Indica Hemp House: Sustainable luxury exhibited in Margaret River retreat

Penny Thomas
The Nightly
Indica Hemp House exterior
Indica Hemp House exterior Credit: Penny Thomas

The Margaret River region has long been a magnet for free spirits, artists, and dreamers.

Sharlene Mavor is a good example: she rents out a four-bedroom, four-bathroom holiday home in Wilyabrup which is built from the versatile and somewhat misunderstood cousin of cannabis — hemp.

Sharlene, a part-time clinical researcher working in the medical cannabis field, first came across hempcrete — the material you get when you mix hemp’s woody fibres with lime — six years ago at a hemp industry expo in Melbourne.

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Having always been passionate about sustainability and eco-design, Sharlene was naturally drawn to the building material and wanted to learn more about it and its properties for her upcoming build.

What’s more, a local builder in the Margaret River region was already using the material to build new homes.

The home cinema features wallpaper with karri trees from the local Boranup Forest.
The home cinema features wallpaper with karri trees from the local Boranup Forest. Credit: Penny Thomas

“It provides high thermal insulation, it’s fire resistant, its walls breathe, it sequesters CO2 providing a negative carbon footprint, it’s inherently airtight, and virtually no waste was produced during its construction.”

Sharlene’s ultra-modern hemp house was officially completed late last year and is available to book for short-term accommodation.

Officially known as Indica Hemp House, Sharlene has graciously invited me to stay at her property while I’m in town for a friend’s wedding.

The house sits on a large landscaped lot on the Wilyabrup Vineyard Estate, which is located off Caves Road, about halfway between Yallingup and Gracetown.

I received a detailed email with directions to the house ahead of my stay, which was necessary because a few other new builds are being constructed on the estate, and could make it confusing to find.

The exposed hempcrete walls give the home a lovely acoustic quality that feels calming and peaceful.

Once I arrive, I’m slightly taken aback by the home’s sleek and modern exterior.

When I heard it was made from hemp, I envisaged something quaint, rustic, and much less grand.

Things only get better as I make my way inside. I’m immediately struck by the sheer elegance of the interior design — it feels stylish, sustainable, and very zen.

I particularly like the exposed hempcrete walls that feature in almost every room. They don’t just look great but they give the home a lovely acoustic quality that is calming and peaceful.

Main living area at Indica Hemp House
Main living area at Indica Hemp House Credit: Penny Thomas

What’s more, there’s heaps of comfy seating scattered around the home and plenty of communal areas for guests to hang out.

You’ve got the main living area that seamlessly combines the kitchen, living and dining spaces.

A home theatre with a striking feature wall that makes you feel like you’re surrounded by karri trees in Boranup Forest.

Not to mention the back deck with a nice outdoor table setting and a 10-seat hydrotherapy spa.

The home can comfortably sleep up to eight guests, with four large bedrooms.

Each bedroom has a king-sized bed with hypoallergenic bedding, built-in double wardrobes, and an ensuite with timer-heated towel rails, and a portable cot is available on request.

Unwind on Indica’s deck overlooking the dam with a Boxed Indulgence grazing box, a hemp beer from Herbee Brewing or a glass of white wine from a Margaret River winery.
Unwind on Indica’s deck overlooking the dam with a Boxed Indulgence grazing box, a hemp beer from Herbee Brewing or a glass of white wine from a Margaret River winery. Credit: Penny Thomas

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy sampling the selection of hemp skincare products found throughout the home, all of which are made locally by the team at Margaret River Hemp Co.

Due to the home’s passive solar design and the thermal characteristics of its hempcrete construction, the temperature in the house is very pleasant — even without any mechanical cooling or heating, aside from ceiling fans.

In fact, the house recently achieved an 8.7 out of 10 rating from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, which is a good indication that it will remain a comfortable temperature year-round.

There’s a large water tank on the property for water supply, and an aerobic treatment unit or secondary treatment system that biologically processes wastewater into grey water, which is then used on the garden.

All bedrooms at the home include a private ensuite
All bedrooms at the home include a private ensuite Credit: Penny Thomas

What I like most about staying here is that it gives me an insight into what it’s like to live in a home that is both environmentally responsible and luxurious.

It’s also a great example of sustainable tourism done right, and it shines a light on the impressive properties of hempcrete.

+ Penny Thomas was a guest of Australia’s South West. They have not influenced or seen this story.

fact file

+ Indica Hemp House is located at 11/3599 Caves Road on the Wilyabrup Vineyard Estate.

+ Prices start from $600 per night for two guests in a one-bedroom suite midweek, and from $700 on Fridays and Saturdays. Any additional guests cost an extra $50 per person/per night.

+ The home can comfortably sleep up to eight guests, across four large bedrooms.

+ Visit indica.au for more information.

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