This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Newly-Built Coastal Home Filled With Character + Colour

Homes

The family home of Catherine Spillane, Drew Rampal, and their children Wilbur (3) and Percy (4 months) has the feel of a well-established property, only it’s a completely new build! 

The couple moved to Anglesea, Victoria in 2017 and recently completed their self-designed dream house in the relaxed coastal town. 

This delightful home is family-friendly with its robust and versatile interiors, incorporating sustainable features and materials that hero the surrounding landscape.

5th October, 2022

Catherine Spillane and her partner Drew Rampal chose Japanese charred hardwood shou sugi ban for their home’s exterior cladding. Windows by Binq Windows. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Catherine Spillane, Percy (4 months), Drew Rampal, Wilbur (3), and George the dog! Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The blackbutt shelving was built by Drew, who works as a carpenter. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Top shelf (left to right): Tiwi bird totems by Mario Munkara. ‘Stinky’ metal dog by the Warlukurlangu Artists in Yuendumu. Middle shelves (left to right): The antique ceramic vases were a gift from homeowner Catherine’s mum. Beach rope and raffia baskets by Catherine. Red vase by Lucy Tolan. Totems by Catherine Spillane. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Paper lantern and couch by Pop & Scott. Rug by Weave. The coffee table base was found in hard rubbish and refurbished by homeowner Drew. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The mustard couch was designed and made by Drew and upholstered locally. Green couch by Pop & Scott. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Kasper Raglus. Green couch by Pop & Scott. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Artworks by Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson and Betty Mbitjana. Table made by homeowner Drew. Lampshade by Ferm Living. Chairs bought off Gumtree. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork on left wall by Marlene Nampitjinpa. Pink beach plastic piece ‘Floating’ by Catherine Spillane. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Kitchen cabinets in Porter’s Paints Bayleaf. Light shade by Mud Australia. Stools by Living By Design. Splashback tiles from Academy Tiles. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Kitchen cabinets in Porter’s Paints Bayleaf. Light shade by Mud Australia. Stools by Living By Design. Splashback tiles from Academy Tiles. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Tiles from Geelong Tiles & Bathware. Bath and tapware by Reece. Cabinet built by homeowner Drew. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Secondhand couch reupholstered locally. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Min Pin. Shelves built by homeowner Catherine’s dad. Rug by Pampa. Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Crazy paving and sandstone wall by Brad Bannan Stone Masonry. Bag from Pan After Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The family home has the feel of a well-established property, only it’s a completely new build!  Photography – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 5th October 2022

Occupational therapist and maker Catherine Spillane and carpenter Drew Rampal made the sea change from an inner-city Melbourne rental to buy their first home in coastal Anglesea (about 90 minutes south-west of Melbourne) five years ago. 

They bought the ‘first and cheapest’ home they could find —  a mid-century fibro shack that was unfortunately ridden with termite damage and unbearably cold in winter. The block itself was large and covered in beautiful stringybarks and wattle, so they eventually decided to demolish the house and start over.

Catherine and Drew designed the new home themselves, spending over two years drawing and tweaking details before it was done. ‘We are both creative people but typically we don’t work together on projects,’ says Catherine. This project was the exception! ‘We really enjoyed the process of designing and building the house together, incorporating one another’s skills and ideas’ Catherine confirms.

Drawing on Australian bush modernism, the creative couple envisioned a warm home made from durable, hardwearing materials to withstand kids, a dog, and lots of friends passing through and coming to stay. ‘We both love the warmth and calm that natural materials such as masonry and wood offer, so we based the interior design around these elements,’ says Catherine.

The build process was relatively seamless thanks to Catherine and Drew’s unified vision. ‘We had a very clear vision, and the house is just like we had imagined it’ Catherine says. 

A varied palette of warm, textured materials including brick painted in Dulux Natural White, ceramic tiles, concrete and timber has provided an immediately cosy and lived-in feel to this family home. The kitchen and bathrooms are more playful, featuring a predominantly green colour palette (including the kitchen cabinets in Porter’s Paints Bayleaf) referencing the nearby bush and coastal landscape. 

Catherine and Drew particularly love the crazy paving and stone wall in the backyard created by stonemason Brad Bannan; the lightwell above the stairs; and the timber-lined walls and ceilings. 

Sustainable features were also incorporated to ensure the home’s longevity and efficiency. The property operates using a solar system with a battery, contains electric hydronic heating, and is oriented north for optimum natural light. 

The styling has come together in its own organic way, and continues to evolve as the family matures. ‘We mostly used the things we already owned, which included a lot of furniture that Drew had made, and  anything that held meaning or was precious to us,’ says Catherine. 

The build was completed in eight months, allowing Catherine, Drew and toddler Wilbur to move in last year (by the very popular deadline of Christmas Eve!) before the arrival of baby Percy. Amazing work team!

This Week

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Food

Julia's Miso Eggplant Rice Bowls

Quick, tasty and oh-so-healthy (and vegan!) - Julia Busuttil Nishimura's sticky and sweet miso eggplant bowl will be your new go-to dinner!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Interiors

A Charming Victorian Cottage, Reorientated + Optimised For Decades To Come

Pipkorn Kilpatrick goes back to basics to enhance the interior and natural light of this Victorian cottage.

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Thornbury Cafe Turned Delightful DIY Home

Sculptor Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio and social worker Lucy Hyslop bought a gutted cafe and turned it into their charming home!

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Homes

Poppy Garbin + Scott Gibson Of Pop And Scott’s Dromana Dream Home

The renovated '80s home of Scott Gibson and Poppy Garbin, founders of Pop and Scott.

This Week

Interiors

A Charming Victorian Cottage, Reorientated + Optimised For Decades To Come

Pipkorn Kilpatrick goes back to basics to enhance the interior and natural light of this Victorian cottage.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Food

Julia's Miso Eggplant Rice Bowls

Quick, tasty and oh-so-healthy (and vegan!) - Julia Busuttil Nishimura's sticky and sweet miso eggplant bowl will be your new go-to dinner!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Thornbury Cafe Turned Delightful DIY Home

Artist Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio and social worker Lucy Hyslop bought a gutted cafe and turned it into their charming home.

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

A colourful 1980s Anglesea home, just 100 steps from the beach!

Homes

Poppy Garbin + Scott Gibson Of Pop And Scott’s Dromana Dream Home

The renovated '80s home of Scott Gibson and Poppy Garbin, founders of Pop and Scott.

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