Akin to your own private island and a nod to that distinct ‘Wabi-Sabi’ notion of life, Micalo Yamba is a fortunate journey in design that transcends the limitations of its wide-open surrounds. Unlike many luxurious stays, you will fully languish in every aspect of Micalo’s sprawling expanses and make memories that are none other than magnificently yours, writes Cameron Pine.
There are few venues with the unlimited versatility and that dreamy feel like Micalo, whether it’s a family stay, a special occasion or a large-scale event, Micalo Yamba is a highly personalised labour of love, a design journey of individuality and an execution of eccentricity we can all enjoy and learn from.
Positioned almost in two parallel worlds – the warmth and welcome of a mountain lodge at this 100 acre lot is fused with the relaxed whimsy of that beachside bright-washed linen blowing in the breeze. If you were to summarise these two highly sensual yet conflicting silhouettes at once, Micalo is your clarity.
At Micalo, the interior design is a little off centre, an escape from the regular and a lesson in how to avoid brand or design exhaustion. No corner, room, picture or décor piece at Micalo is positioned how we are often used to – the hardest part is deciding which room suits you best or how to spend your time in one of the various zones for entertainment or relaxation in a destination built for a multitude of uses.
When you think of a small beachside town like Yamba, the mind immediately jumps to beachside boho furnishings, a coat of fresh white pain and that rustic or rusty seaside finish, a token ocean print and that pared back vibe we are so often used to by the water – but not at Micalo. Its mountain lodge meets European library meets the very unique lifestyle thousands flock to northern NSW for each year.
Micalo has a moody disposition but cuts out the serious for loads of fun at every corner with an inherent juxtaposition of trend and touch, the old and new and the balance of shape, texture and order. Its owners and designers have poured countless hours and energy into to ensure there is nothing quite like it.
“Every single guest so far has even said it’s much nicer than the images and website portrays. We have poured our health and soul into Micalo. It is definitely a labour of love,” said owner Taliah Lowry.
Guests can expect a private sanctuary for an entire family or a group of friends. It really is up to each guest to make the most of every space that leaves no stone unturned. Where most luxury accommodation skimps in some areas, Micalo turns up the velocity to ensure you are left in awe over every single experience. Picking up where personal service often falls short, every element has been heart-designed by its owner.
More detail ensures the need for more maintenance, yet Micalo is flawlessly expressed and articulated every step of the way. Convenience and placement has won the long-winded battle to cost at Micalo in what one would say is the ultimate muse to your dreamy desires in a holiday.
Beyond the headstone welcoming guests at 60 Micalo lies pristine surrounds, mature trees, a golf course, putt putt, a volleyball set up, half-court basketball grounds, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, table tennis, a sauna with built in Sonos stereo and a heated pool and a spa at a toasty 40 degrees. There’s plenty to do at Micalo, and that’s beyond the walls of an incredibly open plan home design that maximises the outside in from whatever perspective.
Inside, the silhouettes and textiles are a play between black and moody accents, natural woods, stone and furnishings from modern to almost antique sitting side by side in harmony. Flooded with natural light, skylights in the bathrooms and lots of space, Micalo has taken the time and energy to achieve mood lighting everywhere, not just indoors but also out into the various entertainment spaces, such as fire pits and custom daybeds. The festoon lights over an outdoor under the stars dining experience just adds fun to a very sophisticated home.
Explore scent with Le Labo body care in every wet area and meander table after table with magazines and books in any genre. The true showpiece being is the four-metre-plus custom designed coffee table and lounge suite designed for lazing around among a smattering of luxury textiles – linens, wool and luxury fabrics that continue to each and every bedroom and seat in the home. A homage to a library type atmosphere, it’s no wonder Micalo is highly reviewed, and families and large groups are welcome, including your beloved pet on request.
Somehow perfecting that delicate balance between privacy and a feeling of community, each area of the home, including the round breakfast bar table, has been designed with a sense of community, love and care – indicative of the very name itself. Timber beams, soft lighting and adjustability in everything speaks to everyone’s personal style of living.
Capturing the true essence of the northern rivers, the relaxed offerings of nearby Yamba is only minutes away, but Micalo also has the vibe of a private island estate where nobody can be seen. It’s no wonder the website is scattered with glowing reviews of guests saying it’s the best family holiday or stay they’ve ever had, with entertainment and nirvana on tap for everyone on board.
Six king bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a separate out house or studio with a master king, two singles and sprawling bunks that encompass an entire wall, it really is a wonderland for all creatures great and small. You can explore every edge of the property on the complimentary golf buggy.
With years of love and experience invested into the project, the layered home took two years to build, with an entire year of planning before the building process began to ensure it was as unique as originally envisioned.
“We spent countless hours of sourcing and researching to create unique spaces within the one home,” Taliah said. “Sourcing unique one-off pieces from all over the world, designing and having most of the furniture custom made was a long process but worth the result especially when guests appreciate the dream is in the detail.”
Taliah and her husband Sein Lowry were definitely a dynamic duo through every step of the project – as the co-founders of Byron Beach Abodes, the couple is very much the vision reflected within Byron Beach Abodes’ unique offering in the market. This managing company keeps Micalo looking its best. This same team are also responsible for the renovation rebuild of the sophisticated staycation mecca, The Bower Byron Bay.
Taliah was born on Legian Beach in Indonesia and was living abroad by the age of 12. Being exposed to the rawness of India, North America, including California, Washington State, Hawaii, and, of course, her hometown of Byron Bay in Australia has no doubt distinctly influenced her style, whimsy and appreciation of the eclectic.
The duo, having spent time between Byron Bay and New Zealand, alongside Micalo, have also recently built properties ‘The Lodge’ and ‘The Cabin’. Their styles combine that beachside feel that Sein has experienced since growing up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with a real deep influence from cultures beyond what we usually see in one location.
Greg Lyons is behind the build. Beyond just a builder, Greg is responsible for ensuring the magic of unique spaces and, with that, the vision Taliah and Sein had for Micalo was realised. The home’s architecture was driven by John Burgess, while the interiors and fit out were very much a passion project beyond convention for Taliah. With a personal passion that drew blood at almost every step, Taliah also worked with Belle Hemming Bright who helped sourced a lot of the vintage art, treasures and fabrics. Based in Melbourne, she brought that international old-world feel to a commonly stark beachside aesthetic.
You’ll also find hand-made ceramics and varying bathroom tiles from green marble, whitewash grey stone, to traditional shapes and timbers that seem to celebrate the ancient philosophy of the Wabi-Sabi and its appreciation of the imperfect. Hanging bedside, pendants and lamps from ultra-modern to art deco and everything in between change room to room. Wool loop rugs, statement tapware with an old-world charm and custom daybeds, linen and velvety textiles in juxtaposition, furniture and so much more – it’s more than you’d ever expect from accommodation.
Merging luxury with leisure, Micalo was built with health and wellbeing in mind, it’s a place that could be used as a retreat for family and friends or corporate gatherings. Originally the studio was going to be a hot Pilates room but Taliah decided they needed the extra space for accommodation. Having a pool, spa, sauna and an ice bath coming soon, Taliah is constantly looking for ways to enhance the experience.
Taliah and her husband are one of the few artisans left that pour personal love and care into a destination that’s open to everyone. If that me-too style holiday accommodation is your pet-hate, Micalo is your muse.
For more information visit www.micalo.com.au
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