Welcome to Sun Ranch, a sun-soaked hotel near Byron Bay designed by lifelong friends Jamie Blakey and Julia Ashwood. Rooted in a shared vision that blossomed upon discovering the sprawling 55-acre Coopers Shoot property, Sun Ranch has recently opened its doors, embodying the free-spirited allure of ’70s Californian ranch houses infused with a touch of Spanish influence.
Fuelled by the collective creativity of a diverse group of visionaries, this project embodies the spirit of communal gathering and storytelling within its design. As guests step into Sun Ranch, they’ll find themselves immersed in a blend of warmth, creativity, and a touch of nostalgia. Channelling the vibe of a ’70s rock and roll afterparty, the interiors seamlessly integrate rugs from our bold Luz collection inspired by art and architecture, harmonising with the distinctive ambience of Sun Ranch’s cabins.
The design of The Whiskey Lounge within The Rambler Long House at Sun Ranch is a testament to Jamie and Julia’s vision for an inviting, stylish space. Featuring low-set designer furniture seamlessly transitioning into an alfresco undercover dining area, the lounge sets the stage for great music, exceptional design, and the perfect nightcap. At the heart of the entire space lies the Pampa rug, an original design with custom colours, serving as the timeless artistic anchor.
Tailored to awaken the passions of music lovers, foodies, creatives, wellness enthusiasts and everyone in between, Sun Ranch extends an invitation to encounter something that transcends the ordinary, sparks the imagination, and leaves an indelible mark on the soul. Undoubtedly luxurious, yet effortlessly imbued with a sense of ease, this place is designed for those seeking a truly extraordinary experience.
Jamie and Julia, Sun Ranch’s inception is a testament to the power of vision and collaboration. Can you tell us more about how this dream came to life, and the moment when the Coopers Shoot property ignited your creative journey?
Thank you, Vicky and team! It certainly felt like this property really found us. The moment we stepped out of the car it felt like a private sanctuary yet oh so close to the charming village of Bangalow and just 15 minutes to Byron’s beautiful beaches.
We knew we had come across something special and we rallied our group together to purchase the property which was then a single family brick home on 55 acres of farmland.
We’re all creatives in one way or another so the whole vision came alive almost instantly (I think we mapped the general spaces out on a coster that night!). We used to travel to the top of the land and watch the sunset and have a wine or two in the dream phase, getting to know the land, the trees, the animals here and visualising what was next.
The next step was regenerating the land starting with the planting of almost 10,000 native plants and trees. The rest grew from there, literally!
We now have a 5 room longhouse and six off-grid cabins and sleep a maximum of 34 guests.
If you had to choose one song to drive or sink in Sun Ranch which one would be?
Green Onions by Booker T. Jones is always a good one – pop on your boots and hat and step out to on the ranch!
What two or three words can describe Sun Ranch at its best?
An adult playground immersed in nature!
You have both been long-time travellers and have experienced some of the most fun and amazing places and hoteliers around the world, can you share some of the inspirations drawn from these experiences that contributed to the creation of Sun Ranch?
We certainly drew inspiration from those certain elements which really tap into your soul and pull on the heartstrings when you’re travelling. There were moments in Mexico or Montana or Ojai that felt like they really spoke to us and could be translated here at Sun Ranch.
Sun Ranch’s design reflects a ’70s ranch house with a beautiful Spanish influence. How did you hone in on this distinctive style, and what served as your primary sources of inspiration for the interiors?
Upon entering the house there was a slight hint of a sunken lounge area nestled within a hexagon-spaced room – this was enough for us to bring in those yummy elements of 70’s, which then sparked a colour palette, a playful use of materials and selection of all our eclectic interior pieces.
Music and a sense of celebration were also a great influence when designing the look and flow of the spaces.
Sun Ranch boasts a delightful array of amenities, each playfully named to embrace the communal ’70s vibe. Could you provide a glimpse of these amenities and what guests can expect from these unique experiences?
Yes. There are many great breakout spaces and areas for gathering across the ranch.
From ice baths to wood-fired cedar saunas, the field house with Argentinian BBQ and long tables for 34!
The pièce de résistance is really the PoolClub a 25m mineral pool nestled into the landscape at the heart of the 55-acre property.
We also love how many guests enjoy the sunset spot, around the open fire watching the golden glow over the Byron Hinterland.
Designing custom rugs can be an exciting creative process. How did the process of creating rugs with Pampa allow you to personalize the interiors at Sun Ranch, and what inspired the unique designs of these custom pieces?
Pampa’s products, especially their rugs are beautiful – you just have to look and feel them to see their long-lasting quality. Creating rugs with the team was great fun – it’s also especially easy when they have such beautiful fabrics, textures, patterns and colour palettes with which to choose from.
What led you to opt for a classic Pampa southwest, a more traditional style rug, in contrast to and complementing our latest Luz Campaign? Despite their distinct differences, how do you find that they blend harmoniously together?
We really thought this traditional Pampa pattern leant into the ranch concept – yet pivoting the colours to earth tones of paprika and chocolate browns drew in those 70’s feels and the Luz rugs chosen for the ranch, was the right colour combination inspired by the abstract artwork of Mark Rothko and Mexican architect Luis Barragán.
Sun Ranch is committed to eco-conscious practices, which aligns with Pampa’s dedication to organic and ethically designed products. How did you incorporate local and sustainable brands like Pampa into Sun Ranch, and what role do they play in maintaining an environmentally friendly ethos?
Sustainability is certainly at our core here. The majority of the spaces are off-grid. We are powered by solar and rainwater. In this day and era it is the only way to move forward. We have done what we can, from our hand washes to our organic cotton towels. We love supporting the local farmers and the markets sourcing all our foods – cheeses, coffees, oils, wines and so on locally. We also keep building on these elements as we grow…
We’ve also joined forces with Bangalow Koalas to plant more endemic species for Koala and the silky Black cockatoos in particular.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of bringing Sun Ranch to life, and how do you envision this enchanting oasis evolving in the future?
We can’t wait to evolve and host community-centric experiences here on the ranch. Bees, honey and mushrooms is also high on the list!
For those yet to embark on a journey to Sun Ranch, what are the key elements and experiences that make this Byron Bay haven a must-visit destination?
We would love people to leave their worries at the door as much as possible. Lighten the load and let us care for you – with all the beautiful and luxurious touch points you deserve. Let us feed your bellies and your souls. Take a horse ride, scoot around the property by e-bike, wander the creek, book a sound healing or an astrology session – push the boundaries and see where it takes you. Or just laze back poolside and enjoy a smokey Tarantino mezcal margaritas and chilled local wines and watch the day pass by.
You can choose your own adventure here at Sun Ranch.
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