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Our Conscious Space: Jamie Mckeen, Wild and Seek

Jamie Mckeen, his partner Bec and their business partner (and good friend) Rhys Allen established Wild and Seek as a personal dream – as a space that reflects their mutual passions and unique skillsets, and allows them a little time out from the rush of city life. Rhys’s experience in sustainable architecture, Jamie’s passion for purpose-driven ecotourism and Bec’s passion for the finer things in life – high-end design, quality local food and (crucially) good wine – combined to help them create a boutique, eco-luxe escape perfect for those looking to disconnect from the day to day chaos, but not without a good cup of coffee. The off-grid cabin in the New South Wales tablelands is built from sustainable materials in a way that celebrates the stunning rural setting, but the concessions to luxury are ever present: with “essentials” covering everything from yoga mats to portable speakers to organic loose leaf tea.

We spoke with Jamie about the inspiration behind the space, and the importance of making indulgence environmentally responsible.

 

Tell us about what Wild & Seek means to you as a place.

Wild and Seek is a place for us to switch off and unwind from our busy city lives and is a unique location for both rest and exploration by simply being off the beaten track and in touch with nature.

The world is changing so rapidly and sometimes it becomes difficult to take stock and reflect on who we are, where we have come from and where we are going. Wild and Seek provides a place to immerse yourself in a wilderness escape. 

Wild & Seek

 

The ethos of Wild & Seek is very much about celebrating and connecting with the natural environment. Can you tell us about the decision to create the space?

We have a mission to provide a luxury wilderness getaways to hard-working, city-living experience seekers who crave all their usual creature comforts but long for a setting that allows them to pause and enjoy the peace and calm. We worked tirelessly through the design process to ensure every aspect of the cabin is environmentally friendly and self-sufficient, minimising its footprint on the land and allowing guests to experience what it means to be off grid with a sumptuous twist.

Wild & Seek

 

The space itself is spectacular, can you tell us about the design and building process? Which companies did you work with and why?

Our main goal was to always provide our wild seekers with an immersive wilderness experience. With this in mind, we wanted to create a sense of connection and wonder from inside the cabin to the breathtaking view outside the cabin. We did this through the use of multiple windows each giving their own unique perspective of the views. The use of natural timbers and a muted palette also helps constantly draw the eye outside to soak up the natural beauty of the cabins cabin’s surroundings.

One of our founders, Rhys, owns and operates Viking Built, a design and construction company with a special interest in unique renovations. Therefore, we could keep the whole design and build process in-house and stay true to our design vision and values. A fair portion of the materials used to build the cabin come from sustainable forests local to the area, some of which you can actually see from the cabin’s back veranda. 

Wild & Seek

 

Where did the motivation for a sustainable approach come from, and how have you seen this impact Wild & Seek?

From the beginning of the project, we had always wanted our cabin to be completely off-grid. Not only to minimise the impact it would have on the land and environment but also so it was totally immersed in the wild so that our guests could feel disconnected and in touch with nature as soon as they arrived.

It feels great knowing that we have created a luxury space all while minimising the impact we have on the ecosystem. Our guests only have positive things to say about the fact that we are completely off grid. Initially we thought our green loo would not be everyone’s cup of tea, but all guests have been pleasantly surprised with how unnoticeable the difference is. Eco-tourism as a segment has really grown in Australia and tourists are actively choosing experiences that align to their own personal goals which are commonly to be environmentally conscious in what they do, buy and consume. For us, Wild and Seek is a brand that encapsulates this ethos.

Wild & Seek

 

What about Wild & Seek are you most proud of?

As you can imagine, there were a few unexpected hiccups during the project. As a team I think one of our proudest moments was when we moved the cabin to its new home and prepared for our first guests to check in. The location was exactly what we had envisioned, and it felt great to see the end product of all our hard work. To create a space where guests can really unplug and connect with themselves, especially in these testing times has been such an honour. Moreover, the collaborations we have with local producers is essentially creating a micro-economy by directly connecting urban consumers with rural providers. This has been so rewarding and we aim to continue adding and exploring options to guests in a bid to grow our Wild and Seek family. 

Wild & Seek


You’re incorporating some really beautiful luxury elements into the space and the
stays, how did you decide what was important as part of the Wild & Seek experience?

We love travelling and have all had our fair share of experiences around the world. When we came together to plan the cabin design and the Wild and Seek experience, we felt it was really important to find a balance between luxury comfort in a rugged, natural setting. Each decision was carefully made with context to the environment and what we were trying to achieve. Who knew compromising with trade-offs is such a tough skill to apply when you’re at that stage of the design! 

I am so happy with where we landed on the interior design and quality of products. Working with a small space meant we had to be smart with our decisions and choice of products to create the right feel. 

Wild & Seek

 

Is there one particular memory that speaks to the magic of the space?

For sure – one memory sticks out in my mind was earlier this year when I had managed get there for a night. It was my favourite time of the day: the sun was setting and the sky was pink. The fire pit was just starting to get going when all of sudden, the wildlife went nuts with beautifully coloured birds flying over the deck followed by a herd of over ten kangaroos. These all passed by the cabin, while I watched from the deck with a glass of pinot – by far one of the best evenings so far this year.

 

To book your stay at Wild and Seek, visit wildandseek.com.au , and for wanderlust in the meantime, follow them on Instagram @wildandseek

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