A SUMMER RITUAL
Hiring a HOLIDAY HOME is the quintessential summer experience and whether it is a BEACH SHACK or a private ISLAND VILLA, comes with quality linen or HAS ROOM for the dog, the PERFECT PLACE for you IS OUT THERE. Here’s how to find it.
How to find the perfect holiday home.
FROM VICTORIAN BATHING BOXES to depression-era beach shacks and post-war fibro houses, the holiday home has long loomed large in the Australian psyche and symbolised the national spirit at its various stages of evolution. For many of us it means childhood and nostalgia and the chance to capture an elusive feeling of contentment and freedom. But today there is no one architectural vernacular to draw on and instead a summer bolthole can take many forms: refurbished retro gems, modernist masterpieces, contemporary villas, eco retreats, you name it. What exactly constitutes the perfect holiday home will differ from person to person, but you can guarantee that the core essence will remain the same whoever you ask (and that it will almost always be close to the beach). “A functional home in a beautiful location that exudes a sense of luxury with a relaxed atmosphere is the first prerequisite,” says Matthew Fleming, CEO of Australian boutique rental agency Contemporary Hotels. “The perfect home has great architecture and gorgeous interiors and easy access to desired activities, such as a surfing beach, golf or excellent dining choices.” For Jason Grant, interior stylist, author and creative director of homewares collection MJG, “a relaxed, comfortable space, close to the beach with good light and indoor/outdoor living,” is what makes an ideal holiday home; similarly Kheireddine Kamal, Onefinestay’s head of expansion in the APAC region, rates “a large luxurious home near the beach, full of character and with a beautiful outdoor space including a pool.” And when it comes time for Airbnb’s Australia and New Zealand country manager Sam McDonagh to choose a summer bolthole, one of the most important factors is comfort for the whole family: which in his case means being able to bring the dog. “The perfect holiday home is exactly that – it’s a destination that perfectly balances the freedom of a holiday and the warmth of a home,” says travel photographer Kara Rosenlund, whose book Shelter – How Australians Live is the culmination of a year spent travelling the country to document Australian homes, from beach shacks and shipping containers to homesteads and sheep stations. “This is a place that allows you to escape from reality, an opportunity to seek an adventure or create lifelong memories with those you cherish most,” she says. Based out of Brisbane where she lives in a timber and tin weatherboard cottage, she and her husband recently purchased their own holiday home on Queensland’s North Stradbroke Island. “It took us six years to find the perfect spot that appealed to us and to also save the money,” she says. “We finally found this little shack that we both instantly fell in love with.” For Rosenlund, the spot conjures the feeling we all chase: “We chose Stradbroke Island because from the moment we hump on the barge at Cleveland, it really does feel as though the weekend has started,” she says. “The atmosphere changes immediately and we feel a surge of positive energy, which only intensifies when we reach the island.” When on the hunt for the perfect holiday home, we might first filter our search through the practicalities: according to recent research conducted by Airbnb, functionality of amenities – such as having access to a coffee maker or a full set of wine glasses – is high on the list of priorities for holidaymakers. Yet it’s the sensory feelings and ephemeral moments – light hitting the verandah in the morning, saltwater and sun on skin, laughter ringing through the evening air, the scent of citronella and a general sense of wellbeing and relaxation – that have us planning the next trip before this one’s even over. Turn the page for all the ins and outs and inspiration you’ll need to help find that special place.
CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Eclectic coastal design in Satellite Island’s Summer House; The 1940s Palm Beach villa Rockridge is yours to hire via Contemporary Hotels; Likewise nearby five-star property Gaelforce. PREVIOUS PAGE (from left): Have Tasmania’s Satellite Island all to yourself; Photographer Kara Rosenlund captures the spirit of travel in her own home.