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A Nostalgic Mid-Century Beach Shack On Victoria's Coast

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Trips to Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula are already filled with nostalgia for most Melburnians, but this mid-century beach shack takes that feeling to a whole new level after being lovingly renovated by its owners.

Sarah and Tom Miles spent 18 months bringing their run-down Ocean Grove property back to its retro glory.

The 1950s home is now a dreamy, two-bedroom accommodation called Miles Away, nestled by the beach and towering tea trees. And as the name suggests, it’s designed to transport guests miles away!

4th August, 2022

Inside Miles Away, in Ocean Grove. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The cosy coastal abode is the result of 18 months of work (and eight months stand-still due to the pandemic!) Photo – Nikole Ramsay

Stylist Sarah and drilling engineer Tom Miles wanted to create a stay that was comfortable yet retro. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

‘The house is a nice mix of old and new. You don’t walk in and straight away think it’s all second hand and vintage, but there is a nod, and we really love that,’ Sarah says. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

‘Everything we have done within the house was to keep “considered and slow living” in mind, and to keep it as true to its original state as we could while breathing some life back into it,’ Sarah says. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The glorious vintage-inspired kitchen! Photo – Nikole Ramsay

Sarah’s eye for eclectic styling helps round out the accomodation. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

One of the two light-filled bedrooms. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The shack is filled with coastal treasures, from shells to feathers. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The front of the property is shaded by beautiful native tea trees, while a large Norfolk Island Pine completed the sunny backyard.Photo – Nikole Ramsay

‘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. For us it always reminds us of simple summer holidays or road trips with our loved ones,’ Sarah adds. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

Christina Karras
Thursday 4th August 2022

‘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 Miles

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.

Book your stay at Miles Away.

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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.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net