Growing up in Australia and the stunning South Island of New Zealand, my love of food started at a very young age. My Mum instilled a strong work ethic in me, as well as an interest in people. In my twenties, I trained as a chef in Wellington, learning the art of nouvelle cuisine, and Auckland, working alongside traditional and enthusiastic Italian chefs from Napoli. These early influences helped shape a life-long passion in me for excellent food and an appreciation for showcasing the tastes of locally sourced ingredients. My artistic side also took me into hairdressing, and I spent ten years as a hair stylist in New Zealand and the UK, working in elite salons based in Knightsbridge and Mayfair, and international fashion shows in London and Paris. However, my first love has always been cuisine and I create all the wonderful food here at Franklin Mount. A lot of my menu choices stem from a focus on my firm favourites and amazing local produce. Quality breakfasts are hugely important to me: our “Full Yorkshire”, portobello mushrooms on sourdough, fluffy American-style pancakes or sweetcorn fritters with tomato salsa will ensure you start the day right.
Being born into a Croatian family, good food has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Originally hailing from a farm in Dargaville on the North Island of New Zealand, my father passed on to me his appreciation of the countryside and the importance of freshly grown produce; my mother, her passion for cooking and interior design which led me down the creative path of the fashion industry. I worked in Auckland and London for 20 years with MAC Cosmetics as a make-up artist and store manager, and latterly, the Regional Director of Education. In this role, I had the privilege of extensive international travel to many famous fashion capitals, working with a cross-section of clients throughout the world and experiencing some fabulous accommodation along the way. This piqued my interest in creating a brand of my own, whilst continuing to work closely with people, and share my love of interior design. In late 2019 together with my husband Aaron, we moved our family (two girls - Mia & Lilly) to the beautiful town of Harrogate to fulfil a lifelong dream of our own. This delightful spa town, surrounded by the glorious green countryside of North Yorkshire, provided us with the ideal spot to explore our mutual flair for interiors and love of great food. In February 2020, Franklin Mount Guesthouse opened its doors.
Franklin Mount Guesthouse
Building on our own experiences travelling the world, we have lovingly decorated our wonderful Victorian home and created a chic and elegant retreat. Inspired by bold interiors and statement artwork, we love to mix and match the old with the new and Vanja can often be found upcycling mid-century pieces of furniture! Each bedroom has been individually decorated - a treasure trove of unique art, small touches of luxury and homely comforts.
Our experience in the hospitality and beauty industries has helped us understand the importance of creating a personalised customer experience which is something we are passionate about delivering to our guests! You are invited to enjoy our warm and friendly hospitality and superb food. Franklin Mount Guesthouse is the perfect haven for our guests to enjoy a blissful stay in a relaxed and sophisticated space which you can truly call a home away from home.
Vanja & Aaron x