What is the story behind Fairlight Maison
When Janet Nguyen and husband Paul first purchased Fairlight Maison, the ‘dunny’ was outside. Now the bathroom is the biggest and most luxurious room in the house. Fairlight Maison is a historic property with a rich and fascinating history. Built in 1860 by convicts, the house was constructed using hand-chipped sandstone that was quarried from the block of land next door. At the time, Manly was primarily farmland and the house was originally a worker’s cottage. If the walls could talk, they would tell you how dramatically life has changed inside! Electricity hadn’t even been invented when the house was first built. Over the years, the house has undergone several renovations and additions, but still retains many of its original features and character. The sandstone walls are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the convicts who built the house.
How did you go about decorating Fairlight Maison
Fairlight Maison was our permanent home before we opened our doors to share it on Airbnb. The house has been in our family for over 20 years and has been lovingly restored over those years to make it our dream home. It is decorated with an eclectic mix of antique and modern furnishings. The house is filled with art and objects collected from all over the world, reflecting our love of travel and adventure. We created a home that is comfortable for us to live so that our guests can feel the same when they come to stay at the house. When you enter the house and close the door behind you, you’ll feel like you’re in a little secluded paradise cocoon where you can unwind, relax and rejuvenate.
Best places to visit
Fairlight and Manly Beach are part of Sydney Northern Beaches. It might be biased for me to say, but it is my favourite place to live in Sydney. For the heart, mind and eyes do the walk from Manly to Shelly Beach. Along the way you will pass the Fairy Bower Rock Pool which feels like the Mediterranean in the Summer. Taking the ferry from Manly to Circular Quay at sunset is the most beautiful way to see iconic Sydney. There are endless places to dine around Manly and if you are seeking good food with breathtaking views then my favourite would be breakfast at The Pantry, lunch at The Boathouse, and dinner at Hugos or The Manly Pavilion. For something more casual and intimate, where the locals gather, head to Banco Manly, a smart-casual hole-in-the-wall restaurant for a pink cocktail and delicious hearty food. Two minutes’ walk from Fairlight Maison you will find the cutest homewares store and boulangerie, Honeybee, where you can pick up the most delicious croissants this side of Paris.
Favourite time of day, favourite season and favourite spot at Fairlight Maison
Early mornings at Fairlight Maison is my favourite time of day. In the stillness of the early hours before the city wakes up you can hear the bird sings and watch the sun rises through our bedroom French doors. My favourite season is Autumn when the vines covering the front of our house turns a bright orange. My favourite spot in Autumn and Winter is sitting under the window in the lounge room opposite the fireplace. Fairlight Maison is North facing so in Winter the sun streams straight through the window of our lounge room which is in the front of the house. In Summer when the days are longer we laze in the back courtyard by the plunge pool. Tucked at the end of the pool there is a daybed that is so private that if you want that all over tan you can. Last, but not least is our main bathroom. It is the biggest and most luxurious room in the house. We wanted to create the perfect retreat from the stresses of everyday life. It’s a space where you can unwind, relax and rejuvenate, all while feeling like you are at a five-star resort.
What rituals make you feel at home, wherever you may be in the world?
Unpacking all my clothes from the suitcase and hang them all up in the wardrobe wherever we stay always makes me feel like I’m home. I hate living out of a suitcase so I even unpack all my toiletries and display them on the bathroom counter. I never leave home without my favourite candle or room spray either.
Which Southern Wild Co scent is the perfect fit for Fairlight Maison and why?
Southern Wild Co Sirens candle is the perfect scent fit for Fairlight Maison because Fairlight is an oasis to slow down and retreat from the chaos of city life. To fall in love with Fairlight Maison is to ‘love slowly like a ship full of flowers’.