It’s unsurprising that a space created by Pru Chapman – the force behind Owners Collective and our favourite podcast One Wild Ride – is completely and utterly perfect.
In its current incarnation, Lennox Outpost is an architecturally designed one bedroom cabin: a cavernous, striking space meticulously designed to celebrate beautiful design and the natural magnificence of nature.
A three metre window fills the far end of the cabin, opening up to views across the hills of Lennox Head and the ocean beyond. In the afternoon, sunlight floods in through the windows that line the east side of the cabin, and shadows of waves dance across the whitewashed wall above the tan leather sofa and the perfectly busy coffee table. This standalone cabin is just the beginning. We stayed at Lennox Outpost for a night of deep rest, and in the morning, sat down with Pru to talk about the story behind the space, and her vision for what’s next.
You’re a very busy woman: a producer, podcaster, business mentor, consultant, partner, sister, daughter, dog mama. Tell us about the decision to step into the accommodation game and create Lennox Outpost
Everything starts with a vision. My vision with Lennox Outpost ultimately is to create a place that celebrates and facilitates the three words I live by: connection, consciousness and expansion. I want to create a collection of cabins, permaculture gardens, meditation spaces and connection points somewhere in the hills around Lennox, as a sustainable, expansive centre for meditation retreats.
This cabin is a space for our friends and family to come and connect with nature, with each other; to rest and recalibrate. It’s a place for the people we love to come and slow down, to watch sunrises and sunsets and swim in the ocean and sit around the fire at the end of a busy day in nature. And it’s also our testing ground: exploring what providing this kind of space looks like before stepping up the scale.
So the plan ultimately is to create a space for connection, tell us about your thoughts on the value of connection, and how spaces can act as a conduit
Fernando [my partner] and I have travelled so much and have had so many amazing experiences, but the most enriching experiences occur when a group of consciously inclined people get together and just talk around a campfire.
For generations, people have gathered and connected around fires, and creating a central meeting place for people from all walks of life to connect feels like an important mission, especially now when it’s easy to lose the kind of connection that’s really valuable to us as humans. Shared time is so important for the progression of relationships, but so is space. Space really holds the energy and vision for the kinds of conversations that help us grow and expand.
How do you think connection and conversation tie into sustainability?
There is a certain type of magic that happens when people connect. Whether it’s to each other, to nature, or to themselves, a greater sense of connection embodies a sense of peace. When we achieve a greater sense of peace, we start to work in flow with one another and our environment, which further drives our desire to protect it.
Coming to a place like this, taking off your shoes and connecting to the earth, allows your whole system to deeply relax.
I see our family and friends coming out of the city, and they get here and they just drop in. That’s how we make the ripples of change: through lived experience, and the meeting of conscious, like-minded communities. Lennox Outpost is this for now, but this is just the beginning – the taste test.
The mission to connect people with themselves, other people, and the world we interact with permeates everything we do.
Tell us about the process of designing and building Lennox Outpost
We wanted the design to celebrate nature as much as possible: high ceilings and natural air flow and windows that let in the light and the birdsong. Our architect, the wonderful Jacqui (from local architecture firm Seven Mile Architects) encouraged us to capitalise on the outlook we enjoy from our own kitchen, a view that opens up across the hills towards the ocean at Broken Head. We then engaged Grant Build Co and the design and build process occurred throughout 2020/2021, which was a wild ride in itself. We completed the fit out in September, just in time for summer, which is ideal.
The decor is so calming and beautiful, tell us about your inspiration in terms of design
A friend of mine – Em McPherson of The Plant Room – once gave me some wonderful advice: if you fill your home with pieces that you love, pieces that mean something to you, the end result will work perfectly because it comes from a place of authenticity, and is a true reflection of you. I truly use that as my guiding light: piecing things together that I feel drawn to. For me, that includes using a lot of natural materials, ceramics, plants, and handcrafts that support small local businesses and makers. Again, it’s all about the connection we feel to something, it’s not just about a piece looking good. I moved around a lot when I was growing up, and lived in a bunch of different houses. Now that I’ve got a bit more control over my space it’s really important for it to feel grounded and calm, and natural materials help me feel that sense of calm on a real, deep level.
How did you incorporate a sustainable approach into the design?
Right from the design stage we worked with Seven Mile Architects to make sure that the cabin fitted into the landscape. Within the design we make the most of natural lighting, cross ventilation and natural breezes, as well as incorporating solar panels to ensure a minimal impact stay. Inside the cabin we carefully choose items that support local small businesses (many of whom are friends) as well as companies that have a commitment to sustainable practices.
The brands we use include Mayde Tea, Koala, Worn Store, Tigmi Trading, Nouvelle Nomad, Bed Threads linen, Pop and Scott, Cisco and the Sun, Real Fun Wow, and many more.
Operationally, what are the steps you take with sustainability in mind more generally at Lennox Outpost?
I believe that when people stay with us, there’s a unique opportunity to step them into a more sustainable and connected lifestyle. With this direct experience, people can feel what it’s like to be more considerate of their natural environment, and implement changes into their regular lifestyle. I think our greatest contribution to sustainability is helping people feel differently about the way they interact with the world.
Operationally, the cabin is solar powered, we have recycling and composting in place (we have a very happy worm farm!), and we plant a tree for every stay. We’re in the process of landscaping now and have restored our once very weed-barren land into a humming little oasis featuring native trees and shrubs, as well as fruit trees and new veggie patches. It’s abundant in bees and butterflies, which again just feels good. I’m a firm believer in cultivating a regenerative relationship with our land, so that we give more than we take.
What about Lennox Outpost are you most proud of?
For me, it’s the opportunity to help guests live by the words that guide my life: consciousness, connection and expansion.
What would a perfect day at Lennox Outpost look like?
A perfect day would start naturally, with the body deciding to wake with the sun across the hills and the birdsong through the windows. You’d start the day with a mindful cup of tea and some meditation. If it really is a perfect day, the surf would be 2-3 feet at the beach, and a little larger at the point, so everyone could head out and have a spacious surf until late in the morning. Then, you’d head for a fresh, healthy lunch at one of our favourite cafes in Lennox, probably Williams Street, just across from the beach. The afternoon would be spent reading one of the many books we have available, and generally dropping into the natural cycle of nature. When the sun begins to set, you’d head for a paddleboard session around Lake Ainsworth, which is meditation in itself. You’d eat dinner back at the cabin, followed by an open fire under the stars, sharing stories with a warm mug of tea (or a cold beer) in hand.
I know it’s early days, but is there one particular memory that speaks to the magic of the space?
Honestly, whenever anyone walks into the cabin you can see them visibly light up from the feeling inside the space, the energy and the light and the design and the view. Nature is the true magic that lights everyone up, and Lennox Outpost is the connection point.
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