Lyonville is a character-filled town, located between Trentham and Daylesford in Victoria’s Hepburn Shire – about an 80-minute drive from Melbourne. Sasha and Tim von Ess had been coming to this town for years to visit friends when the local deconsecrated local church went up for sale in 2017, and they decided to purchase it as a unique weekend getaway. Attracted to the magical feeling of the town and its location on the fringe of the Wombat State Forest, ‘We couldn’t resist!’ says Sasha.
As you might expect from a church conversion, the property has a rich history. After the original church built on site in 1883 was destroyed by fire, the local community came together to rebuild the current structure in 1927. Due to a dwindling congregation, the church was deconsecrated in the 1950s, and then converted into a residence in the early 2000s. The timber chapel is a humble structure by religious building standards, but with many detailed features that remain today.
Recent renovations undertaken by Sasha and Tim include a full repaint of the interior, the installation of new fittings and doors, bathroom upgrades, and new tiling. The couple worked with their friend Rachel at Hello Colour to develop a new colour scheme that would complement the original building, using Dulux paint Fair Bianca Half for the walls, and Vivid White for trims. ‘Rachel created a fresh, simple colour update to showcase the rich timber colours and work in with the golden afternoon glow from the stained glass windows. We are so happy with the result,’ says Sasha.
The renovation has succeeded in updating, without overshadowing, the church’s original features. ‘For instance, the confessional has now been converted into a walk-in pantry, the humble stained-glass windows are still in place, as is the original timber paneling which hugs the interior of the nave,’ says Sasha.
When Sasha and Tim von Ess aren’t enjoying this house themselves with their children, Drew, and Audrey, The Church at Lyonville is rented out as holiday accommodation. If you’re looking for a place to stay near Victoria’s ‘spa country’, look no further!