Jumbled Founder Pip Brett Launches New Accommodation Inside An Old Bank

Over 800 of Australia’s regional bank branches have closed since June 2017, leaving many commercial buildings across the country empty.

The Commonwealth Bank branch in Molong, NSW was one of them, until being rescued, restored, and given new life as boutique accommodation Sona Molong by Pip Brett, founder of home and lifestyle store Jumbled, and her builder husband Nick Luelf.

The bank and adjoining manager’s quarters on site were originally designed in 1930 by Edwin Hubert Henderson. Henderson was the chief architect of the Commonwealth of Australia from 1929-1939 responsible for directing the style of buildings the Commonwealth built.

The architecture of this building combines art deco and Spanish Mission features, including twisting decorative columns and fan shells over windows.

Pip and Nick live in Orange (about 30 minutes from Molong) so they know the area well, and see Molong as the region’s next big tourism prospect.

‘It’s a bustling village that feels like it’s entering a very exciting stage,’ says Pip.

They saw an opportunity to revive the vacant building and create a sought-after base for the town’s visitors.

Pip went to school with Felicity Slattery of Studio Esteta who previously designed the Jumbled founder’s home and store in Orange, with Nick on the tools.

The parties teamed up again on this project, with the aim of enhancing, not erasing, the original features of the building.

‘Our focus was on creating a comfortable and joyful space that would be a unique experience for our guests,’ says Pip.

Before the renovation, the bank stood as it did on the day of closing in 2021.

‘The actual bank still had all of the bank tellers intact and coffee cups of bank staff in the kitchen,’ says Pip.

‘The bank manager’s house next door was unliveable, but the bones of the building were built with so much love and care so it just took some love and my clever builder husband to get it back to its former glory.

Nick uncovered the building’s original decorative ceilings and timber floors ripe for Pip decorative vision. She is the creative director of the pair, while Nick’s focus is on the practicalities.

‘It’s a constant battle between form and function!’ Pip says.

Jumbled is a brand known for its bold use of colour, allowing Pip to flex her muscles on this project. Each of the five bedrooms has its own cocooning, coloured walls complemented by a custom bedhead, and works by artists represented at Jumbled.

‘We have worked very hard on making each room feel like a comforting cloud,’ Pip says.

Many of the original building features have been retained, including the bank safe with metal shelving that has been converted into a butler’s pantry.

The accommodation’s name, Sona, meaning ‘gold’, is a nod to the property’s former life as a bank. It’s the perfect place for any design lover to linger, unwind, and enjoy everything the Central Tablelands region has to offer.

Book your stay at Sona Molong

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