Poet’s Ode is nestled inside an old home and general store, built around 1850 by one of the founding families of the historical town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. Back then, a family lived there with ten children, growing flowers, fruit and vegetables in the backyard to sell in the shop. In early 2014, Alia Elaraj was taking a short break from photography and styling work after having a baby, happened upon the building and instantly fell in love. The building now looks as though it’s had a light touch since those days, though it belies much hard work stripping it back to it’s original historical features.
With a sharp eye for detail, Alia now sources hand made, ethically produced, organic and natural products with a long term vision for home wares and clothing becoming heirlooms, displaying them on her own vintage furniture which adds the additional element of texture that Poet’s Ode focuses on. The furniture is not for sale though, as she says, “I could never be an antiques dealer as I just fall in love with things far too much!”. There is a space for workshops and events and a recently opened tearoom, which has also proven to be popular with locals and city slickers coming up for the day.
On the community of Hahndorf and the reception of Poet’s Ode, Alia says, that it’s “such a pretty town with a rich history. At the time of opening the shop I didn’t know much about that, but have since found out so much through the community and family of the original owners coming in to share their memories. This includes a collection of photographs that I hope to one day use in a gallery for the space. The Adelaide Hills is a wonderful community to work and live in and we’ve had a fantastic response from everyone who has happened upon us. Hahndorf, like most hills townships, is quaint and lovely. It feels right to have made a space that is more about the experience than anything else. The addition of the tearoom has created the perfect excuse to linger in the space just that little bit longer.” And linger I did, as on the day of the shoot, Hahndorf was a blaze of autumn leaves and sudden wet weather, so the Salon de thé was the perfect cocoon of coffee and pastries to gather my strength for the long journey home.
Poet’s Ode is open Monday 10-3 and Thursday-Sunday 10-4.