Ages ago when we first met Steve Weis the original owner of “Obiland” we also met Ralf Driessen a young, strong, blonde and rather gorgeous blacksmith from Germany. Steve had won a Churchill Scholarship, which at the time was a rather prestigious thing to do. He was able to travel in UK, Europe and USA visiting and working with other well known blacksmiths. Ralf impressed him and he invited him to come to Queensland and work with him in his Toowoomba studio. The years were so long ago that it is hard to count how long.
For a period of time he lived and worked here in the Maleny area and 20 years ago when we began to build our luxury treehouses we asked him to create the beautiful balustrades, hanging fireplaces and special handles and decorations which are an integral part of the design and theming in each of our cabins. Later when he moved to Victoria to live, he kindly continued helping us in this manner when we created our penthouse cabins.
Ralf was amazing. I once recall seeing him measure up a space where we wanted a balustrade. He didn’t record these measurements but a week later arrived with a stunning piece that fitted perfectly in place. His hand rails were made so that in the dark walking down the stairs in the reception, at night, you didn’t need to lift your hand off from top to bottom, even when half way down you had to turn a corner.
More recently he has made the frames for the extremely comfortable swinging seats on each of our verandas as well as the beautiful rails in The Secrets Garden and at the front of the reception.
Not long ago we decided to refurbish and a friend Tracie Dunne of Rodwell-Dunne Design, helped us to find the new linens and rugs. We also decided to finish off behind the bed heads. It was suggested to us that we might put some of our carved mirrors behind the beds but were told that this was bad feng shui. The logical solution was to call on Ralf’s expertise. He did not let us down. Some very stunning ideas were sketched and sent to us and the result is now some very unique features that delight the senses.
I once said to Ralf “Aren’t you worried that other blacksmiths might copy your work?” His reply was “No! By the time they do that, I’ve moved on to something better!”
Thank you Ralf for all you have done to make Secrets on the Lake a unique and beautiful place.