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A Modernist-Inspired Getaway On The Mornington Peninsula


St Andrews Beach is a seldom mentioned slice of Victoria’s Mornington Pensinsula. Wedged between Cape Schanck and Sorrento, the rugged coastline faces Bass Strait rather than the bayside views favoured by the more popular townships on the opposing side of the coastal strip.

But this sense of undiscovered seclusion right in the heart of Victoria’s most popular beachside destination is exactly what the owners of this modernist-inspired beach house were seeking. It’s the perfect local getaway – and yes, you can stay here!

2nd July, 2020

The elevated living room is where the mid-century influences are most prominent! Photo – Andrew Diprose.

A north-facing orientation lends sun to the living spaces all day long. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

The house is filled with Scandinavian furniture, flea market finds and art collected from around Australia. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

We could definitely get used to this! Photo – Andrew Diprose.

The 4-metre long dining table is perfect for communal eating. Photo – Jarno Jussila.

The interiors are decorated with objects from Keryn’s weird and wonderful collections. Photo – Jarno Jussila.

Light fills the entertaining level from every angle! Photo – Jarno Jussila.

Sliding glass doors facilitate seamless indoor-outdoor living! Left: Photo – Jarno Jussila. Right: Photo – Andrew Diprose.

A 6.5m tall window provides views of the surrounding scrublands. Photo – Jarno Jussila.

The master bedroom. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

The main deck is fit for outdoor dining on beach days or balmy nights. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

The original shack was built in 2002. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

The new house was completed in 2006. It sits beside the original shack completed in 2002. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

Visitors enter the house via a footbridge, which is surrounded by a landscaped banksia forest.

The path down to the back beach. Photo – Jarno Jussila.

The banksia forest conceals the entry way from the house, and the house from the road! The landscaping is by Fiona Brockhoff. Photo – Andrew Diprose.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 2nd July 2020

‘We want guests to do as we do: put their feet up, relax and unwind, share beautiful times with friends and family because that’s what the place is built for.’

Keryn Nossal and her partner found this oddly-shaped slice of bushland perched atop a sand dune in St Andrews Beach in 2000. Though Keryn was drawn to the wild ocean and rugged coastline, neighbours thought they were mad for purchasing the difficult, sloping block which had become a staple vacancy on the local real estate market.

But there is, as they say, a fine line between insanity and genius.

In the two decades since purchasing the site, the Nossals have added a four-bedroom private retreat to the half-acre property. The pair engaged architect Aidan Halloran from ITN Architects to realise their vision of a modernist-inspired seaside haven. It took eight years to complete the landscaping, and the couple added a basic beach shack to the site two years later. The impressive main house that now sits beside that shack was eventually built in 2006.

‘I was inspired to build a special, low-key place for family and friends to gather close to the sea,’ Keryn explains. ‘Somewhere to connect with each other and unwind on summer holidays, and spend winters by the fire.’ It’s the perfect trans-seasonal escape!

Upon entering the multi-level house via a footbridge and a landscaped banksia forest, visitors catch a glimpse of the expansive seaside vista through a 6.5-metre window at the spine of the house. Styled with vintage ceramics, Scandinavian furniture, Aboriginal art and treasured objects, the ambience of this meticulously crafted weekender is relaxed yet refined.

The master suite is situated like a nest among the treetops, distanced from the downstairs sleeping quarters, with its own deck overlooking the surrounding scrubland. North-facing windows filter day-long sunshine into the elevated living space, which houses a 4-metre communal dining table and sliding glass doors for seamless indoor-outdoor living on balmy summer evenings.

‘We want guests to do as we do,’ says Keryn. ‘Put their feet up, relax and unwind, share beautiful times with friends and family because that’s what the place is built for.’

Keen for a weekend getaway to the secluded St Andrews beach? Book your stay at Coastal Luxe here.

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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.

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