Karen Milliner – Q Weekend – Getaway Plan – Freestyle Escape on the Sunshine Coast – Mapleton.
The name may not be the most original but it couldn’t be more apt for Martin Duncan’s three-bedroom slice of contemporary understated luxury perched on a ridge high in the Blackall Ranges in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Escape is what the Brisbane restaurateur, owner of sweet mecca Freestyle Tout, has called it, and if you want to flee the city to recharge in quiet rural surrounds and enjoy million-dollar views without sacrificing mod cons, then this is the place.
From just about everywhere in the house the Duncan and his partner have built you can drink in glorious vistas of rolling hills and distant ocean: lazing beside the plunge pool; soaking in one of the house’s two deep, freestanding bathtubs; curled up in front of the log fire in the open-plan lounge dining area on an enormous L shaped couch; pottering around in the gourmet kitchen; or plopped in a comfy bean bag on the front deck.
Such is the elevation, and so steep the rain forested property on which the house sits, that out on the the deck we felt like we were floating in the clouds. At night the outlook was equally stunning, a vast expanse of twinkling lights from towns in the hinterland and along the coast.
While the house is big on interior space, it also radiates warmth and cosiness. there are clever rustic design features, like wicker light shades and lamp stands of twigs, and the neutral colour scheme is the perfect foil for striking original paintings (all for sale) on the walls. Deluxe touches abound: a Bose sound system wired throughout, two king sized beds (there’s a queen in the third bedroom), automatic espresso machine, robes, slippers, sarongs, hats and yoga mats in the wardrobes, and to enhance romance, scented candles and buckets to keep the champagne on ice beside the tubs in the front bedroom en suites.
Of course it doesn’t have to be a menage a deux. You could share the house with friends and host a dinner party, packing provisions or pre ordering them from Duncan, or shop at the local farmers markets and then cook up a storm in the kitchen or on the deck barbecue. There’s every conceivable implement (I counted six pairs of kitchen tongs), plate, bowl and glass you could possibly need. Even more friends could stay nearby at the other impressive holiday rental home under the Freestyle brand, the multi story, architect designed, five bedroom Omaroo. With a heated in ground pool, media room and plenty of lawn, its totally family friendly.
Back at Escape hubby and I were glad to have the place to ourselves, especially when Nadja and Claire from Ripple Massage knocked on the door shortly after we’d arrived. With a massage table set up for each of us at opposite ends of the house, we both had privacy, neither had to forgo a view, and the therapists had plenty of room to tiptoe around with warm towels and aromatherapy oils. The foot soak, body scrub, face mask and massage with heated sea shell was pure bliss, the perfect way to start a weekend escape within Escape.