistas. It’s a place where guests can kick back with a spicy margarita in hand and while away the day poolside.
“We drew inspiration from pools all over the world which we had fallen in love with. We wanted it to be built into the side of the land and stand completely on its own with an outlook that takes your breath away,” says Jamie.
Sustainability is Key
Sustainability has been a key focus as well with the team implementing a slew of eco-friendly touches, including planting over 10,000 native plants and trees on the property, restoring the creek system and regenerating the land.
“It's been awesome to watch so many birds return to the area. The house is a hybrid model that uses mostly solar, Tesla batteries and rainwater tanks. The six barns are completely off-grid. Each one is powered by solar and a very robust battery backup, with an individual water tank and filter system,” Julia says.
Never ones to play by the rules, Julia and Jamie want to push the envelope and give their guests an offbeat experience.
From horse riding to sound healing, restorative massages with herbs and flowers sourced from the land to cacao ceremonies, astrology readings, and fire feasts with local market-fresh foods under a full moon, guests can choose from a myriad of mind-blowing activities from the ‘Cosmic Cowboy’ menu.
“The term ‘Cosmic Cowboy’ is a sort of tongue-in-cheek take on Byron Bay and its alternative approach entwined with a ranch concept. It’s also very much all the things we love. We ultimately want to encourage guests to let their guard down, try something new, kick off their boots, leave their worries at the door and have a good time in a luxury hotel,” Julia shares.
Jamie and Julia can’t wait to welcome guests to the hotel and sprinkle a healthy serving of magic into their stay.
“Sun Ranch is a laid-back and unique approach to hotels — with all the design and luxury touch points you could wish for, just moments to Byron Bay,” Jamie reflects.
Co-Founders and Creative Directors: Jamie Blakey @jamieblakey, Julia Ashwood @the_vista @sunranch_byron
Photographer: Anson Smart @smartanson
Interior styling: Joseph Gardner @joseph_gardner
Build and Architect: Balanced Earth @balanced.earth
Landscaping: Land Company @land.company
Words: Bella Brennan @bellarosebrennan
Loved our tour of Sun Ranch and want to keep perving some of the most stylish places going around? Take a tour of Talm Beach House in Anna Bay. Then check out this gorgeous Bronte home which epitomises quiet luxury.