I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life. I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up. There is enough for everyone to be successful, in what ever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
Georgie Stuart from Bimlow Cottage
Georgie is the host at Bimlow Cottage, a historic 1890’s sweetheart teeming with old-world charm and cottage blooms on Gundungurra country, Edith, New South Wales, Australia.
Guests are encouraged to make themselves at home and there is so much love in the nurturing details.
Homemade bread, fresh eggs, baking ingredients and locally sourced groceries including marshmallows for the fire pit. Posies of flowers. A clawfoot bath. Vegetables and herbs to pick in the garden. A pizza oven to cook in. A sweet country cottage stay.
As well as welcoming guests to Bimlow Cottage since late 2019, Georgie also curates a little shop full of vintage wares onsite, co hosts styling workshops, is an artist, and together with her partner Matt they have three little children.
T H E Q U E S T I O N S
1. Would you share a little about yourself and what lead you to opening Bimlow Cottage to guests?
In 2010, I stumbled upon Bimlow Cottage when googling rural properties online. Matt (my partner) was still studying but I’d saved a somewhat modest sum that I wanted to use towards a country cottage somewhere within three hours of Sydney. It took a year but I finally had the keys to Bimlow in late 2011.
Matt and I set to work with a very tiny budget, painting the cottage and tending to the garden. While I collected beds and furniture off Gumtree, from the side of the road and from family, friends and work colleagues, we slept on a mattress on the floor with lots of candles and an esky for our fridge in the kitchen.
The initial plan was to spend the weekends and any annual leave at the cottage, but after 18 months we decided we wanted to move to the country full-time. We both applied for jobs and made the move and soon after I found out I was pregnant with Donny. We have since had two daughters, Ada and Amala.
We are on beautiful Gundungurra Country, almost 1,100m above sea level and the winters are very cold. We get a handful of snowfalls each year. With family visiting regularly and long cold winters inside we decided we needed more room and looked at doing an extension of the cottage. Something about significantly changing a humble historic 1890s cottage didn’t feel quite right, and soon after I stumbled across a 1910 weatherboard cottage (on Instagram ) which needed to be relocated and cost $10,000. We decided to apply for a dual occupancy through our local council so we could stay in the village we knew and loved and once approved, we set about renovating “the old girl” over a number of years.
Once it was liveable, we moved next door to the old girl and made some small updates before opening Bimlow Cottage up to guests. We opened bookings up to guests when I was 8 months pregnant with Amala and she’s been with me the whole time – first in the carrier and then drawing at the kitchen table while I cleaned. She recently started preschool and is loving that and it’s given me some more time managing the garden and the cleaning at the cottage. We’ve now been hosting the most beautiful guests for 3.5 years. It’s been such a joy for me. After finishing school, I completed a Fine Arts degree at the National Art School in Sydney, majoring in painting. For 15 years or so, I worked in government and tertiary education sector roles and while I learnt a lot and enjoyed it, I felt creatively stifled and yearned for an opportunity to express myself. Running Bimlow Cottage has really fulfilled that part of me so much.
2. Favourite time of the day?
Dusk – I love wandering around the garden and watering just before dark. I’m a bit of a night owl but if I do get to bed early, I love dawn too.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
I’m not sure I’m very good at being focused. I do have a diary so I can keep on top of guests’ bookings as well as our own commitments. I also write lots of notes and to-do lists. I enjoy moving from one task to another, but do find it easy to go down a rabbit-hole and get distracted so not sure I have any amazing tips here.
4. What has surprised you?
The beautiful creative community that exists in the country. I think I was quite lonely when I first had Donny as we hadn’t lived here for long and were out of town so it was harder to make connections. It really did take us quite a long time to find our people out here, but now we have so many amazing friends in the area and I feel so grateful for that.
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone starting out?
Don’t be scared to get started, but put lots of love into everything you do. Instead of focusing on the big picture, make the details special (and enjoyable for you). People notice the small thoughtful touches so make them count in your business or project. Surround yourself with people of different ages and backgrounds who inspire, challenge and support you and offer the same back to them. And keep plugging along, no matter how small or insignificant you think your offering is. Stay true to yourself.
Follow Georgie at Bimlow Cottage on Instagram @bimlowcottage
To stay at Bimlow Cottage, book via Airbnb or message Georgie via Instagram.
Photo credits: All photos by Georgie Stuart with the exception of: Jemma @momentsbyjemma took the first photo. Luisa Brimble @luisabrimble took the photo of the bathroom. Jennifer Precians @jenniferpreciansphotography took the photos of the workshop lunch and the fire pit. Lucia @lucia.b.creative took the photo of Bimlow Cottage in the snow.
INTERVIEW SERIES: BIMLOW COTTAGE
April 6, 2023