Those who follow me on Instagram will have seen a few regular posts of the beautiful beaches down at Byron Bay. I’m not shirking my duties. Between a piccolo on the beach in the morning and a Corona on the beach in the afternoon, I’m actually there to work on exciting interior design project. This is a little post to give you an insight into the project and how it’s coming together.
In collaboration with local architect Thais Pupio, I’m working on a complete revitalisation of one of the many summerhouses built in the Byron region in the late 1970s. It’s a pole home built on a steep block, and is actually quite a good example of quality design coming out of that period. It’s rumoured that this home has been a secret summer getaway for a few style-conscious celebrities over the years. (I can neither confirm nor deny that it was owned during the Eighties by an Australian supermodel who shares her first name with a popular fashion and lifestyle magazine.)
Despite its beautiful bones, some work is required on the overall structure and aesthetic design to bring it in line with the owner’s needs and current tastes.
The exterior of the house is looking quite drab. We’re working on a dramatic external makeover, installing a large concrete frame that will be supported by stone piers. Cladding constructed from local driftwood will offset the cold concrete and stone textures. We chose these materials for their obvious connection to the site and their ability to withstand whatever brutal weather conditions Mother Nature throws at them. The home will be virtually unrecognisable from the outside, but we really feel that the owners and their neighbours will appreciate how well it fits in with the environment.
Internally, we are working really hard to make everything look as relaxed as possible. The clients want the relaxed, “no fuss” attitude of a beach shack to inspire our aesthetic approach. We’re using slate flooring and recycled timbers throughout, teamed with a colour palette that reflects the local environment. There’s a lot of sea greens, blues with sandy whites. Decorative elements such as distressed timber walls, rustic terracotta tile and weathered bronze fittings create warmth and cosiness. This will be a house were you can instantly feel at home and relaxed.
What’s most exciting for me about this project is the opportunity to show how a design project can work to a theme without relying on clichés or tired ideas. The beach shack and other nautically inclined designs have been done to death. But that doesn’t mean they should be avoided. It just doesn’t make sense to have home so close to the magnificence of Byron Bay without reflecting the romance of the ocean in some way through the interior. Projects like this are actually really exciting for interior designers; they give us the opportunity to demonstrate our restraint, creative thinking and appetite to explore beyond the obvious design solution.
Needless to say, I am very exciting to show you how it all works out. Stay tuned for more updates on this project during construction.