A Coastal Oasis Designed + Built By The Owners

For this project, building designer Lauren Patista-Trickey and her husband, builder Jonathon Patista, were their own clients. Something, they admit, was ‘a journey.’

‘When you’re both husband and wife, designer and builder, there’s no escaping each other,’ says Lauren.

But, they made it work. Together, they’ve completed their dream coastal oasis in Connewarre, Victoria, surrounded by a golfing green, rolling farm hills and just a five-minute walk from the beach!

Bea Taylor

‘Our focus was on connecting and applying the materials both inside and outside the home in a way that was subtle, timeless and inviting,’ says Lauren Patista-Trickey of Section Studio. Photo – Nic Stephens

A soft, earthy colour and material palette reference the location in Connewarre, Victoria. Photo – Nic Stephens

A minimalist approach to the interior allows the beautiful landscape to be the feature. Photo – Nic Stephens

The oversized, commercially framed windows look out onto scenic vistas! Photo – Nic Stephens

Lauren and Jonathon chose timber veneer cabinetry for the interior. Photo – Nic Stephens

‘Our dreamy sofa from Maker and Son is so luxurious, but also practical. We can laze on it as a family without being on top of each other,’ Lauren says. Photo – Nic Stephens

‘The double-sided fireplace is elevated, and such a cosy luxury you can see crackling flames from the kitchen, and also when lazing on the sofa,’ says Lauren. Photo – Nic Stephens

Subtle pops of colour can be found around the home. Photo – Nic Stephens

‘I selected materials that had a natural feel, and subtle texture to layer together throughout the home,’ says Lauren. Photo – Nic Stephens

A rammed earth wall is the main feature in the main bedroom. Photo – Nic Stephens

Outdoor dining and living was a must! Photo – Nic Stephens

What’s a coastal home without an outdoor shower? Photo – Nic Stephens

The plunge pool is sheltered from the harsh winds that race across the surrounding hills. Photo – Nic Stephens

‘Johno automatically defaults to using timber in his work. He is meticulous and I often joke that all his hard work in the frame is covered in plaster and paint, so I think he loves to stand back and appreciate the features like the beautiful timber battens that he spent so many hours on,’ says Lauren. Photo – Nic Stephens

The front door is cleverly hidden in the timber battens! Photo – Nic Stephens

Bea Taylor
6th of December 2022

When planning their dream home, building designer Lauren Patista-Trickey of Section Studio and her husband, builder Jonathon Patista had all the tools to create a house with all the bells and whistles. Instead, they opted for simplicity.

‘Simplicity in both layout and construction,’ explains Lauren. ‘We wanted to keep things aligned and simplified from a floor plan perspective to minimise wasted materials and unnecessary labour.’

It’s simplified, but in no way trite. Through clever material choice and thoughtful planning, Lauren and Jonathon have created a coastal oasis for their family of six, including eight-year-old twins Max and Winnie, one-year-old Johnny and blue heeler Skip. 

Their home is a new build on a previously empty block in Connewarre, Victoria (on the Bellarine Peninsula) surrounded by a golf course and open paddocks, and just a five-minute walk from the beach. 

‘We have a beautiful scenic vista of pine trees, rolling green hills, and four friendly cows we spot from our window that belong to a nearby farmer,’ says Lauren. 

With a landscape such as this, Lauren and Jonathon knew the best option for them was to create a home that celebrated their surroundings, and allowed for connection in communal areas, but also space to retreat. 

‘Orientation was so paramount to the design,’ says Lauren. ‘With a generous site we were able to create sunny, warm living spaces while protecting the pool and entertaining areas from the blistering winds that roll in from the paddocks nearby.’

Communal areas are located in the centre of the home, which also wraps around the plunge pool and outdoor living. At either end of the impressive adobe is a bedroom retreat for respite and relaxation. ‘We aligned the hallways that extend at either end to the private bedrooms and bathrooms, giving the flexibility to connect these spaces, or separate them by closing cleverly placed doors,’ Lauren explains.

Materials were also chosen to reflect the landscape, with limestone boulders dug up during the earthworks now sitting in the garden providing a point of reference to the interior. Inside, limestone-like tiles, rammed earth walls, an earthy colour palette and textured neutrals reign. 

Oversized commercially-framed windows installed along the northern wall of the main living room constantly connect the family to their inspiration. 

‘I love that I can be pottering around in the kitchen, and see the kids splashing in the pool, the dog lying in the sun on the deck, and the cows chewing grass on the nearby hill,’ says Lauren.

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