Opos­sum ... what a life

Opos­sum Bay pro­vided An­gela Gough and Matthew Khourey with the per­fect spot to build their dream beach house

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard email jes­sica.howard@news.com.au

AS the heat rises, tem­per­a­ture records are bro­ken and the beach looks in­creas­ingly en­tic­ing, hav­ing a mod­ern beach house has never been more de­sir­able.

Es­cap­ing the Syd­ney rat race in 2007, An­gela Gough and Matthew Khourey have since dis­cov­ered the idyl­lic life­style they had al­ways hoped for at pic­turesque Opos­sum Bay.

The cou­ple met at Wol­lon­gong Univer­sity and de­cided to re­turn to An­gela’s home state Tas­ma­nia af­ter be­com­ing en­chanted by the close- knit com­mu­nity and the spec­tac­u­lar water views in the coastal sub­urb.

‘‘ When we dis­cov­ered the va­cant block of land in early 2007, we knew it was the per­fect spot to build the mod­ern beach

house we had al­ways en­vis­aged,’’ An­gela said.

‘‘ A stone’s throw from Shelly Beach, it was ex­actly what we re­turned to Tas­ma­nia for, hav­ing spent a num­ber of years not en­joy­ing the Syd­ney rat race.

‘‘ We’d get on a train ex­pect­ing it to be a 20- minute trip and sud­denly it would turn into an hour and a half.

‘‘ So when plan­ning our new home in Tassie, we didn’t want to be too far from town but we wanted to be far enough away for it to feel like we’re on hol­i­day all- year round.’’

Hav­ing found the per­fect block, putting to­gether the de­sign for their first home was a fairly easy and in­ex­pen­sive process. Built by Mer­lin Con­struc­tions, the three- bed­room house was com­pleted in late 2009.

‘‘ We de­signed it our­selves,’’ An­gela ex­plained.

‘‘ We wanted it to be sus­tain­able, noth­ing mas­sive – we’re not the McMan­sion types. We wanted a modernistic beach home; an earthy, sus­tain­able home with a seam­less con­nec­tion be­tween in­doors and out.’’

The in­door/ out­door con­nec­tion has been achieved with bi- fold doors at the front of the home which fully open up on to a tim­ber deck fac­ing the water and the hills of the East­ern Shore in the dis­tance.

The ex­te­rior is a com­bi­na­tion of Tas­ma­nian Oak and con­crete ren­der while the in­te­rior con­sists of white walls and pol­ished con­crete floor­ing.

While sim­ple, the ef­fect is strik­ing and pro­vides a blank can­vas for the decor.

An­gela says they chose this style so the pair can up­date all the time, never let­ting the house look out­dated.

Ther­mal mass col­lected in the con­crete floors, dou­ble- glaz­ing, so­lar hot water and re­new­able tim­ber all com­bine to cre­ate a sus­tain­able and en­ergy ef­fi­cient home.

‘‘ We are by no means com­plete,’’ she said. ‘‘ We like the fact that we con­tinue to add to our home. I like to search for unique pieces of de­sign el­e­ments in­clud­ing ac­ces­sories, fur­ni­ture and art­work and con­stantly pore over my home mag­a­zine col­lec­tion for de­sign in­spi­ra­tion.

‘‘ When I was a child and other girls were buy­ing Dolly mag­a­zine, I was buy­ing house and de­sign mag­a­zines. I’ve al­ways been in to in­te­rior de­sign. Un­for­tu­nately I haven’t been able to make a ca­reer out of it yet but I hope to in the fu­ture.’’

Three months ago, An­gela and Matthew wel­comed baby Jude.

‘‘ Our goals for 2013 in­clude com­plet­ing the home with full so­lar pan­elling and to work on a de­sign for the back area of the home for a pa­tio area with a pizza oven and grass for Jude to crawl and play on,’’ An­gela said.

‘‘ We cer­tainly see our­selves here for a very long time.’’

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