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Stella The Stargazer, Victoria

Approaching Stella from the outside, the unassuming, undeniably Australian tin shed exterior is the first thing of note. It’s a design that sits comfortably in its environment, inspired by the most recognizable form of Australian design. But stepping inside, Stella reveals itself as a more complex and enigmatic structure, reframing what luxury truly means.

Designed by Luke Hickman and built by Aaron Shields of Ample in collaboration with Visit Victoria, Stella was designed with mobility in mind, keeping its weight and dimensions just right for easy travel on the road. But it’s not just its transportability that makes Stella special.

Every inch of this tiny home has been carefully designed and crafted using salvaged and repurposed materials from an original farm shack. The bones of this building literally come from the Victorian farming landscape, creating a bespoke design that’s both sustainable and stunning.

At the heart of Stella’s design is a commitment to sustainability. The tiny home features a three-kilowatt solar system on the roof, a 4,000-liter water tank, and its own septic storage system, making it completely off the grid. Stella gives back way more than it takes, providing a truly eco-friendly way to enjoy the beauty of Victoria’s south-west, the famous Bay of Islands on the Great Ocean Road, where it currently resides.

Inside, Stella is essentially a simple one-bedroom apartment. The galley-style kitchen sits to the left of the main living area, comprising a bar fridge, a sink, a single burner gas cooktop, and even a roaring mag fire that doubles as both a heater and a cooking source. Porthole windows and a clever little cooling and heating system underneath the storage cabinets make the kitchen functional and whimsical.

Moving through the kitchen area, we arrive at the queen-sized bed and banquette eating area. This clever design features a movable dining table that can be easily moved from the kitchen into the living area, freeing up space and creating a bespoke dining experience. The banquette seating with cushions perfectly complements the table, and another recycled chair on the other side completes the look. On the deck, a bench seat and fire zone with a fire pit that doubles as a cooking area create an inviting outdoor space that’s perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful vistas.

One of the most unique features of Stella is the queen-sized sleeping platform that seamlessly rolls out into the open sky on a set of industrial rollers. Once attached via a pole to the window, the bed and window operate as one, easing the window open as it slides out to its final position in the stargazing setup. The lighting has been thoughtfully designed to create a gentle ambience, making it more of an experience than just a practical feature.

The bathroom is equally stunning, featuring a big sliding door that enables the space to become part of the main living area. The vanity comprises hardwood reclaimed timber, and the shower is designed to feel like an outdoor shower experience with its slatted floor that allows water to escape easily.

The brief for Stella was clear – it was all about experience. Every aspect of the design has been carefully considered to create a sense of connection with the environment and context, using texture, materiality, and warmth to provide an unforgettable experience.

Images by NeverTooSmall