How to Develop, Style and Decorate your Granny Flat:

The Castle Grounds Tiny House

Posted on July 25, 2022

Continuing our series about how secondary dwellings have been designed to maximise a guest’s experience, we’re taking a look at The Castle Retreat Tiny House, a generously sized shipping container converted into this impressive mini home. In the Somerset region, within an hours drive of Brisbane, the retreat is set on an immaculate hobby farm beside tree tops and a small, private lake. The land owners Aretha and Joe have brilliantly converted what was once a nursery into their family home and created several unique holiday and rental locations on the property that can satisfy all and any cottage-core needs, with swans, donkeys, cow calves, a horse, pony, goat and a mansion of a chicken pen. We were fortunate to holiday in their tiny house, and it won’t take you long to understand why the stay was so memorable.

Three lessons home owners and tenants can take from Aretha and Joe are:

  1. Work With Your Environment
  2. Stick to a Colour Palette
  3. Embrace Your Target Market
1. Work With Your Environment

Something that sets the Castle Retreat Tiny House apart from other granny flats and holiday lets is that even from inside, a guest can feel this new world to explore. Whilst not everyone may be fortunate enough to have their property this vast field of green nestled by the lake’s water, there is still plenty you can take from how this tiny house seizes its surroundings and pays homage to the hinterland.

The greeting from the farm animals upon arrival is continued into the furnishing and decoration of the shipping container home. The country farmhouse style is upheld through horse animal themed decorations, repurposed farrier tools, and these absolutely to die for distressed barn doors.

Pictured Left is Mitchell, the Award winning 30+ year old gentleman of a horse that lives at the Castle Retreat.

The rustic wooden bench tops and shelves and all the decorative Australian crows ash seed pods are such a unique and stylish way they’ve tied the environment outside, in.

From a grander perspective, Joe and Aretha make the most of the property by drawing attention towards the lake and farm animals and embracing the opportunity for outdoor entertainment areas with an undercover balcony, fire pit and hammock.

Playing some ukulele by the fire that Joe kindly lit for us to enjoy a toasty sunset at

The tiny house’s less than tiny deck faces the water and private fire pit, a beautifully open space framed by the picture perfect veranda out the front. The side towards the distant main house however is enclosed with a wooden wall, creating an alfresco nook on the balcony that maintains guests’ privacy.

The living room window is positioned to give a view into the tennis court turned veggie garden where the donkeys, pony and horse roam in and out of freely throughout the day. Joe and Aretha have realised that their farm animals are a huge attraction and encourage visitors to join for feeding the animals.

Utilising the veggie garden they've grown on the property is another lovely way Aretha and Joe have elevated the stay for guests, decoratively sharing delicious fresh parsley, rosemary and garlic in the tiny house.

The beautiful gardens, outdoor fire-pit with comfy chairs and the additional outdoor shower further the pristine space as a sanctuary in nature. To best work with and respect this environment, the Castle retreat tiny house is impressively eco-friendly. Converted from a shipping container into a solar-powered home, with outdoor chairs and the sturdy balcony surprisingly made from unused bed-frames, the construction of the tiny house ensured reduced manufacturing processes of sourcing materials. The wooden bench tops are offcuts from the property’s trees and many of the decorations inside appear to be similarly repurposed, which make for interesting and unique interiors that guests love. In addition, the composting toilet in the tiny house reduces water waste and made the most of our *organic matter* to assist in fertilisation. We love that Joe and Aretha relish what the environment has to offer and do what they can to give back.

Repurposed water pipe valves are an awesome recurring feature of the decor

2. Stick to a Colour Palette

The colour palette is rich, earthy and vivid, another great reflection of the environment outside. Keeping a cohesive aesthetic throughout the property is especially important for secondary dwellings like granny flats, studios or tiny houses, as designated room areas like the lounge, dining and kitchen tend to be close and open plan, tightening decorative freedom. To achieve visual harmony you don’t have to be as extra as some places like the amazing Cabana, which sticks almost to a single colour, however colour coordinating the aesthetics is an effective way of highlighting spaciousness.

By adhering to one colour scheme of black, turquoise, ochre, copper, dark green and cool neutrals, Aretha and Joe have made the most of the shipping container’s layout.

This visual coherence leaves room for the unique decorations to thrive, giving the Castle Retreat Tiny House both aesthetics and character.

3. Embrace Your Target Market

Whilst this tiny house is stylish and fit for an adult getaway, Aretha and Joe have stocked the place with games, outdoor play areas and kid-friendly farm animals. Knowing their family run hobby farm and holiday letting business is the sweetest attraction for families, the owners have designed the tiny house to be kid friendly left right and centre, with additional bedding options for guest’s travelling with a child.

Joe and Aretha have been generous enough to share not just the greatness of their grounds, but also their love for the (many rescued) farm animals their family has become responsible for the care of.






Resident Donkeys


The welcoming home owners stayed to there own private space and left us to ours, however let it be known we were welcome to join them feeding the animals and were pleasant and excited to share the story of the amazing Castle grounds and the impressive journey they’ve taken the property through. They encourage families to feed the animals, can answer any questions, and let them search for eggs in gorgeous chicken pen.

Complimentary Breggfast thanks to the Chooks

Attached to the tiny house is an even tinier one, a glorified cubby house with lights and running water in the kitchenette. As well as the family friendly game collection and books inside, and a prize for those who complete a challenge by the end of their stay, the deck boasts this cute mini kitchen to entertain the little ones and give parents a chance to relax.

If you’re wondering where to bring your children for holiday, this family accommodation business couldn’t be better equipped. 



Enquire here to book your stay at the Castle Retreat Tiny House.


Read More in this Series

The cabana at Casuarina

Author and posted by Alysha de Ruyter.