words and interview LAUREN BAXTER photos 28 DEGREES
A hop, skip and a jump back from Byron Bay’s famous beaches, nestled in between beautiful magnolia trees, you’ll find 28 Degrees – a gorgeous, consciously curated guest house designed for slow and steady living.
It opened in 2015 when owner and interior designer Deb Garske was inspired by her youth growing up on Norfolk Island to create a sanctuary that offered true respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. She remembers whenever she’d return home to Norfolk “getting off the plane, feeling that humidity and heat, and completely unwinding immediately”. It was a feeling she wanted to evoke in others.
“We were always out relaxing – lying under a tree, or at the pool or just catching up with friends and having a cup of tea,” Deb recalls. “I didn’t realise that until I was older and I was building something that I was really trying to draw on all my upbringing. To see what it was that I really loved about my time there.”
Indeed, embracing ‘slow’ can often feel like a privilege in modern life. But 28 Degrees embodies slow living principles to its core – encouraging an internal reset and providing a luxurious centre to unwind, if only for a little while. Plush linen sheets, recycled French Oak floors, private plunge pools, beeswax candles, beach bags from The Dharma Door and a no-television policy all add to the obvious charm (and that list could go on!), but Deb firmly believes that we can all bring elements of slow living into our own homes. Here’s how…
Take a Moment For Yourself
I always start my morning with morning meditation – I don’t even get out of bed. Without that, I don’t think I could function as clearly as I do, and with such grace, because there are so many twists and turns in a day.
Support Your Locals
I also eat as organic as I can. I go to the farmers’ market here to support the farmers. I buy all my meat, eggs, chicken, and blueberries there – really, everything that I can. I really love the idea of supporting your locals and everyone can do that no matter where they are. There’s always a farmers’ market somewhere.
Set the Mood
Bringing slow into your home can also be as easy as setting the mood. Lighting is key – making sure lights are only on in the areas you need them. Dimmers are a great way of creating the atmosphere to slow down and it reminds our brains to calm down for the evening. I always put my beeswax candle on at night and turn off the lights while relaxing before bed.
Smells are also a great way of bringing slow into our homes – I’m sure everyone is aware that beautiful scents can almost always bring you back to a wonderful time. “Stop and smell the roses” is such a great saying. I always pick fresh flowers or buy gorgeous-smelling ones and sit down and really take five minutes to look at their colour and beauty.
Music too is a great way of unwinding while cooking for the family. Often it can just melt the day away. I love playing music that evokes great memories for me so that when I’m cooking for the family it brings the food alive. I love creating dishes from scratch and it helps to unwind from the busy day.
Get some ZZZs
Sleep is so underrated. But if I can’t sleep on some nights, I just make sure I stay in bed. I don’t get up – I just lie there. You also have to have a really good mattress. That’s our number one thing at 28 Degrees, all our rooms have really good beds. We spend the money on that. We spend the money on our pillows and we spend the money on our couches.
I really think that it’s how you start your day and it’s how you end your day that brings that sense of slow into your life.