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