Home away from home

Published 3:00pm 21 December 2021

Home away from home
Words by Jodie Powell

From Mount Glorious Rd, The Lifestyle Centre looks like many other lovely nurseries and cafés.

But step onto the property and you’ll discover much more to explore – from a yoga studio Zen Space, Verity Faichen Hair and equine business Herdz to new dress outlet Roar & Foam, an art gallery, That Yarn Place and the farm animals that call the centre home.

When Gift Shop owner Lizette Van der Walt and partner Izak van der Walt bought the nine acre property in 2003 it was covered in lantana.

Since then, they've tidied it up and created a hub for local businesses.

Among them are her own ventures – the bountiful nursery with knowledgeable staff, and the centre’s gift shop, a haven filled with dreamy scents, decorative delights, delightful knick-knacks and an abundance of useful utensils arranged by the talented team.

Gifting inspiration: see the gallery

Her affinity for all things beautiful shines through in the layout of the shop – especially at this time of year when it’s sprinkled with keepsakes to add sparkle for the festive season.

Sitting next to Café Lagarto, the gift shop is the perfect place to explore before morning or afternoon tea, breakfast or lunch.

Gifts from Lizette's shop spill through into the café, with beautiful pots showing off lush plants and gorgeous table decorations providing at-home inspiration.

Relax and recharge: see the photos

Café Lagarto owner Natalie Ross has put her own stamp on the space with new chairs and tables spread over existing changing levels that create the illusion of a series of airy, undercover rooms.

Natalie, who also owns Samford Psychology at The Lifestyle Centre, took the café on as a passion project with husband James.

“I had been at the centre for about six years and watched it change hands three times,” she explains.

“We could see the potential of the café and we’ve spent the past three years working to achieve that vision.”

What has been created is a home away from home for regulars and a space that delights newcomers with great coffee, friendly and knowledgeable service staff, two talented chefs and monthly dinners.

See the farm animals

In November the café launched its annual “Not the Melbourne Cup” event for people who love to get together, dress up and support local charities.

“I thought I’d be doing well to get 20 people, and then we had 30, then 40 and then we were fully booked with 60 and having to turn people away,” Natalie says.

Lizette says The Lifestyle Centre’s hospitality comes full circle with the gift shop hosting regular events including VIP champagne and chocolate evenings.

There's even a Horse Tearoom where riders can hitch their horses, pop across to the café and then relax on the veranda overlooking their steeds.

Find more local news here.


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