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Homestyle New Zealand - - CONTENTS - WORDS & ST YLING Ker­rie-Ann Jones PHOTOGR APHY Ma­ree Homer

A coastal cot­tage in Syd­ney’s Narrabeen is kept up to date by a con­tem­po­rary re­fresh.

A coastal cot­tage over­look­ing Syd­ney’s Narrabeen la­goon is kept up to date by a con­tem­po­rary re­fresh.

“Lo­cals have [told us] they’d been walk­ing past this spot for years and had never no­ticed there was a house be­hind all the fo­liage!”

FOR NEW­LY­WED COU­PLE HAN­NAH AND PAUL DEN­NIS,

it was love at first sight. “We both knew straight away that it was ‘the one’,” says Han­nah of their in­stant con­nec­tion with their home. “We moved in three weeks be­fore our wed­ding, which was rather hec­tic, es­pe­cially as Paul’s buck’s week­end co­in­cided with the move-in date.”

Not want­ing to take the shine off the hon­ey­moon pe­riod, they waited a few months be­fore com­menc­ing their in­tended ren­o­va­tion. “We were lucky that the house was al­ready in a live­able con­di­tion. The ma­jor­ity of changes were aes­thetic tweaks and ad­di­tions to fin­ish off our dream home.”

Only two ma­jor al­ter­ations were deemed nec­es­sary to im­prove things. The first was open­ing up the kitchen onto the din­ing area by re­mov­ing sev­eral in­ter­nal walls and bulk­heads from both spa­ces to cre­ate a more open-plan area with bet­ter nat­u­ral light. The sec­ond was tak­ing ad­van­tage of the la­goon view from the first floor.

“We con­verted the sec­ond liv­ing space up­stairs into our mas­ter bed­room, us­ing a barn-style ceil­ing sup­port beam that al­lowed us to raise the height of the ceil­ing by 30cm,” says Han­nah. “It was the most re­ward­ing part of the ren­o­va­tion.”

The cou­ple had the clever idea of re­selling many of the fix­tures and ma­te­ri­als they re­moved from the home on Gumtree and Face­book – not only to save money to put to­wards the cost of the ren­o­va­tion, but also to sal­vage and re­cy­cle ma­te­ri­als so they didn’t end up as land­fill.

The big­gest task of the process was not ren­o­vat­ing the home’s in­te­rior, but prun­ing the over­grown gar­den back to •

a man­age­able state. “The front path was so over­taken by lan­tana and weeds that you couldn’t see the house from the street be­low,” says Han­nah. “Lo­cals have [told us] they’d been walk­ing past this spot for years and had never no­ticed there was a house be­hind all the fo­liage!”

The pair are for­tu­nate to be friends with the owner of Syd­ney fur­ni­ture store MCM House, so they pur­chased most of their ma­jor pieces, in­clud­ing the sofa and their bed, from there. Many of the art­works and home­ware through­out the house are fam­ily heir­looms or were bought on the cou­ple’s trips over­seas, but re­gard­less of ori­gin, ev­ery item in this cot­tage suits its re­laxed vibe and lo­ca­tion.

Both Han­nah and Paul have lived in Syd­ney’s north­ern beaches all their lives and there’s nowhere they’d rather be. “We love our neigh­bour­hood,” says Han­nah. “Narrabeen is a true com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially if you’re a surfer or spend a lot of time at the beach. We love our spot be­cause it’s quiet and you al­most feel like you’re not in Syd­ney, but ev­ery­thing we need is still close by. We’ve got the beach, the la­goon and the bush right on our doorstep.”

Shar­ing a pas­sion for the out­doors, Han­nah and Paul have in­cor­po­rated this life­style into their home by in­stalling a fire pit in the back­yard. “We love to have friends around for af­ter­noon bar­be­cues or fire pit ses­sions in the back­yard, com­plete with toasted marsh­mal­lows,” says Han­nah. “We have a pretty amaz­ing gar­den now, so when we en­ter­tain, we try to take it out­side to en­joy the space as much as pos­si­ble.”

“We love to have friends around for af­ter­noon bar­be­cues or fire pit ses­sions in the back­yard, com­plete with toasted marsh­mal­lows.”

ABOVE This lit­tle ship light was made by Paul’s late grandad, Ernst. The pho­to­graphic print was an en­gage­ment gift from the cou­ple’s friend, pho­tog­ra­pher Pete Daly, who took the photo on a trip to the beach with Paul.

KITCHEN Han­nah and Paul in­stalled down­lights in the kitchen and re­moved an in­ter­nal wall to open it onto the din­ing room. “The stools were a wed­ding present from our friend Charles Hinck­fuss at MCM House,” says Han­nah.

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