A Lord Howe Island landmark that was in turn a haberdashery, an airline office, a general store, then home to the island's first espresso machine has become a luxury two-bedroom beach house.
Now named after the maritime flag that signals a ship is ready to sail, the new Blue Peter accommodation is part of Arajilla Retreat, and is the closest accommodation to the beach on the prime western side of the World Heritage-listed island.
Owners Bill and Janne Shead (who installed that coffee machine in 1995) have renovated the property to include louver windows and plantation shutter doors, two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen off set by interior touches such as dark wood floors, pure linen bedding and fabrics and rugs by Sydney artist Julie Paterson of Cloth.
That's a pertinent touch, considering fabrics and embroidery threads were once sold from the space before becoming the office for Sunderland Flying Boats. After an airstrip was built, the building became the Lagoon Store selling everything from pies and beers to clothing and remedies.
In 1995, the Sheads turned it into Blue Peter Cafe. But after closing that in 2005, the building remained idle until approval was finally granted for accommodation – on the proviso two licensed "bed" numbers were shifted from Arajilla. Only 400 visitor beds are allowed on Lord Howe at any one time.
"Our guests love it because of its proximity to Lagoon Beach and its charm; most have trouble leaving," says Bill Shead.
Blue Peter costs from $650 a night for two people, including dinner at Arajilla on the first night (during summer season), airport transfers, some wines, light breakfast and more. See lordhoweislandbeachhouse.com.au.