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The Best Beach Houses

Roundup

There’s nothing more quintessentially Australian than a good old fashioned beach house. Whether you’re lucky enough to score a stay at a fancy friends’ holiday house, or share bunk beds with cousins at the ramshackle family beach shack, most of us have a few nostalgic memories of summer holidays, sandy toes and icy poles at a beach house somewhere!

Today we’re channelling summer holiday vibes, and revisiting some of our favourite beachside homes.

13th December, 2017

Mariko and Jeff Provan’s Mount Martha beach shack home. Pictured – Jeff’s collection of windsurfing sailboard fins from ‘yesteryear’. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The living area of the Provan’s Mount Martha home. The floor is polished and lined, and the space features an early 2000s Jardan couch and Japanese noren fabric door curtain in indigo blue. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking into the main bedroom. IKEA kid’s kitchen, and a green Eames chair are on show. The green surfboard in the main bedroom belonged to Jeff in the 1970s. ‘I just can’t part with it no matter how hard I try!’ he explains. Photo – Eve Wilson.Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

MARIKO AND JEFF PROVAN

This charming Mount Martha getaway is still one of our favourite beachside retreats EVER.

When it came to creating a beach retreat for his own family, Neometro’s designer director Jeff Provan found himself adopting a surprisingly ‘hands-off’ approach after taking possession of this humble fibro shack ‘we love this place so much and it works so well as a beach shack, that we are keeping it exactly as is’ says Jeff. ‘It’s not pretentious or precious, and has a great relaxed feeling to it’.

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The Bondi home of Remo and Melanie Giuffré. The hallway, with amazing salon-hung artwork and trinkets along one entire wall, and an extra special custom designed hall runner!  ‘In 2010 I designed our hall rug: GIUFFRE FAMILY BONDI HOME’ explains Remo. ‘The compass points due north … exactly; but only in this precise orientation. In other words, this rug only “works” in this exact location and in this particular apartment… I reckon we’ll be here for a very long time, and the hall rug is there to celebrate that’.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Remo’s hallway is a museum!  Artwork by talented friends, merchandise from the hey days at REMO General Store, and collected trinkets.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

A corner of the lounge room, looking back to front hallway.  Portrait of the dingo is by Bryan Westwood, who won the Archibald Prize for his portrait of Paul Keating in 1992. Henry Wilson A3 joint stool.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Roman’s room – a montage of his art and surfing imagery.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

REMO AND MELANIE GIUFFRE

The Bondi apartment of Remo and Melanie Giuffre isn’t a weekender – but its proximity to Sydney’s best loved beach makes it worthy of inclusion here.

The Giuffré family aren’t really big on material things. The greatest advantage of living here, Remo says, is being close to the beach. ‘Proximity is everything’ he explains. ‘A few more blocks and that magical nexus between home and ocean would be broken. We love being just a few minutes away, and get a special thrill when we see wet footprints on the stairs leading up to our apartment’.

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The incredible Byron Bay home of jewellery designer Lisa Black and family.  Spectacular view across to Cape Byron. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Swimming pool nestled in Lisa’s incredible garden. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lovely native timber decks connecting all verandas. Step through garden, allowing the garden to come ‘into’ the building. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The breakfast spot, especially in winter, as the deck faces North East with protection from cooler South West winds.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

LISA BLACK AND ROBERT BLEAKLEY

When it comes to WOW-factor, we can’t imagine a more spectacular beach retreat than the Byron Bay home of jewellery designer and landscape architect Lisa Black, her husband Robert Bleakley and their two teenage children.

Characterised by rich textures and a moody colour palette, an impressive art collection and antiques sourced from all corners of the globe, this incredible home is surrounded by meticulously maintained lush tropical gardens, with a 180° view across untouched hinterland to Cape Byron.

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Mark Tuckey’s home at Clareville, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Photo – Sean Fennessy, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking from dining area out to front doors and front garden.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area looking through to stairwell which leads up to the master bedroom.  Borg Morgensen leather and oak dining chairs, Mark Tuckey farmhouse table round Borg Morgensen rocking chair, Mark Schaller woodcut artwork – ‘Richmond’. Photo – Sean Fennessy, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

This is the beach side/front of the house, with classic Pittwater ‘P & O’ style rounded front.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

MARK TUCKEY AND FAMILY

One of our all time favourite home stories EVER, the home of furniture designer Mark Tuckey and family at Clareville on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is total DREAM HOME material.

I mean… the front garden opens out onto the SAND at the BEACH.  ‘ Nuff said.

 Revisit the original story here!

The holiday home of Simone and Rhys Haag and family on Phillip Island. Living room with original fire place, hearth tiles from Anchor Ceramics, rug from Kulchi at Criteria CollectionThe lamp is by Rubn at Fred International, ottoman from Pony Rider, and sofa from IKEA with tasseled Kip & Co throw, and H&M cushions. Styling – Simone Haag. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The dining room centres around the Bumling pendant purchased in Sweden, IKEA dining table, and Carl Hansen vintage chairs from Modern Times, pictured with blanket from Scout House,  vintage stool by Clement Meadmore, and cactus print from Middle of Nowhere. Styling – Simone Haag. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The front exterior of the house features deck built by Rhys, and oars, planters and camping stools from Waverley Antiques Bazaar. Styling – Simone Haag. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

SIMONE HAAG AND FAMILY

This rugged, relaxed beach cabin in Phillip Island belongs to well known Melbourne designer / stylist Simone Haag, her husband Rhys Haag and their two young daughters Goldie and Clover.

With a laid back ‘Californian cool’ vibe, this place has an entirely different sensibility to Simone’s more Scandinavian inspired Melbourne home. ‘You really feel the shift in gears when you come here’ she says. ‘The place lacks any form of amenity such as wifi, a dish washer or heating, microwave or air con – but we always make do!’

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The beach house of Jen Stumbles, Ben Kerr and family in Copacapana on NSW’s central coast.  Eames lounge chair, Barney Rubble light by Mance Design. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sofa by Timothy Oulton for Coco Republic, Bauhaus inspired chair by Coco Republic, reclaimed wine press made into coffee table.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen, with views across the garden to the beach.  Kitchen cabinets made locally, butchers block sourced at vintage industrial auction.  The exposed joints throughout the home are painted roughly in bright white and add to the relaxed, beachy feel of this family home.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen.  Butchers block sourced at vintage industrial auction.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

JEN STUMBLES AND BEN KERR

Perched up high, overlooking Copacabana surf beach on the NSW central coast, this impressive beachside home with panoramic views belongs to Jen Stumbles and Ben Kerr, owners of Eco Outdoor.

We love the distinctive, robust materials palette here – a combination of textured stone, reclaimed timbers and lime-washed surfaces.

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The Avalon NSW home of Louise and Graeme Bell and family.  Louise says, ‘The exterior of home constantly receives praise from passers by and neighbours who have watched it evolve since we’ve been here over the past 5 years!’ Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Vintage outdoor setting sourced on eBay, plant and pot from The Pot Warehouse Tunisian Towel from Table Tonic. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Louise and Graeme’s living area, looking out onto the lush front garden. Juju Hat African Headresses from Louise’s store Table Tonic, Bo Butik vintage danish sideboard, Roger McLay vintage Kone chair, Icelandic Sheepskin from Table Tonic, Cowhide rug from eBay, dining table From Spence & Lyda (Eames Base) with a Corian top, vintage TH brown dining chairs sourced on eBay, butterfly chairs from 506070. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

LOUISE AND GRAEME BELL

Nestled on a deep block just a short walk from the beach, and surrounded by lush plant life, the incredible mid century home of retailer Louise Bell of Table Tonic, her partner, architect Graeme Bell is one in a million!

Situated on Sydney’s Northern Beached, the house was originally built in 1957 by Australian architect Loyal Alexander for his own family.  Louise and Graeme have given it a subtle, considered update since they’ve been here – adding an era-appropriate breeze brick wall beneath the balcony, and pops of perfect yellow to complement the white facade.

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The timber-lined living room in Michael and Laura McCormack’s Point Lonsdale home. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

An old carport was transformed into a second living area! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

‘We try to spend time outside when we’re at Lonnie, just gardening or pottering around,’ says Laura. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

LAURA AND MICHAEL MCCORMACK

Property developer and entrepreneur Michael McCormack of Milieu, and his wife Laura, a speech pathologist, both spent summer holidays growing up in Point Lonsdale, and have a strong connection to the area.

There is something so familiar about their relaxed 1970s ‘Lonnie’ beach house, with its distinctive cedar timber panelling, soaring raked ceilings, and a charming hodge-podge of salvaged furniture and treasured pieces – just the way a weekender should be!

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The McCraith House on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is one of the area’s most distinctive architectural landmarks, affectionately known by locals as the ‘Butterfly House’. Designed by modernist masters Chancellor and Patrick in 1955, the house was commissioned by Gerald and Nell McCraith. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Unique sliding doors lead out to the balcony, with views across the bay. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

BUTTERFLY HOUSE

When a home built in the 1950s still looks ‘out there’ in 2017, you know you’re looking at an architectural icon. Such in the case with Dromana’s McCraith House (or ‘Butterfly House’, as it is colloquially known). Designed by Chancellor and Patrick in 1955, this remarkable house was commissioned by Gerald and Nell McCraith.

Though its distinctive top-heavy design makes the Butterfly House a unique design and engineering feat – inside, it’s surprisingly modest. With just two tiny bedrooms, Gerald and Nell’s now-grown-up grandaughter  Bin Dixon-Ward recalls spending many summer holidays squeezed into bunk beds with her siblings and cousins. ‘There was a hierarchy and competition for who slept in which bunk,’ Bin recalls. ‘The boys always got the best of course!’

In 2013, the McCraith House was gifted to RMIT University, and now serves as accommodation for RMIT’s writer-in-residence program.

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The blissful home of Ozzie Wright and Mylee Grace Fitzgerald, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Here is Ozzie’s studio.  Antique shark flag above door, and one of Ozzie’s art works to the right. The pink surfboard is one of Ozzie’s ‘Vampirate surfboards’, and the other board is Mylee’s Christmas present from Ozzie – a ‘gato heroi’. On top of the bookshelf is part of Ozzie and Mylee’s 1950’s / 60’s National Geographic collection. Vintage indian saris on the couch. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Another view of that light-filled lounge room.  The coffee table previously belonged to Mylee’s great grandfather – it used to have taller legs but she says ‘they recently have had the chop, and now it’s the perfect size to sit around with floor cushions, friends and food!’.  Pony Rider cushions, bright green school chairs and a cluster of bananas! Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The view pretty much sums it up! Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

OZZIE WRIGHT & MYLEE GRACE FITZGERALD

Pro surfer / artist / musician Ozzie Wright and his partner, songstress Mylee Grace Fitzgerald purchased their gorgeous rambling old 1930’s house, on a busy main road in Newport on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 2010. Though their weren’t officially in the market at the time, a chance conversation with a  local real estate agent led them to this place – and it seems fate was on their side.

Though the home itself was built in the 30’s, in the 90’s previous owners added the front lounge room with enormous windows, which makes the most of the view.  From the street you would never guess the MAGIC that lies beyond the house – namely, an uninterrupted view of beautiful Bungun Beach, one of the only beaches in the area with no vehicular access.  SO special.

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