laid BACK luxe
Australian stylist Kristin rawson created a relaxed, family-friendly beach house laced with designer panache
THERE’S SOMETHING intrinsically glorious about living close to the ocean. And in Australia that means sunshine… Strong, dazzling and consistent, and the surf… Powerful and prevalent. But there’s also the feeling that when you rub along this intimately with nature, you get the opportunity to actually live. Really live a life that’s interspersed with scooter rides to the beach, 8am swims and impromptu barbecues on the sand at dusk.
‘I’m so happy with the beautiful outdoors environment,’ says stylist Kristin Rawson. ‘I’ve never regretted moving back to my Aussie roots after I decided to leave New York five years ago.’
Back then, Kristin was a stylist, working in Manhattan as fashion editor of US Harper’s Bazaar and Teen Vogue. She’s worked with the likes of Kate Moss and Jennifer Aniston and regularly teamed up with photographer greats such as Steven Meisel and Mario Testino.
‘But then I fell pregnant with my son Jackson and I started longing for family, friends, the beaches and the Australian lifestyle,’ Kristin recalls. ‘I grew up by the sea. My dad taught us four children to surf at the beach where he was also a lifesaver. With my own child on the way, the pull of the ocean was strong.’
When she happened upon this Seventies bungalow, Kristin knew she’d found a quirky and special home. ‘Yes, it wasn’t exactly my style inside, but the structure was all there,’ she remembers. ‘I didn’t make any major building changes, just an interior update. The thing that sold it to me was the indoor/outdoor living, with the big open kitchen leading on to the pool and garden. Number one on my tick list was a family home for the kids and I to share in a relaxed way. This place feels so laid-back.’
Kristin’s choice of interior is testimony to her chilled attitude. She admits she veers towards a simple and comfy Scandi style. ‘I adore linens!’ she says with a laugh. ‘And gentle colours, warm woods, natural textures, classic designs. You don’t have to spend loads to make an impact. I regularly make small adjustments to the house, like I’ll change a paint shade or plant new flowers in the garden, choose different art, mix up the throws. A couple of years ago I added the matt-white Spanish tiles to the kitchen wall and they really altered the feel of the room. Or I’ll treat myself to one special accessory, something that catches the eye as soon as you enter that space. I love the pendant light in my bedroom and I’m so happy with the outdoor sofa in the cabana. I can sit there and watch the kids play in the pool and, because the covers are waterproof, I don’t have to be precious about it when they jump on it in wet bathers.’
There’s still a little fine tuning here and there that Kristin wants to do (‘The bathroom could benefit from a refit’). But, like her attitude to family life, she takes it one step at a time.
‘If there was any advice I’d give to new homeowners it would be go slow, don’t rush, get used to the way your interiors look and feel before you make any big changes. Create moodboards, explore Pinterest, think about how you use the house, what you want to feel like while you’re in it… This place is where I invite guests, feel at ease and hang out. But, of course, I want it to look good too!’ Kristin adds, smiling.
Come the weekend, she’s ready to kick back. Kristin is delighted that her open-door policy means the back yard will be filled with friends, young and old. ‘Ice creams for the children, wine for the mums,’ she says. ‘I love it when people just drop in – the more casual, the better.’ But, true to her ever-stylish nature, Kristin just can’t help seeing her home through the lens of a professional, as she waves goodbye to the decorator who was called in to add a new shade to a bedroom wall. ‘I can’t resist tweaking,’ she says, laughing. ‘My poor painter is on speed dial!’
To check out Kristin’s Instagram feed, visit @kristinrawson