BEST THING WE EVER DID…
was use tiles for the downstairs flooring and from floor to ceiling in bathrooms. They integrate so well inside to out, are easy to clean and look beautiful and luxurious. We wish we had… built the house sooner! We have no regrets at all.
“JOHN AND I HAVE BEEN visiting Lennox Head, in northern New South Wales, for years – first as a couple, then as a family when our children were born. We love the laid-back and healthy-living feel of the town, as well as the friendly locals, the surf culture, the fabulous cafes and restaurants, and the proximity to Byron Bay and Bangalow. So when a house came up for sale just metres from the beach, we jumped to buy it as our holiday home.
We soon discovered the original small fibro house had asbestos. We couldn’t renovate it to take full advantage of the block, so we decided to demolish it and start again, and design a home that ticked all our boxes.
We wanted a modern take on the traditional Cape Cod – a 1960s-style beach house that blended into the local area. It needed to look as though it had always been there, not new and out of place. The environment and style of the exterior influenced how we went about designing the interior. We opted for timeless colours, tiles and finishes. The cabinetry, for example, has a masculine feel that’s all about the clean angles of 1960s style, while the floors are tiled in the downstairs rooms, with timber upstairs. I don’t like to spend on fashionable items that will date, so we invested most of our budget on top-quality finishes and furniture that will endure – you can always stay on-trend with soft furnishings.
We decorated the house with a fresh beach look in mind. I added colour using rugs, cushions and decorative
Toni and John built their holiday home on a north-east-facing corner block, just 100 metres from the beach, and worked closely with architect Paul Gray from PRG Architects, interior designer Paul Popham and builder Pim Kay from Kayon Homes to create their vision. “Every aspect was well thought through and carefully designed to make the house functional, practical and beautiful,” says Toni.
Top of their wish list were high ceilings and sustainable features such as solar power and water, and insulation. “We positioned rooms, doors and windows in ways that made the most of the aspect,”
Toni explains. “We are amazed by how cool the house is in summer, as it captures the ocean breeze, and how warm it is in winter. We we haven’t had to use the ducted air-conditioning once!”
items – everything blends in, but we added pops of my favourite shades, like oranges, reds, greens and blues. I also adore rattan. It looks fabulous teamed with lots of greenery and vases and I love how its warmth contrasts against the smooth, neutral finishes.
Our house feels relaxed and has clever, personal touches that come together in an authentic way. It’s so rewarding to create a look that’s original, because it’s not a carbon copy of a shop window! My goal was to combine timelessness with originality, and I think we’ve managed to do that. We picked up great buys from Vast Interior, Freedom, Modern Furniture and a range of eclectic vintage stores.
We want people to walk in and feel instantly relaxed and pampered. The kitchen-living area is the most used space and everyone loves hanging out here, so it was important to have an open area to make meal preparation a fun time when family and friends visit. This room leads straight out to the poolside outdoor area, and it’s where we spend most of our time. To read in front of ocean views, we head upstairs. It truly is a wonderful place to spend our family holidays.”
Walk this way
The blue front door was custom designed and built for colourful wow factor.
The pool water feature is one of Toni’s favourite parts of the property.
Modern magic The new build was designed to look like an older-style beach house.
Natural timbers and woven pieces add texture and warmth to the dining space.
Coastal style The island bench and timber stools have a classic beach house vibe.
Glass stacker doors open up to create a seamless indooroutdoor living space.
By the seaside Collections of shells and glass add to the home’s coastal vibe. SHOP IT Love the rattan look? Turn to page 46 for inspo.
Cool cabinets A mix of open and closed storage is stylish and practical.