When Katie Lamaro moved to Phillip Island, Victoria, nine years ago with her husband, Rom, and their three children, it was only supposed to be a short stint while Rom took on a carpentry apprenticeship with his brother. However, the young family liked it so much they decided to stay permanently. It was the wild and rugged beauty of the island, with its laidback lifestyle and friendly local community, that drew them in, as well as the lure of the ocean. In those first few years, the family was based at Smiths Beach in the island’s heart, but three years ago they moved to a five-acre working farm in Ventnor in the northwest. They had always wanted to run their own bed and breakfast, and this stunning micro-farm, with its views of Western Port Bay, became the place to make that happen.
As soon as they moved in, they started to plan out the cabins with the goal of offering guests a multisensory experience, mimicking the kind of thing the Lamaros seek out on the rare occasions they get time away from their children. With the help of Mitch Bagley of Onsite Design, they designed three high-end cabins with the same floorplan but subtly varying interiors, courtesy of interior designer Belle Bright. Rom built the cabins pretty much from scratch with his brother’s building company, Lamaro Homes, and handcrafted much of the furniture, including the Tasmanian oak beds. The result, aptly named Five Acres, feels both luxurious and deeply calming.
The details of each cabin have been carefully considered; the beds have views over farmland out to the ocean, the bespoke artworks were commissioned from local artists and the bathrooms are naturally lit by skylights. The custom-made concrete outdoor bathtubs are perfectly designed for watching the sun go down, after which a fireside G&T made with the complimentary bottle of local gin, garnished with air-dried citrus grown on site, is hard to beat.
Dotted around the farm are numerous native trees, a burgeoning orchard of fruit and nut trees, and a large organic vegie garden that supplies rhubarb for the breakfast jam. Ivy and Rory, the two Scottish Highland cows, some baby goats, chickens, sheep and a puppy named Freddy invite guests to explore the terrain with them.
Katie and Rom’s hands-on approach can be seen throughout the property. Between running the children to daycare, school and after-school activities, they can be found most days feeding the animals, sorting the compost, tending the vegetable garden, mowing lawns, maintaining the cabins (Rom), making grazing platters as well as jam and muesli for breakfasts (Katie), and hosting guests. In creating Five Acres, the Lamaros have built the life they sought nearly a decade ago when they moved to this windy paradise. And it suits them perfectly.