A Chic Coastal Home Transformed, With Just The Right Amount Of Colour

A white and bright holiday house on the South Coast of New South Wales has been given a modern makeover in this redesign by architectural firm BASE.

In addition to turning a challenging floorplan into a Sydney family’s forever home, the renovation found ways to inject hints of colour and personality into a classically coastal palette — all without straying from its original character.

Christina Karras

Jardan Thursday Sofa. Loom rug. Vintage Alky Armchairs by Patricia Urquloa from CCSS. Gubi 9602 floor lamp from In Good Company.

Custom coffee table in Pink Patagonia (made using offcuts from the ensuite vanity).

Vessels by Simone Karras, Dinosaur Designs, Henry Wilson, Bruce Rowe, Atplay Collective.

Custom-designed dining table by Joel Elliot. Pendant light double drop from Volkerhaug. Grazia & Co Diva Bar Stool.

Cabinetry painted in Dulux White Cabbage. Backsplash and shelves painted in Dulux Hog Bristle.

Frassino veneer from New Age Veneers. Polyurethane joinery. Quartzite slab benchtop.

The stairwell provides northern light into the living and dining spaces.

Kelly Wearstler ‘Mineral’ wallpaper from Elliott Clarke. Custom upholstered bed by Heatherly Design. Grazia & Co bedside table. Bloomingdales lamp. Hale Mercantile Co Bedlinen.

The bathrooms feature playful tile combinations.

The marble varieties include Botticino, Biancone, Rosso Verona, Giallo Reale among the stone tiles.


The large format Crema Levante tiles complement the muted colours in the pattern designs.

Jardan Nelly Wall sconce.

The house is split over three floors.

The facade has been updated with a new battened timber awning.

The view over the pool.

Christina Karras
20th of February 2024
Interior Decoration

Austinmer, NSW/Dharawal Country

After spending decades as a holiday rental, this Austinmer beach house has been given a new purpose, as a Sydney family’s multi-generational forever home.

The three-storey house hadn’t been touched since its last renovation in the early 2000s, which left it with an inefficient layout and sun-damaged interiors that were showing the home’s age, according to BASE director Jessica Bradley.

‘They were moving to join their extended family on the South Coast,’ BASE director Jessica Bradley says of the clients. ‘We were engaged to renovate the property on a rapid timeline, before they moved down in early 2022.’

In addition to completely reimagining the floorplan for the family of four, an existing studio over the garage was converted into a two-storey dwelling dubbed ‘the cottage’ for the owner’s mother.

All of the renovations occurred within the existing building footprint, retaining as many existing walls and windows as possible to reduce waste. And instead of transforming the ‘stark white’ exterior and altering the facade, they introduced subtle warmer hues that have given the home a new softer, sandy coastal aesthetic.

‘The dwelling receives strong morning and afternoon light due to its orientation. We wanted to use a palette that softened the light internally, particularly the harsh summer sunlight,’ Jessica says.

‘We worked together with the clients to finesse the brief, coined ‘elevated Mediterranean’, with whites, terracotta, neutrals, and deep greens being priority references.’

The owners had their hearts set on either a pastel yellow or green kitchen, and once the creamy quartzite slab for the benchtop was confirmed, they settled on soft green cabinetry that complements the eucalypt greens and ribbons of rust through the stone.

An almost ‘industrial’ black steel staircase was transformed with a coat of white paint, and a wire balustrade was replaced with a perforated aluminium mesh that makes the entrance (behind the bright yellow door) feel warm and welcoming.

The existing Victorian ash floorboards were also refinished in a light wash to align with the new natural material palette, instead focusing on tiling as a way to incorporate ‘muted splashes of colour’. In the bathrooms, tumbled stone tiles are playfully arranged into custom patterns, with hints of red and mustard yellow.

‘The natural materials will age gracefully, with gentle wear continuing to add character to the spaces,’ Jessica adds.

She says while the project was largely interiors-focused, it demonstrates the capacity for strategic design to optimise an existing dwelling layout in order to minimise demolition. The new layout optimises flow, function, and natural light — in addition to capturing the warmth of its dreamy coastal location.

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