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The Timeless Beachside Home Of A Magazine Industry Legend

Homes

The oft-cited maxim that ‘good things take time’ is certainly true of this beachside cottage in Clareville, NSW, owned by one of the Australian magazine industry’s most-loved figures, Deborah Bibby. Deb spent 11 years as Editor-In-Chief at Real Living magazine, at JONES Magazine most recently, and previously served as the Editor for Dolly and Cleo Magazines in the ’80s. What an illustrious career! After living in this home for 20 years, Deb organised a major renovation – including lifting the entire home 1.2 metres into the air!

Deb shares this inspiring home with her creative son Jack (who publishes The Captain) and his partner Alli. From the house-next-door, to a stunning beachside haven.

1st May, 2019

Gorgeous views looking out over Pittwater in Deb Bibby’s warm, welcoming home! The disco ball on the far left creates spinning light around the room at sunset – ‘it makes you want to party, or at least pour a G+T’ says Deb! Sarah Ellison stoneware vase.  Family photos are strewn amongst the bookshelf. Black and white polaroids taken from Deb’s days as editor of Dolly magazine (!) and Follow Me magazine. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A cosy alcove. The long burgundy leather cushion with tabs was made to Deb’s design based on German gym mats by Heatherly Design. Le Klint original wall light from Vampt Vintage Design. Pony Rider cushions. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Deb with her son Jack Murphy and his girlfriend Alli Ficarra. Deb and Alli both wear Lee Mathews (‘We couldn’t help ourselves – although I’m more of a jeans girl, we got dressed up for TDF’.) Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jean Gillon ‘Sling’ leather and rope sofa, which Deb fell in love with at first sight. St Vinnies lamp. NSW Leather Co grey sheepskin. All of Deb’s most-loved books are in the book shelf, and the trophy sitting on top is in memory of Deb’s brother Adrian. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking out to the lush surrounds. Artwork left to right: Pencil sketch by Deb’s friend creative director Carolyn Innis. Mia Oatley print. Jorna Napurrurla Nelson ‘Bush Carrot Dreaming’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The dining room with a view. Sarah Ellison stoneware vessels. Sarah Ellison Zee leather chairs around the dining table. Original butterfly chair from Angelucci. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room. LEILAH coffee table. Sarah Ellison marble top CHUB table. Rock and roll prints on the wall of INXS that Deb had blown up from polaroids of a past life. Painting ‘Tingari’ by Charlie Tjapangati. Terence Conran London sofa. Pony Rider cushions. Atlas leather cushion. Jean Gillion ‘Sling’ rope and leather chair. Mantis wall light from Spence & Lyda used as pendant. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘I found this chair at Camden Markets in London – a gorgeous old rocker that I used when my son was a newborn’, Deb shares. Pony Rider cushions. Blanket from the four-year-old real living for Freedom range. Freedom Furniture mug. The best of the best Italian Vogues, Liz Tilberis-edited British Vogues, US Vogues, and all her own of course! ‘All of them are still a source of inspiration when I get tired of scrolling’, Deb says. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Deb’s early morning work spot. ‘I’ll bring the laptop out, coffee in hand, and work here until the sun takes over’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kitchen, which is ‘definitely the most popular room in the house’! designed by architect Noek Witzand and built by David Moses. Smeg appliances (stove, integrated dishwasher, kettle, and toaster). Perrin & Rowe taps. Ikea clamp lights. Vintage pendant LED lights. Pearl Lighting & Brassware brass handles. American Oak timber benches. Formply cupboards. Colmar Limestone tiles on walls from Eco Outdoor, that architect Noek cut down to a smaller size. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Perrin & Rowe tapware. Original Gurgle Pot water jug – ‘the most fun you’ll ever have pouring water!’ Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sarah Ellison vase. Peter Lindbergh book – ‘I sat outside his apartment in Paris waiting for him to come out, I wanted to meet him. I waited all day. Then a few years ago he ‘liked’ a shot I posted of my dad on Instagram by photographer and dear friend Andrew Southam – now that gave me a rush!’ tells Deb! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Deb’s current mood board. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lee Mathews silk slip dress. Pony Rider throw. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Pony Rider rug/throw. The painting over the bed was the first piece of art Deb ever bought, purchased in New York, by Jessica Falstein. Raine&Humble Pom-pom cushion. Society of Wanderer denim pillows and floral linen cushion. Ikea wall light. Stools found at Vinnies that Deb painted green. Leather bucket bag from Lee Mathews. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vanity. Perrin & Rowe tapware. Omvivo Laris basin from Candana. ‘Girl With The Pearl Earring’ print from Deb’s family home. Green MT45 terrazzo from Terrazzo Australian Marble – ‘I would’ve had this terrazzo everywhere except it’s more expensive that marble. I’ve always loved it, a bit annoyed everyone else has fallen in love with it in the design world. I thought it was my little secret!’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Ottocento from Artedomus – ‘definitely sold my soul to buy this and it was the best investment ever’. Linen shower curtain were discontinued by the original supplier, so Deb found a maker to create them and now she can hardly keep up with the orders – DM Deb on Instagram if you want one! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘There’s nothing quite like sunset over Pittwater – makes my heart skip a beat without fail. Never take that view for granted’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 1st May 2019

‘I swear being here makes you creative, I think it’s the light and being up in the trees.’ – Deb Bibby

Deb Bibby first encountered this family home as a neighbour, as she used to live next door! At the time, she explains ‘it was an ugly duckling covered in plastic mock bricks.’

The property was built in 1926 by Sir Arthur Alfred Clements Cocks, and has only had four owners – clearly once people move in, they don’t want to leave. This is certainly true for Deb, who describes ‘we walked in and fell in love. Kaboom!’

While Deb immediately removed those ‘ugly duckling’ bricks to reveal Jarrah boards wrapped around the entire home – further renovations to the house took a little longer. She explains ‘an architect friend told me to live it a year before renovating… we ended up living in it for 20 years before we renovated!’

After well-and-truly getting to know the feel of the home and appreciate its rich history, the house underwent a major overhaul four years ago. Deb explains ‘the house was lifted completely intact (with all of its furniture) 1.2 metres into the air, and we built a bedroom and bathroom underneath!

In addition to this elevating experience, a garage was rebuilt in the original 1926 location, and a studio was designed to match the materials and craftsmanship of the historic home. Deb describes ‘the new studio connects to the house via the deck, which now creates a beautiful courtyard feel.’

Inside, the home has a timeless sensibility, styled with a delightful mish-mash of  eclectic artwork, antiques and classic design pieces, collected over a lifetime. The palette here is muted and primarily neutral, with tiny pops of green, dirty pink and orange adding moments of intrigue to a backdrop of Dulux Natural White. For Deb, favourite pieces include artwork and objects collected on her travels – such as the small green landscape painting by Jessica Falstein above the master bed, which was the first piece of art Deb purchased when visiting New York in her 20s.

This divine family home provides an inspiring and stimulating environment for Deb and her equally creative son, Jack. She enthuses ‘I swear being here makes you creative, I think it’s the light and being up in the trees – nature literally blows into the living room, and the birds are deafening.’

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