The home of communications consultant Kate Ryan and brewer Dave Bonighton was originally a typical weatherboard beach house — airy, simple, and beautiful.
After purchasing the property in 2015, Kate and Dave were lucky enough to meet with both of the previous owners, who shared stories with them about the home’s past.
‘It was originally a two-room shack and the family used to travel by bus from St Kilda for summer, and the kids used to camp in tents,’ says Kate. ‘They came and stayed here one weekend and gave us some amazing photos of the house over the years.
‘We also met the people who owned it after them and who did an excellent extension in the 2000s that served us well for four years before we renovated!’
Kate and Dave initially used the property as a holiday house, before moving to the beach full time after their children finished high school. They embarked on a major renovation in preparation, commencing in 2019.
‘The house was great as it was, so we didn’t feel the need to demolish and start again. Rather, we just wanted a big glass wall in the living area to make the most of the beautiful garden and make it more insulated,’ explains Kate.
Designed by Preston Lane architects and constructed by Damon Armstrong Builders, the renovation has instilled the home with a newfound cosiness and connection to nature thanks to rich timber surfaces.
Windows frame views of the Amanda Oliver-designed garden — with planting designed by Jo Ferguson — at every opportunity. ‘We wanted to make sure that wherever you are inside, you can see trees and birds and animals going about their business and feel a part of it,’ Kate says.
Kate describes the home as feeling like a ‘boat/cabin combo’ that offers a warm, inviting, and restful feel. ‘We used earthy tones and soft comfy furnishings and lots of wood — things that are low maintenance and will get better with age,’ Kate says.
There’s plenty to do in the area, but you’ll rarely find Kate and Dave outside of their home, where they enjoy regularly entertaining friends and family.
Kate also appreciates the home’s studio that serves as a dedicated workspace for running her social enterprise, Alepp Soap.
‘We love to cook and to eat and the kitchen design and deck leading out to the pizza oven in the garden gets a lot of traffic! Winter or summer the house works really well for big groups,’ says Kate.
‘We don’t tend to stray far from the house and the beach!’