Having grown up in Ocean Grove, stylist Sarah Miles always wanted to find an original property in the nostalgic beachside pocket that she and her husband Tom could renovate and restore.
‘We knew that this was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack as these little original beach shacks have become such an endangered species in our coastal towns, but I remained hopeful,’ Sarah says. ‘Just when we were starting to look at other options this little beach shack popped up.’
The 1950s property had been neglected after its former owner had moved into a nursing home, and was being sold as a knock-down and rebuild opportunity just five minutes from the beach. But for Sarah, ‘it was love at first sight’.
‘We knew it was going to be special and had to share it, so we started planning for it to become boutique accommodation,’ Sarah adds.
Despite never having renovated before, the couple didn’t waste time getting their hands dirty. They removed ‘quite a bit of asbestos,’ carefully restored the front windows, completely gutted the two bedrooms, and started over – transforming the property into a comfortable holiday home with room for up to four guests.
The outdated kitchen has also been overhauled to include fabulous pink cabinetry. Meanwhile inside, timber furniture and Sarah’s curated selection of ‘treasures’ throughout tie in perfectly with the home’s mid-century character and coastal vibes. A blue door now welcomes visitors to the happy beach house, which hides a sunny backyard at the rear!
‘The house is a nice mix of old and new.’ Sarah notes. ‘We lost count of the number of times people driving past would stop and either thank us or cheer us on for renovating the shack, not pulling it down and putting up a new “modern” house.’
The couple persevered through renovations when the pandemic hit (even while Tom was stuck working overseas!) and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by their guests since they opened up Miles Away for bookings at the end of 2020.
‘It’s a place to come and make memories but also a place where a wave of nostalgia washes over you and memories will come flooding back in,’ Sarah says.