This extraordinary little beach house would have to be one of our favourite renovations ever.
I remember our first walk through. Karl, my parents and mother in-law all very eager to look around. Only minutes in my mom corners me at the apricot kitchen bench and says sternly, “There is no way you are buying this place!”
Well, we did, and we loved every square inch of this wee little gem when it was all done.
The beach house had great bones. Elevated on a tree lined street with ocean glimpses and just 200m walk to one of WA’s best surfing beaches. What wasn’t to love about this rough diamond.
The deck was in urgent need of repair. The boards were splintered and weak and the vertical uprights needed replacing.
Karl, as task leader with his team (my dear dad, myself and on occasion mom and ‘Boots’ our old Blue Heeler) stripped back the old boards in preparation for the builder to come in and lay the new ones.
We did consider extending the deck but this would have required approaching the council for approval (which costs time and money – architectural plans etc) so we decided to keep the orginal size of the deck and plough ahead.
We selected a composite exterior floorboard ideally suited to a beach house so close to the ocean.
These composite boards are lightweight and easy to handle, making them perfect for most residential new decking projects. The added bonus is they require minimal maintenance.
The steel uprights and horizontal beams had rusted out almost completely, so the uprights were replaced with new galvanised posts and the horizontal beams were replaced with timber.
The deck refurbishment gave us the opportunity to remove the inconvenient centre post in the middle of the drive way and open this up as a two vehicle carport. So much more functional and aesthetically appealing from a street appeal perspective.
Reno tip: Get a good contractor who you trust can do the work. Read company reviews and view their project work before signing any contracts. Finally discuss the timeline to ensure it works with your program.
If you are prepared and able to do some of the work, ask your contractor if you can reduce the labour component of the project by taking care of the prep work and post project clean up yourselves.
To keep the labour costs down on this project Karl stripped all of the balustrading and decking, removed all the nails from the purlins, prepped, painted and managed all of the rubbish removal post project. This saved us thousands in labour fees.
The interior of the beach house was frankly pretty bleak. The floors featured a mottled orange and brown lino with apricot kitchen cabinetry and dreary off-white walls. The staircase was pine and carpets in the bedrooms were worn out and heavily marked.
We applied our signature white paint effect to freshen and brighten up the little place. Its well known that white works to create the illusion of space but it also does wonders for creating a fresh and clean contemporary look. Everything started to sparkle!
We pulled up the lino and laid Tasmanian Oak floorboards (painting these high gloss white) The boards were tongue and groove, but we decided to leave a matchstick size line through the floor to give the effect of singular boards (very beachy!)
We went with a monochrome interior using shades of grey and a hint of black to keep the house feeling contemporary coastal. We hung walnut curtain rails and floaty white cotton drapes for whimsical window treatments and introduced touches of black in the art work.
We changed some of the feature lighting including the stairwell pendant. The Koralky 3 Light Pendant in whitewash was a floor stock purchase for half price from Beacon Lighting and looked right at home in this coastal aesthetic.
Karl painted the stairwell with high gloss enamel and the floor was a two-pack epoxy that ensured no discoloration would occur over time.
The floor plan of this house was absolutely fantastic. Although a small place it offered two living areas (one up, one down) and 3-4 bedrooms. Prior to the renovation however the furniture layout was all wrong. It had negative Feng Shui. The flow through the home was hindered by obstacles (furniture facing the wrong way) and too much clutter.
We began the lower living room demo by pulling up the orange and brown lino on the floor and were delighted to find a concrete slab in amazing condition.
We decided to save cost here and simply painted over the concrete floor with epoxy. Our white out approach to walls and ceilings continued and presented a sparkling new space in which to dress.
For styling we opened up the floor plan by placing the furniture in commanding positions (another key principal of Feng Shui that creates good energy and flow) The room literally tripled in size, it felt open and inviting.
We carried the monochrome look through to the downstairs living space to ensure a cohesive feel throughout.
The large double doors opened out to the manicured front lawn where we hung a dreamy Uniqua natural rattan swing chair. The perfect spot for a G+T and judging lawn bowls.
The beach house bedrooms were small and dreary. The carpets were tired and heavily marked. The wall and ceiling paint was dull. The rooms needed fresh paint, new carpet and some lovely window treatments to compliment the custom furniture.
We added a fresh coat of paint to the walls and ceiling and selected a taupe coloured carpet to brighten up the bedrooms.
We customised beautiful furnishings including this 4-poster bed in whitewash with matching side tables and mosquito net and added a large full-length mirror to make the room feel larger.
This bedroom was absolutely dreamy to sleep in with the doors pinned back and open to the sound of the ocean. With the mosquito net down it felt like you were staying in a luxury resort villa in the Maldives.
Styling tip: Choose your furniture carefully. Be careful not to fill a small room with oversized pieces. For small bedrooms consider pull out, trundle style beds or in our case bunks. Bunk beds are super fun for a kids rooms (and even big adults!) We selected a style with a double bed on the base and a single bed on top. The space saved in this small room is evident. There was even room now for a chest of drawers.
We all know bathrooms and kitchens sell houses. For this project the budget was only going to allow for major work on one or the other. The bathrooms in this house were dire and unsalvageable.
We went to work gutting both bathrooms including retiling walls, floors, and shower recesses. Vanities and toilets were updated and as both bathrooms were quite small, we decided to forgo using shower screens and kept each bathroom as open concept.
One of the most unappealing aspects of this property when we first bought it was the back yard. It was diabolical.
Karl pulled up all of the concrete tiles in preparation for a contractor to come in and lay a new back deck. We used the same material as the upper deck to maintain a cohesive look. Karl got to work flattening off the back section and lay turf and reticulation. It was a simple and inexpensive transformation but this outdoor space was enjoyed every day.
Landscaping tip: Flat manicured lawn is the best! It’s a relatively inexpensive thing to do but has enormous impact and purpose.
Lawn is easy to maintain, and it provides a space for children and families to play and entertain. Its also very cooling on hot days.
The budget for the beach house renovation was $50,000 plus an additional $50,000 for furniture and effects.
We painted inside and out. Every square inch, and we did this without a contractor. We even painted the shed to create a cohesive look from the street, which added tens of thousands to the curb appeal.
The house was under offer the day it featured in the STM Magazine with most of the furniture and effects included in the sale.