MONOCHROME SET: BEACHSIDE LIVING IN BLACK AND WHITE
IT WAS NEARLY 20 years ago that a quirky log cabin weekender with unattractive 70’s additions caught the eye of a young couple house-hunting on Sydney’s northern beaches. Immediately recognising the potential and overlooking the negatives they purchased it on the spot and have been slowly transforming it into a family home ever since.
“There was that classic palette of mission brown and orange, every sliding door and window had an aluminium frame and the rooms were tight and boxy. But the position was good and we were truly in love with the view,” says Stephanie an artist, who share the home with husband Warwick and their two sons Joel and Matthew.
After doing minor renovations over the years it was the beginning of 2012 that saw the family ready for major works that would involve a total redesign of the house’s main entrance, kitchen, bathroom living and dining areas. A small mezzanine level would also be added as a studio space for Stephanie and the old roof would be replaced.
The black and white colour scheme is a canvas for the family’s art and decorative pieces collected on their travels and surfing safaris.
“We really needed better utilisation of the space,” says Stephanie. The entrance in particular drove me crazy. If it was raining you got soaking wet trying to get in the front door –there was no portico or eaves and then on entry you were immediately confronted with a slow-combustion heater. It just didn’t make sense.
Not only that, the galley kitchen was “a nightmare”, she remembers, “and the small dining room just worked as a thoroughfare through to the veranda.”
Stephanie knew she needed professional help so she enlisted local architect Rex McCrae of Context Design. Because the home didn’t have a huge floor space — and with the family’s needs considered — in planning terms it made perfect sense to have an open-plan kitchen and living area that would now incorporate the dining area at the front of the house.
French doors were also installed to open up on to a sandstone courtyard and tropical garden. The space works as an extra entertaining area and ‘visually’ greets guests on arrival. The previously ‘awkward’ slow-combustion heater set in the original exposed sandstone wall now functions as a rustic backdrop to the stylish dining area.
The kitchen’s island bench was designed as a piece of furniture to blend seamlessly into the adjoining living space. Appliances were chosen to compliment the neutral black and white colour scheme — a canvas for the family’s art and decorative pieces collected on their travels and surfing safaris.
On the downstairs level money was saved by leaving the boys’ bedrooms intact. Upstairs a veranda, which runs off of the kitchen and living space, was extended by matching the existing ceramic floor tiles to the undercover area. A built in barbecue and outdoor entertaining area now means that the family can host lunch and dinner parties here all year round. Full-length white painted sliding shutter doors have ben added to the veranda and are one of the family’s favourite features.
This new indoor/outdoor sitting room is used constantly by every family member as a quiet place to read or just hang out with friends and enjoy the view.
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