The Sapphire Coast lies exactly between Sydney and Melbourne, a long stretch of beachy goodness characterised by pristine blue surf and lush national park. The quaint and quiet towns within the shire have been experiencing a resurgence in the last decade, welcoming newcomers in search of a quieter life, and those returning home. Miranda O’Rourke and Harrison Balodis are two of the latter.
The young couple were just 21 and 22 years old when they moved to Pambula in 2016 after purchasing a cottage that Harrison had discovered randomly after housesitting the place a few years prior. Seduced by the rambling fix-up job surrounded by beautiful green vegetation, the pair embarked on an epic restoration job, to equip the aged house for modern life.
Miranda (a criminologist with a love for op-shopping!) and Harrison stripped back the garden and re-weatherboarded the house, installing new insulation and waterproofing while they were there. It was essential to completely re-fit the kitchen and bathroom, but the couple added plenty of unique, personal touches such as an antique bath imported from France, brushed tapware from a friend’s local business, and pink Moroccan splashback tiles to keep the new zones consistent with the layered, rustic feel of the rest of the house.
The pair also enlisted friends and local builders to produce a few statement features, like the vast concrete kitchen bench, and the louvred kitchen window that opens out to the courtyard.
Once the structural updates were done, the pair set about furnishing and styling the home, to really lift the ambience.
‘We collected old wares and antiques to style the kitchen, lots of beautiful platters for people to serve food on and lots of baking tins,’ says Miranda, whose eye for styling is on full display here. Soft furnishings like linen, pillows and lush doonas in pinks and greens were essential to making the space warm and cosy.
At the heart of the gardens lies a giant kurrajong tree, which will soon shelter an outdoor bath beneath its canopy. Harrison and Miranda even have plans to build a pizza oven and an outdoor kitchen before the year is up.
‘We want every aspect of the house to be enjoyed, and it’s exciting to know that we’re getting there!’ says Miranda.
Even with some tweaks to be made, this beach-side cottage is already perfection. It really feels like home!