Inside Out (Australia)
SEA CHANGE Hidden beside a beach, this designer home makes the most of its ocean-meets-bushland outlook
A serene designer beach house takes colour cues from its bush surroundings
After living in Melbourne for fifive years, doctor Sanil Patel was ready for a change of scene and a different pace of life. “I wanted a bit of a sea change, somewhere with a beautiful natural environment where I could get out into a national park to run or ride a bike,” he says. What he found was Macmasters Beach on NSW’s Central Coast, an area that has no shops but a beautiful beach that joins up with Bouddi National Park.
To claim a place in this sleepy enclave, Sanil engaged in a lengthy viewing process in 2015. After putting in offers on a few houses, he ended up securing one that was much better than the rest. The house had been designed by local architect David Boyle and built in 2006 on a plateau in a private location with a beautiful aspect overlooking the beach.The building is split into two pavilions, and includes a linear bedroom and bathroom wing on both levels. The terrace has a north-easterly orientation, meaning sea breezes flflow through the home and there’s no need for air-conditioning.
Sanil was attracted to the style of the home, which referenced the 1950s weatherboard beach shacks in the area. “However, the interiors and gardens weren’t in keeping with the spirit of the house,” he says. “They were a different style.” Before Sanil had even moved into the property he engaged interior design fifirm Arent & Pyke to assist on the project. “I was instantly drawn to Arent & Pyke’s style,” he says. “It’s quite contemporary but their use of classic pieces makes their houses feel livable and homely at the same time.”
The building had been designed to sit against the bushland peacefully, and this sense of seamlessness was what Sanil wanted to achieve inside the home. “Arent & Pyke and I were pretty aligned on how it should be,” he says. “We wanted an interior that was quite calm and serene but didn’t wrestle with the exterior - all the views, the surrounding bushland and the trees. We didn’t want to overwhelm that.” This idea of creating an interior that was in harmony with the surrounding landscape had a big inflfluence on the colour palette and materials used throughout the home.
Building work started in about September 2015, however, most of it was improving upon what was existing, rather than annihilating the framework. The kitchen had to be resurfaced, but the layout remained the same. And the joinery was rebuilt for an integrated fridge/freezer, but within the existing confifiguration. All the new pieces of furniture were co-ordinated to be installed across two days. “That was one of the great things about working with Arent & Pyke,” says Sanil. “The furniture was installed all at once, which made things very convenient.”
The front garden was also given some love during this phase. Again, Sanil wanted to create a space that responded to the house and the surrounding environment. He engaged James Headland of Pangkarra to plant a native garden. “The whole idea was to have a much softer native bushland feel, and allow the house to sit more quietly in its natural setting,” says Sanil.
About a year after Sanil bought the house, he met his partner Karyn. While she wasn’t involved in the home’s design process, she loves the results. “It’s the most beautiful serene space and it’s amazing to come home from work,” she says. “You forget all of your worries.”
Engaging an interior designer has had a big impact on Sanil, in unexpected ways too. Not only has he now developed an appreciation and enthusiasm for collecting Australian art, but also has a more acute understanding of the wonders of design. “I’ve learned about the way good design can profoundly inflfluence the way you use a space and how you can feel in it,” he says. “That is one of the reasons this house works so well.” This idea is played out well in the main living area, which gets beautiful light at most times of the day. “There is always an incredible sense of calm in the house, which defifinitely wasn’t there before,” he says. For details on architect David Boyle, visit davidboylearchitect.com.au. To see info on Arent & Pyke, visit arentpyke.com.The home is available to rent through Contemporary Hotels, contemporaryhotels.com.au/ accommodation/macmasters-beach/macmasters-beach-house.