It’s a veritable Tardis inside this once humble Lauderdale Beach home
ALAUDERDALE couple has proved you do not need to spend a fortune or renovate a home until it is completely unrecognisable.
Andrew Williamson and Sue Leake’s waterfront home has been a 13- year experiment in frugality and reinvention.
Only metres from the rolling waves of Lauderdale Beach, the couple discovered a 1954 vertical- board beach shack that had been extended in the 1970s by the owner who was a bricklayer.
‘‘ We walked in and the previous owners had it set up beautifully,’’ Andrew says.
‘‘ We didn’t even really look at the house but straight through to the water and it was so beautiful so we decided to buy it on the spot.
‘‘ We had the guy cornered in the pub that night and I was firing offers at him, and I think he got sick of me in the end!’’ Initially enamoured with their fantastic summer find, things changed when they were given the keys and reality sank in.
‘‘ It was quite a long settlement so by the time we actually took possession it was winter and I was six months pregnant,’’ Sue says.
‘‘ We got the keys at 5pm and it was this dark, cold, wintry day and we came here and it
was empty, freezing and we pulled up the carpet to see Besser blocks sitting on sand.
‘‘ We were just thinking ‘ oh my God, what have we done?’.’’
Already with Sue’s two sons Jake and Nicholas and daughter April born not long after buying D’lorah ( Harold backwards – a name found scrawled in various discreet places around the home), Sue and architect Andrew soon set to work to make the space more liveable for all the family.
Despite looking relatively small from the street, the inside opens up like the Tardis, Andrew says, and includes a small upstairs loft space used by now 13- year old April and a downstairs wet area and bedroom for eldest son Jake.
‘‘ It was fantastic when the kids were little,’’ Sue says. ‘‘ The beach was like their backyard and we had little boats and canoes, and they’d get out there with their friends building forts in the dunes.’’
Working with a limited budget, the dramatic but fitting renovations include converting the carport into a second living room/ music room for Andrew, with glass sliding doors on both sides.
This allows the space to be opened up in summer but also means the neighbours across the street still have their water views.
An atrium- like entry hall connects the old house with the new and a section of the original vertical boards and 1970s bricks have
‘‘ Here you come in and it’s all about the beach. We didn’t want to turn it into a fancy, bigger house which is what happens with so many beach houses – and then they lose their character.’’
An extended kitchen and master bedroom were other major changes, allowing for more space without changing the fabric of the home.
The master bedroom has access to the newly completed front deck and its window seat is a favourite spot to get away from it all.
Simple but practical materials such a marine plywood floors plus tin and driftwood exterior cladding maintain the beach shack feel.
While a paradise in summer, living so close to the water comes with some dangers – but Andrew says there has only been one serious case of flooding in their 13 years.
‘‘ It’s a nice, casual sort of house that leads you to live a certain way so there’s a nice level of contact but a bit of separation at the same time,’’ he says.
‘‘ We’ll stay here – as long as we don’t get washed away!’’
PERFECT SPOT: ( Clockwise from main) The master bedroom at 120 Bayview Rd, Lauderdale; the dining table; the sitting room with views over the water; Andrew Williamson, daughter April Williamson, 7, and Sue Leake; and a surfboard at the front door.