A Restored ‘60s Beach House On The Mornington Peninsula

When this 1960s beach house was last for sale, it was advertised as a knockdown complete with plans and permits for two townhouses. Despite its near uninhabitable state, Rhiannon and Matt Orr, founders of Design Orr Build, saw potential in its original bones as a family home and eventual accommodation. 

After an extensive renovation, extension, and move up north, Rhiannon and Matt have recently opened up their Mornington Peninsula property to guests full time via Airbnb. Take a closer look at Coota!

Amelia Barnes

Pendant light from Pop and Scott. American Oak dining table made by a friend. ‘Dany’ dining chairs by  Aldo Barbieri from Castorina & Co. Photo – Holly Graham

Tiled splashback and benchtop using Japanese Minokoyo Tiles from Academy Tiles. Vox lamp from FRED International. Photo – Holly Graham

Sofa from Curated Spaces. Artwork (left) by Mel Hasic. Vintage oil artwork (right) from Winsome Collection. Photo – Holly Graham

Sofa from Curated Spaces. Kartell Nesting Tables.  Photo – Holly Graham

Bedlinen from InBed. Fertility idols sculpture by Ella Bendrups. Artwork from Modern Times. Photo – Holly Graham

Sheer curtains by Esenar. Bedlinen from InBed. Photo – Holly Graham

Japanese Minokoyo Tiles from Academy Tiles. Photo – Holly Graham

The living area opens out into the garden. Photo – Holly Graham

The adorable bunkroom features bedlinen from InBed. Photo – Holly Graham

Brick Face Tiles from Daniel Robertsons. Photo – Holly Graham

Reclaimed sleepers create a privacy barrier for the outdoor shower. Photo – Holly Graham

The landscaping was completed by Real Earth Developments. Photo – Holly Graham

Amelia Barnes
28th of April 2022

Coota is a restored 1960s house in Capel Sound, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, which is now open for bookings via Airbnb.

The house was originally purchased by Rhiannon and Matt Orr, founders of design and build practice Design Orr Build, as their own home in 2016. The property was advertised as a knockdown with permits for townhouses already approved, but that still didn’t prepare Rhiannon and Matt for seeing it in person!  

‘When we requested an inspection with the agent he laughed and confessed he hadn’t yet stepped foot inside the house! It was practically inhabitable. But she was everything we were looking for in a project and home,’ says Rhiannon. 

Despite the huge amount of work required to renovate, Rhiannon and Matt knew they could make it work. They came up with a design direction (inspired by a mid-century caravan amenity block!) in the 60 days prior to settlement, and the majority of building works were completed in the following 10 weeks. 

Over the years, the couple have added a rear extended and completed landscaping to the property constructed by Real Earth Developments, but the home exterior remains faithful to its origins. 

‘In doing so we were able to create light drenched spaces with great connection to the front and rear yards,’ says Rhiannon of the renovations. 

Rhiannon and Matt appreciate the facade’s original timber louvres that operate ‘like a tent’, inviting sea breeze into the home as desired. New materials in the interiors are similarly natural and calming, including textural bathroom tiles and large windows framing the outdoors. 

‘The property exudes a sense of slow, which our guests always comment on,’ says Rhiannon.

Matt and Rhiannon recently moved to Far North Queensland, which means Coota is now available to rent as accommodation. The couple’s next project is renovating a timber house next to a rainforest outside Port Douglas — stay tuned for the results! 

Book your stay at Coota

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