BY THE SEA
DAVID GLEESON AND LEAH ATKINS BUILT THEIR FAMILY HOME FROM THE GROUND UP AT MOLLYMOOK BEACH ON THE NSW SOUTH COAST.
A builder creates his own dream home close to the beach at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast.
The breakfast nook in David and Leah’s home has folding windows opening out to the courtyard deck. David made the table and bench from recycled timber. The cane pendant shade came from Leah’s former homewares store. FACING PAGE The family’s home is a stone’s throw from Mollymook Beach, where Leah walks each morning.
DAVID GLEESON AND LEAH ATKINS are seasoned when it comes to building homes, so when it came to building their own coastal dream home they had a wealth of know-how to call on. David is a builder in the Milton area, but the new family home on Mollymook Beach, that he and Leah moved into last year with their son Paddy, 11, was a joint effort. “As well as building houses for other people we have done our own projects and have built and sold a few houses together,” says Leah. Before they had Paddy, Leah had owned a homewares store in Milton and now quite enjoys working on interiors, designing and decorating. David and Leah both grew up in this region and had been living in Milton, about four kilometres inland from Mollymook Beach on the NSW south coast, when they decided to look for some rural property. “We sold up in 2014, but at the same time we got a caravan and travelled around Australia for five months, thinking we’d buy some land when we got back,” Leah says. On their return in 2015, however, they had to rethink those plans. “When we came back we just couldn’t find any land at all — we were renting, and then this block came up in Mollymook and it was so close to the beach so we thought we’d better buy it and build here so we had somewhere to live! We snapped it up.” As it’s turned out, they couldn’t be happier with the home they’ve created and the place they’ve chosen to put down roots. “I love my home, it’s such a calm serene environment,” Leah says. “The beach is just across the road, down a little bush track and I walk there every morning with our dog, Ollie. David has a boat, and he and Paddy surf, dive and fish and are in the water all year around. Mollymook is a coastal suburb of Milton, and we have a little shopping village with a Rick Stein restaurant and a bit of accommodation.” When they work on their own projects, Leah designs the home and chooses materials, and David builds. The location determines the style of the home. “In Mollymook here, we’ve done a bit more of a contemporary look on the outside even though the interior is quite homely and cosy, not minimalistic, and not cluttered but still a little bit country.” Entry is through a walled courtyard with a large pizza oven and fruit trees on a timber deck. The exterior of the house features grooved cladding, painted a dark charcoal grey. Inside the four-bedroom house, the entrance foyer has racks for coats and hats, and in the kitchen, folding windows open out to the courtyard from the breakfast nook. Walls are painted a brilliant white; a shade made up by their painter after several test runs. Hardwood floors are stained dark. “We did it ourselves and stained it to get the rustic,
FACING PAGE The heavy timber front door opens to a tiled foyer and hallway with hardwood floors. Storage cupboards line one wall, while custom-made barn doors lead to the bathroom on the other. The jute runner is from IKEA.
FROM LEFT The house is clad in timber panelling and painted in Dulux Domino. David and Leah created a courtyard at the front of the house; David, Paddy and Leah with Ollie, the golden retriever cross labrador.