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An Eclectic Family Beach House

Homes

Kate Dinon is a communications and PR whiz, with clients including Mercedes-Benz, Monash University, City of Melbourne, MYOB and many more. She’s also passionate about Australian art and design, runs her own small design brand (!), and has a close network of talented creative friends, including artist Miranda Skoczek, and interior designer Chelsea Hing.

Having known Kate for a little while (and featuring her previous home in Brunswick many years ago!) It’s no surprise to us that her love of design, art and creative collaboration has resulted in the creation of a truly divine family beach home in Balnarring, on the Mornington Peninsula.

Today we speak with Kate about transforming a daggy 60’s besser brick home into a chic holiday retreat, with her husband Alex Ksugas, and children Marlow (3) and Grace (1).

19th December, 2018

The Balnarring beach house of PR specialist Kate Dinon and family. Artwork by Eleanor Louise Butt. Wall sconce by Anna Charlesworth. Pendant lights by Volker Haug. Bar stools by Gubi via Criteria. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Khaki cushions from Cultiver. The striking MC Escher-esque tiles are from Eco Tile Factory. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

A favourite corner of the home. Khaki cushions from Cultiver. Bowl on table from Dinosaur Designers. Brass vase by Anna Varendorf. Sculpture on table by Melanie Upton from Pieces of Eight gallery. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Khaki cushions from Cultiver. Bowl on table from Dinosaur Designers. Brass vase by Anna Varendorff. Sculpture on table by Melanie Upton from Pieces of Eight gallery. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

The open plan kitchen, living and dining areas. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Kate Dinon in front of one of her favourite works by Miranda Skoczek.The pink and white-armed sculpture just in shot is by Tom Borgas. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Bookshelves made by our very own Gordy Johnson! Library Stairs by Commissioned Editions designed by Liam Mugavin and Robyn Holt, available by Criteria. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Bookshelves by Gordon Johnson! Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Painting by Matthew Dettmer. Daybed is from Ilse Crawford’s SINNERLIG collection from IKEA. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Gorgeous custom-made joinery by the family’s builder with handles from Made Measure. The artwork in the stair is by Karen Knorr. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Painting by Eleanor Louise Butt. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

The master bedroom. Bedhead from Fenton+Fenton. Bed linen is a combination of Aura and Cultiver. Table lamp by Kizu. The luggage rack sitting at the end of the bed is by Commissioned Editions (Kate’s furniture side project!) available at Criteria. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

The bathroom. So calming! Custom brass vanity by Liam Magavin. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Custom brass vanity by Liam Magavin. Amazing tiles from Eco Tile Factory. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Styling – Chelsea Hing.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 19th December 2018

In 2015, Kate Dinon and husband Alex Ksugas were looking for a holiday home in the Balnarring area, and found themselves feeling a little dejected on one drive home after an unsuccessful scouting trip. On a whim, the estate agent suggested stopping off at a home that was soon to be listed, but wasn’t yet on the market. ‘Of course it was perfect for us’ Kate enthuses. ‘I didn’t even go inside – I saw her beauty immediately.’

As much as Kate loved the property, the home now bears little resemblance to the house the family initially purchased. Kate highlights, ‘you wouldn’t know it was the same house – in fact, many neighbours have said so!’ She turned to good friend and collaborator Chelsea Hing to mastermind the renovation – a process which involved cladding the original 70s Besser blocks with timber weatherboards, painting the exterior a crisp white, and relocating windows. The entire interior was also gutted and reconfigured, including relocating the kitchen and living room to the upstairs. Finally, custom joinery was installed to fully complete the transformation.

Kate is a passionate collector of Australian art and design, and her art collection holds a very special place in her heart. She highlights works by Miranda Skoczek, Eleanor Louise Butt and Del Kathryn Barton as ‘favourite favourites.’ Other treasured pieces include the sleek brass custom bookshelves in the library and playroom. These eye-catching displays were crafted by TDF ‘favourite favourite’ Gordon Johnson (!), and perform as an ever-shifting backdrop of current reads.

This is a home where detail is key. Kate’s eye-catching choice of bold colour and pattern, alongside a confident, eclectic collection of art, furniture and objects, have coalesced into a very special ‘home away from home’ for her young family. But it’s not all about the designer details – Kate explains that the proximity to the beach was a key drawcard of this property, and makes for plenty of sand and swim adventures, before ‘carrying the kids and all their gear back to the house for an outdoor shower, a lazy lunch, and then (fingers crossed) afternoon naps.’

When they’re not staying here, Kate’s beach house is available for holiday rental on Air BnB.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net