The little Braidwood building that refuses to abide by the rules
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The little Braidwood building that refuses to abide by the rules

It stands at just 60 metres square but owners of the tiny brick building at the back of Braidwood's Albion Hotel are hoping it becomes the heartbeat of their tiny town.

The former Albion Coach House, built on Duncan Street in 1882 to house the horses of men calling in for a pint at The Albion, is now a bustling little venue called Deadwood.

The 'oyster pink patina' of Deadwood, on Duncan Street, Braidwood.

The 'oyster pink patina' of Deadwood, on Duncan Street, Braidwood.Credit:Karleen Minney

Like the once lawless town of the same name in South Dakota, United States, Deadwood refuses to abide by the rules. It serves great coffee and cake, but it's not a cafe. It sells indoor plants, flowers, jars of home-made pickles and books, but it's not an emporium.

A tall, elaborate water fountain greets guests at the front door and the tiny rustic interior is lit by a giant chandelier.

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"It's just full of character, it's gorgeous," owner Dee Gasnier says.

"It looks really sleepy from the outside and it's not what you expect when you walk in - I really love that."

Barista Dani Diablo knows local orders off by heart.

Barista Dani Diablo knows local orders off by heart.Credit:Karleen Minney

Gasnier and partner Dave Sargent are in the process of buying the former coach house, a one-time art studio, furniture workshop and home to local newspaper The Braidwood Times, from the Sydney owners of The Albion.

Before moving in in July, Gasnier and Sargent spent months clearing out the abandoned 12m x 5m building, including cleaning "a floor covered in about three inches of sparrow poo", fixing cracks in the walls and completely re-building the footings of the building.

Paint was scraped away on the front of the former stables to reveal "a beautiful pink oyster patina".

The Deadwood interior; part nursery, part bazaar, part emporium.

The Deadwood interior; part nursery, part bazaar, part emporium.Credit:Karleen Minney

But as stunning as the makeover is, it's just the beginning for Deadwood.

Gasnier and Sargent have applied to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to build a glasshouse on the western side of the tiny heritage-listed building - The Albion side - and to add a deck to the other side.

"We've got years and years of work to go," Gasnier says.

Deadwood is the third Braidwood cafe for Gasnier - a former landscaper with a passion for stonemasonry. She previously ran the Albion Café, Dee-Licious and The Fickle Pickle. She knows how to make a mean coffee, and Deadwood is already bustling with regular morning coffee drinkers and out-of-towners.

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There's something of a wild west theme emerging in Braidwood, with fashionistas Jane Magnus and Dena Pezzano-Pharaoh opening boutique clothing store Saloon on Wallace Street, just up the road from Deadwood.

Like her friends the fashion designers, Dee Gasnier is inspired daily by the people of Braidwood, population 1650.

"Braidwood's full of so many amazingly talented people that you just don't see or know, unless you're here," Gasnier says.

"And it's not just people in business, but everyone in general, everyone's just so creative."

Bree Element is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times

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