Mov­ing from farm to beach­side was a huge change for Sue and Ian, so they cre­ated a bright con­tem­po­rary home to fit their new life.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Sue and Ian down­sized to a re­laxed, con­tem­po­rary home when they left their farm for beach­side Vic­to­ria.

“THIS BEACH HOUSE MARKS a huge change in life­style for us. After 30 years of liv­ing in an old house on a 10-hectare farm, we fi­nally made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to down­size. The kids had long left home, the horses had be­come less of a pri­or­ity and main­tain­ing all that land was a great deal of work that we cer­tainly didn’t want to do for­ever!

We had never con­sid­ered mov­ing away from the beau­ti­ful Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, as it had al­ways been home for us. But as tim­ing would have it, we didn’t re­ally have to search for our next home. The sale of our farm co­in­cided with the sale of our son-in-law’s grand­mother’s prop­erty – an early 1980s house on a lovely block in Bal­nar­ring Beach, only 10 min­utes away. All of a sud­den the heavy feel­ing of leav­ing the farm felt more like new be­gin­nings.

Clever de­sign

We al­ways planned to make changes to our new beach­side home be­fore we moved in, and hav­ing a builder for a son-in-law was very handy – we booked him in straight­away! First and fore­most in our ren­o­va­tion plans was the need for great de­sign: we had to get the best de­sign re­sult for the bud­get that we had, and I don’t think we would have achieved this with­out en­list­ing the ser­vices of a good ar­chi­tect.

New and old

The ac­tual ren­o­va­tion was quite ex­ten­sive – it took nine months, not in­clud­ing the six months of de­sign and per­mits. The orig­i­nal house was in good con­di­tion so we re­tained but com­pletely re­con­fig­ured the rear por­tion. Our em­pha­sis was on bring­ing in nat­u­ral light and cre­at­ing a re­laxed, con­tem­po­rary three-bed­room home. So it was out with the long hall­way and small rooms and in with open spa­ces and lots of floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows.

The front sec­tion of the house is en­tirely new, and is built on the site of an old granny flat. I wanted an open­plan kitchen but with a ‘but­ler’s pantry’ to keep food prep out of sight. So the fridge, mi­crowave, pantry and ex­tra work benches are hid­den from view, also thanks to the gal­ley de­sign, but the kitchen still feels open to the rest of the house. It works so well, es­pe­cially when we’re en­ter­tain­ing.

Our favourite part of the house is the open liv­ing area next to the kitchen space – it’s also the most used. It’s well lit by the mas­sive win­dows – which are dou­ble-glazed – and has a Jet­mas­ter fire­place for cosy com­fort all year round. Bench seats ei­ther side of the

fire­place in­clude stor­age for toys, games and sea­sonal cush­ions and throws. We chose solid Spot­ted Gum tim­ber floor­ing – with dogs, grand­chil­dren and sand from the beach, it’s easy to keep clean with a broom. The same tim­ber but with an oil fin­ish is used on the ad­join­ing deck, so there’s a seam­less tran­si­tion from in­doors to out­doors when the glass doors are wide open.

Art as decor

We have orig­i­nal art in most rooms, from af­ford­able pieces we’ve picked up on trips over­seas, like the ele­phant art­works in the kids bed­room, to large ‘in­vest­ment’ pieces that we thought long and hard about be­fore buy­ing, plus a few Ian has cre­ated. We love the colour, life and en­ergy art pro­vides.

Hav­ing a new home that’s fresh and so well-de­signed for our life­style is fab­u­lous. Like the gar­den, it’s all low main­te­nance, which fits per­fectly with our rea­sons for mov­ing off the farm. Now, in­stead of non-stop mow­ing, fenc­ing and tend­ing to live­stock, our time is taken up with travel and the re­volv­ing door of grand­chil­dren.”

“The kitchen is com­pact but has a huge amount of hid­den stor­age.”

Easy un­der­foot

The cowhide soft­ens this well-used area but is su­per durable for daily life. Lots of easy ac­cess stor­age avoids bench­top clut­ter.

Handy herbs

Other than the DIY ver­ti­cal herb planter, the front gar­den is all na­tive plants.

KITCHEN Al­ways on show Lots of spa­cious draw­ers and cup­boards make it easy for Sue to keep this open space look­ing good.

LIV­ING ROOM Nice and neu­tral Du­lux Nat­u­ral White is the per­fect back­drop for the cou­ple’s ar­ray of art­works.

DE­TAIL Colour combo Warm tim­ber shelves and bench­tops are a nat­u­ral match for the splash­back.

DE­TAIL Dou­ble duty The win­dow seat benches pro­vide handy stor­age.

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