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Revisiting An Eclectic Family Beach House

Homes

If this home looks a little familiar to you… that’s because it is! Like most businesses, we’ve had to make a few changes to the way we do things lately. We can’t send photographers out to shoot all the incredible Australian homes we usually shoot, just for the time being. Don’t worry…. we’ve still got some EPIC never-before-seen houses stored up to get us through the next few months. But we’ll also be revisiting a favourite home from the TDF archives every few weeks, just to take the pressure off a bit!

First up we’re revisiting the Balnarring beach house of communications and PR whiz Kate Dinon, where she and her family have been bunkering down full time to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Kate is passionate about Australian art, design and creative collaboration, and has a close network of talented creative friends, including interior designer Chelsea Hing, who helped design this home. Today, we speak with Kate about transforming a daggy 60’s besser brick home into a chic family retreat, with her husband Alex Ksugas, and children Marlow (5) and Grace (3).

15th April, 2020

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 15th April 2020

‘Alex and I have always talked about doing a family gap year, maybe this is it!’ quips Kate Dinon. Recently, Kate and her family have made the move down to their home on the  Mornington Peninsula during this time of social distancing. It was a something they’d already been considering doing on a permanent basis, ‘so this feels like a very good test run’, Kate says.

In 2015, Kate 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. Since we last checked in with Kate, she’s also found the artwork of her dreams: a Reko Rennie commission in ‘the most brilliant pink you’ve ever seen’, that Kate counts as her pride and joy!

Now that they’re here full time, Kate and Alex have been able to make some long-awaited changes to the place they now call home. ‘We have finally been able to “do” the garden – meaning our home is now as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside’ she says, working with an amazing local garden designer Jo Ferguson and gardener Corey and his team from Natural Outlook.

Enlisting the help of the couple’s close friend, interior designer Chelsea Hing, Kate and Alex have also opened up the back of the house and installed bi-fold doors, a big deck and a pergola – all built by David Johnson, who worked on the original upgrade of the house.

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 place for her young family.

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.