A Tonal Sorrento Beach House Inspired By The Italian Coast

Sorrento, Italy is known for its panoramic waterfront views, clifftop settings, and pastel-coloured fishing village. And Melbourne’s own Sorrento, nestled along the luxurious Mornington Peninsula, has plenty of coastal charm in its own right.

But this recently completed Sorrento home by Fiona Lynch brings together the best of both worlds – featuring the typical ideals of an Australian holiday house while celebrating the homeowner’s Italian heritage.

Warm and minimalistic interiors helped transform the 1980s merchant-builder home into a contemporary family retreat. Step inside!

Christina Karras

The Sorrento House by Fiona Lynch! Photo – Dave Kulesza

A look into the calming living room. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Above the dining table hangs a Gabriel Scott Luna pendant. Photo – Dave Kulesza

All existing joinery was clad in oak veneers, while the sweeping island bench required 8 men to carry it into the house! Photo – Dave Kulesza

Countertops feature a limestone surface that extends beyond the new ocean-facing windows to create a breakfast ledge on the balcony. Photo – Dave Kulesza


Clean lines reference the symmetry of Italian Rationalism. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Woven wicker screens and doors enable the sea breeze to filter through by the staircase. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Wheat-toned raffia wallpaper features on the walls of the upper level’s living space. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Stone surfaces add a luxurious touch. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Chalky green feature walls run throughout. Photo – Dave Kulesza

‘The curtains are a soft-spoken part of the design but give the home almost a hotel or a getaway feel, and are a great way to introduce linen, which is classically suited to a beach retreat,’ Fiona notes. Photo – Dave Kulesza

‘The impact is in the big decisions, but also these smaller ones,’ Fiona explains of the project’s fine detailing. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Open storage units keep spaces light and bright. Photo – Dave Kulesza

The weekender features plenty of quiet corners for the family to escape to. Photo – Dave Kulesza

A custom Tundra Grey limestone table is one of the few curved, hard surfaces within the home. Photo – Dave Kulesza

In addition to the study’s newly built timber and stainless-steel cabinets, the bar area downstairs features a custom bottle display unit. Photo – Dave Kulesza

‘We created the curve to soften the space and to make the curve in the hallway. The hallway was previously narrow, and so we took some space from the oversized main bedroom,’ Fiona says of the master bedroom. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Tones of green and grey pick up the natural and coastal surrounds just outside the home. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Christina Karras
15th of July 2022

Sorrento House brings a taste of the Italian coastline to the Mornington Peninsula after a striking renovation by Fiona Lynch Office.

A Melbourne family with two young children engaged the interior design studio with hopes of returning their dated merchant builder-style home to its original glory.

‘It had been renovated, however not in a sympathetic way,’ director Fiona Lynch says. It had been given an all-white interior, with grey laminated joinery and intrusive open shelving elements that felt cold and out of place in the property’s beachy surrounds.

‘I could see that we could bring it back to its former self and soften the finishes, and really make it a retreat,’ Fiona notes. After stripping back the interiors, natural materials such as pale timber, open weave linen curtains and muted green hues were selected to create a sense of warmth and texture across the abode.

The client’s Italian heritage informed the brief for the renewed holiday house. This prompted Fiona to combine a ‘calming coastal Positano palette’ with the minimalism and symmetry of Italian Rationalism. She highlights the travertine and oyster-grey limestone features – showcased in storage units, the island bench and countertops – as one of the project’s most meaningful additions. Pairing this with timber joinery and woven-wicker screens helped create the property’s warm atmosphere inside.

‘The screens are custom and are made by a third-generation weaver from Melbourne, Camberwell Cane,’ Fiona notes. ‘They are master weavers, and once the framework is in, they come to the site, and weave the screen onsite. Their work is exceptional.’

Fiona and her team also curated the furniture for the project. They introduced soft curtains to give the home a luxe ‘hotel or getaway feel’, while incorporating linen – which is ‘classically suited to a beach retreat.’ The dreamy renovation even earned a commendation in the 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards‘ Residential Design Award category!

But perhaps most importantly, the home now caters to the owner’s Mediterranean lifestyle. ‘Our client is passionate about their Italian heritage, and they have deep a love for cooking and enjoying life,’ Fiona adds. ‘Their Sorrento beach house is now a place to do all that: to relax and enjoy good food and wine.’

See more projects from Fiona Lynch Office here.

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