An old pub in Stanley, Tasmania was completely renovated and transformed into a beautiful inn by its new owners.

Built in 1849, The Ship Inn was a local tavern frequented by fishermen and sailors. The pub has some interesting history associated with it. It was built by Michael Lyons, whose grandson Joseph Lyons was the only Prime Minister to come from Tasmania.

According to current owners, Kerry and Alastair Houston, the pub was delicenced in the 1970s and fell into disrepair. A local family bought it and spent many years restoring it as a family home. After going through a succession of owners, it eventually became a cheap and cheerful guesthouse.

The Houstons purchased The Ship Inn and transformed it into an elegant inn. Alastair is a stone mason and landscaper while Kerry has a background in administration and HR. The family relocated from Hobart to Stanley in mid-2018.

“We had stumbled across Stanley on the North West coast of Tasmania whilst on holiday, and found it a charming spot for family holidays. We bought a little 1890s cottage and renovated it,” recalls Kerry.

“This became our holiday shack and we rented it out for short stays when we weren’t using it. This gave us the confidence to realise we could turn our hand to running a guesthouse, and when the opportunity to purchase this building came up, we decided it would be a good fit for us. A chance to have a sea change and live permanently in our holiday village.”

The renovation, which took about 12 months, threw up many surprises such as finding a whole jar of pickled onions, full of onions and pickle juice, one metre under the soil. They also found that the property had a well frequented roller-skating rink and a skittle alley in the 1800s.

The kitchen was the most rewarding room to transform for the family. The existing kitchen was a partially dilapidated room that was used to store barrels. Living without a kitchen for eight months, the Houstons ultimately created a stunning light-filled space.

“It totally transformed our living space and we love that we can still see the texture of the old stone walls.”

Kerry used interior stylists Lynda Gardener and Belle Hemming from Inside Story, who recommended Haymes Paint and guided the couple through all the design decisions including the selection of paint colours.

Speaking about their design inspiration, Kerry said that there had been a number of “rather unsympathetic renovations” that had been done in the 1980s, which they stripped back since they were determined to respect the “history and strong sense of place this building has in the village”.

They wanted to “work within the period of this building and transform it into a vintage style with a luxurious modern twist”.

On selecting the perfect room colours, Kerry said that they trusted the designers who didn’t let them down. The couple sought a moody and atmospheric vibe and the brief was met beautifully.

Haymes colours featured throughout the project include Umbertone, Refuge 7, Acorn, Minimalist 1, Barely there, Seclusion, and Comfort 6.

They chose to use mustard on the outside of the property since the colour was already there. But it was teamed with blue doors, burgundy trims and rich cream. Kerry’s stylist helped the duo change the doors to black and all the trims to a warm white.

Any last advice?

"Don’t be scared of earthy moody colours. Our lounge space is quite dark, with very deep-set old small windows. We originally painted it white to try and lighten it, but it just looked dismal. We embraced the dark and painted it in Seclusion and now it looks stunning and moody. We love it!"