TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.
TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house. Adam Hourigan

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

WHEN Bree Dahl fell in love with the OddFellows Hall on her viewing on Grafton Cup Day, she planned to go to the auction and bid on the following Tuesday.

Unfortunately her newborn baby wasn't in on the plan.

Due in two weeks, Ivy Jay Dahl was delivered just two days later via an emergency C-section, but it didn't determine Bree from her plans.

"I joked with (agent) Terry Deefholts that I'd be bidding via phone from hospital, never actually thinking it would happen. The auction was scheduled, but the baby wasn't," she said.

"And I was still in the hospital Tuesday and said to dad, 'I think I'm still going to go and bid'.

Bree organised with the nurses to leave for the appointment, saying she would leave from 5.30pm until 7pm and said it was one of the more unusual leave pass requests they'd had.

"I told them I was going to leave to bid on a house, and they said they'd never heard anyone doing that," she said.

"But by the time I left, they all knew and wished me good luck."

And after bidding against one other party, Ms Dahl returned to the maternity unit and her new baby the owner of one of Grafton's historic properties.

Ms Dahl moved back to her hometown of Grafton in May after living overseas, and said she had looked for a house to buy since her arrival, and had made two other offers on houses that weren't successful.

She was aware the hall was available, and was familiar with the property, with her great-grandmother living next-door when she was growing up.

"But when I walked through the doors, I just fell in love with it," she said.

"When you first walk in it's impressive, the double-height space with vaulted ceilings - it's really unusual.

"Also I love the location, and the fact that you can walk into town from here."

And now that mum and baby are out of hospital, Ms Dahl is planning on turning the hall into her house, despite being told she's "crazy" by some friends.

"I've been an interior designer for 16 years overseas, mainly working on hotels... so I've seen a few places like this," she said.

"I really love historic buildings, and I also think that it's really important to have these historic places intact. There's so many beautiful houses here and people take pride in the appearance of them.

"(The hall) hasn't had any real work done on it in 100 years, so I'd like to restore it really - bring it back to how it used to look when I was a kid from the outside, and make it a home inside."



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