Once upon a time, a popular hang-out place for locals, the Camden Valley Inn, located south-west of Sydney NSW, has been transformed into a restaurant and luxury hotel following extensive renovations.

Originally built in the early 1930s as a milk bar for locals, the Camden Valley Inn was built to promote the pure and wholesome milk of Camden Park. In 2018, the inn closed its doors for major renovations, and reopened 10 months later in 2019. The hotel is set on five acres of land with views of the Razorback mountains from almost every point of the venue.

Designed by KP Architects, the hotel’s refurbishment covered both objectives of the brief – to reflect the expectations of today’s customers, and to take advantage of its rural setting while celebrating the history of the old inn. This was achieved by removing layers of additions that had been constructed over the years to meet short term demand but without a long-term vision, explained KP Architects director Kon Panagopoulos and Natalie Dixon.

“By removing these redundant structures, we could reveal the original architecture while introducing new structures that were sympathetic and celebrated the history of the venue and its heritage neighbourhood and setting,” said Panagopoulos.

To meet the brief for the rural vibe, KP Architects selected the Macarthur Mix and Terracotta Smooth bricks from PGH Bricks & Pavers for their textural qualities and earthy tones. The brick was then given a light render wash that allowed the colour to appear through as a subtle play on colour and texture.

Macarthur Mix from PGH Brick’s Dry Pressed Architectural range delivered a contemporary-style makeover to all new walls, as well as to proposed walls and columns. Made using a time-honoured dry pressed method, the Macarthur Mix provides exceptional consistency of strength, dimensional accuracy and colour all the way through the brick. 

Terracotta Smooth bricks completed the look to the bar fronts and bar servery tops. Well known for beautiful clean lines, smooth-face textures and a palette selection of inspirational Australian natural colours, the PGH Smooth range creates a strong, clean aesthetic for the inn.

The original building’s brickwork had a painted finish with several layers applied over the years. “We decided to contrast this to clearly define the new work with face brick. The face of the brick was softened with an application of a white wash to provide a textural patina effect,” explained Panagopoulos.

The hotel renovation project had a broad materials palette including granite cobblestone for the laneways, recycled pavers for the beer garden, zincalume and galvanised finishes for metal detail and roofing, concrete for general walkways, terracotta tiles in amenities areas and solid timber for fixed seating.

“These materials were selected for their honesty and natural finish that complemented the qualities of the brick. These materials are real, and speak to their rural surroundings,” stated Panagopoulos.

KP Architects’ design for the hotel’s refurbishment ensured that no new work would overwhelm the original heritage building or its setting.

“We set out to ensure that the original heritage building and its rural setting were the heroes, draw people to the venue, and create a memorable stay.

“Since opening, the response from the local community has been very positive. They have truly engaged with what we set out to do, to create a venue that speaks to them as a community and reflects its rural setting. Humble and honest,” concluded Panagopoulos.