HINDSIGHT: HOLIDAY HOME RENO
A beach shack in Sorrento, on the Mornington Peninsula, gets a contemporary makeover
Before taking on a renovation, it pays to assemble a team of the right people for the job. It’s a simple philosophy but it can make all the difference.
For father of four Chris and his wife Daniela, when it came to renovating their beach house in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, assembling an A-team was non-negotiable. “It’s expensive to do good stuff and have good people, but I didn’t begrudge the cost,” Chris says. “You just pay for good advice.”
Ensconced in the seaside town of Sorrento, the family’s three-bedroom home sits on a sizeable block and according to Chris was “a beach shack that had been tarted up with a shabby tin shed out the back,” before the family converted it into a family getaway full of designer touches and beautiful finishes.
Just over an hour’s drive from their home in Melbourne, it’s a place the family of six now spend summers making memories. “When you get to Mount Martha, even though you’re still 25 minutes from the house, that’s when the Peninsula greets you,” Chris says. “Your shoulders drop and the holidays start.”
1 MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS WORKING TOGETHER
Introduce your interior designer, architect and landscape designer to each other right from the start. That way they can all be working towards the same end result. “Our designer, Simone, was amazing. She created the space in collaboration with our landscape architect,” Chris says. “Simone picked all the outdoor furniture, and the team created a relaxing environment, where the inside blends with the outside.”
2 TELL YOUR TEAM TO REGARD YOUR PLACE AS THEIR OWN
Spend time getting to know your team of designers, interiors, architects and builders. “If they’re not spending time with you to understand who you are and what’s important to you then they’re the wrong people for the job,” Chris says. “When I met our landscape architect I said to him, ‘I want you to pretend this is your house, and treat the project as if it’s your own place’. You have to trust your team.”
3 THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Get creative and consider alternative uses for existing spaces. “The garage at the back of the yard was a green tin shed full of cobwebs,” Chris explains.
“My plan was to knock it down and make it lawn, but Simone said, ‘Are you serious! It has amazing beams inside. Let’s strip it and make it an apartment’. So if I had listened to my own advice we wouldn’t have had the extra space. The apartment sleeps an extra five people.”
4 KEEP COUNCIL ON YOUR SIDE
Renovate within the envelope of the existing building to minimise council approvals. “We didn’t have any issues with council because there was no construction, we just built a big deck out the back,” Chris says. “Also, because this town is rapidly evolving, council are very supportive when it comes to improving the area.” A landscape architect can offer invaluable advice and will have prior experience of council requirements.
5 TREAT INTERIORS AS A WHOLE
One of the benefits of hiring an interior designer is that they can take your ideas and make them happen – and be honest if they think something won’t work. “When it comes to design I have no idea,” Chris explains. “I know what I like but I can’t take a room from empty to amazing. In our Melbourne home we made the mistake of buying things that were nice individually, but collectively they didn’t work together. This time we left everything to Simone.”
6 BLEND INTO THE SCENERY
Consider your surroundings when planning outdoor spaces. “I wanted to create a space where you can sit all day and drink rosé, but also wanted it to be sympathetic to the landscape of the Mornington Peninsula,” Chris says. “Our landscape architect was able to mix olive, lemon and willow trees with the native trees of the district and it all works really well together. And it’s all pretty maintenance free.”
7 BEFRIEND YOUR NEIGHBOURS
It’s lovely to have a second home to bolt to, however, the day-to-day maintenance, particularly in the garden, will still need regular attention. You could hire a landscaper and a cleaner, but if you’re smart, you’ll get friendly with your neighbours. “Our neighbour Wayne is great,” Chris says. “He’ll mow the lawn and will take in the bins for us. We also have several lifelong friends who have houses in the area too.”
WHO LIVES HERE? CHRIS AND DANIELA, WITH THEIR CHILDREN, ALANA, 11, DEAN, NINE, BIANCA, SEVEN, EVAN, FOUR, AND LEO THE PUPPY Tile style Inexpensive white tiles were used for the kitchen walls. The dark grout creates a dramatic effect.
She’s got style Designer Simone (pictured) has created a calming, relaxed and functional environment for Chris and his family.
Shelf life The Strings shelving system in the kitchen (above right) allows the family to keep their favourite items on display. The trinkets were sourced from David Bromley, Angelucci and local op-shops. THE BEDROOM
The same colour palette continues throughout the house. As does the beautiful warm timber elements. THE BATHROOM