Acclaimed Sydney designer Thomas Hamel and partner George Massar have carved out a home bordering a national park with far-reaching views over the bush and the south coast. thomashamel.com What initially appealed to you about the location? The proximity to Sydney and yet the absolute escape from city life. Nature prevails here. We viewed the property online years before acquiring the house but it remained forever in our minds because of the iconic rock formations that look as if ‘thrown at the house by dinosaurs’. How did you resolve the challenges of the site? The surroundings and the views are incredible so we try to maintain an ‘edited eye’ with the garden and interiors as it would be so easy to over-plant the garden and over-furnish the rooms. What are the considerations in designing a home in a coastal setting? It’s important to maintain a natural harmony with the very strong surroundings and elements. We decided that nothing should be precious or feel overly manufactured. Describe the completed home? It is an assemblage of special items from around the globe that act as souvenirs of our life together. Everywhere I look, I remember the sense of discovery when items are found and we discuss a place for them to live. The ‘boulder’ acacia wood chairs that speak so well to the rock formation in the upper garden, for example, as well as the wonderful timber and bronze Leo de Vries sculpture that feels as if it came from the garden outside. How does the project respond to the landscape and its coastal context? This house and garden are completely nestled into the surrounds and create a harmonious unit. The incredible ocean views are ever changing but our home is not uniquely a beachhouse. It is located in the bush which means the inclusion of shells and driftwood are nice but should not be the only important elements. What informed the selection of furniture, ttings and nishes? We were determined to utilise handcrafted and natural products and nishes. Sisal rugs were used on top of handmade ceramic tiles, and furnishings from George’s La-based furniture collection Gregorius Pineo all have craft nishes to the plaster, timber or metal elements. Our collection of tribal items and art from far- ung places all add to the intrinsic nature of everything feeling hand-wrought. How do you use the space? It is a place to step away from our work and experience a larger existence. We ‘breathe’ as soon as we arrive and experience nature, wildlife and the incredible beauty the natural world offers. My favourite weekend task is collecting twigs for the evening re.