This week I asked Bon to answer some of your burning questions about the Beach Shack.
Here’s how it went down....
Q. SO BON, THE HOUSE IS LOCATED IN PEARL BEACH... WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS AREA?
Pearl Beach is such a gorgeous, beautiful slice of the world which I’ve loved for many, many years because it’s got that lovely combination of a coastal, beach vibe and a rainforest kind of feeling with all of the tall trees and birds.
The streets are tree lined, quiet and flat making them perfect for a bike ride around the area with the kids. Pearl Beach feels like an undiscovered haven and I’m so lucky to have my little beach shack in such an amazing place.
Q. WHAT WAS THE HOUSE LIKE WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
It was in “ 70s original” condition – so it was essentially just a box with LOADS of green and brown!
Q. WHAT WAS THE INSPO FOR YOUR RENO?
I’ve always loved this white beach house in South Africa which I saw years ago in a magazine. It’s one of my favourite homes and I definitely took a bit of inspo from it.
I like to start with an overall theme for a house and this one is probably best described as “beachy” which was the obvious choice based on the location of the house and feeling we wanted to create.
It had to feel relaxed and have a distinct summer-holiday vibe.
Q. WHAT MAJOR CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TO THE PROPERTY?
We renovated the Beach Shack over a few different stages. Inside, the first thing I did was rip up the old nasty carpet. I got lucky with some beautiful pine floorboards underneath which my dad helped me whitewash. They came up a treat and helped give it a really relaxed beach vibe. I then painted EVERYTHING white (no surprise there). The walls, the ceilings and all of the old built-in cabinetry which came with the home.
We then cosmetically renovated the kitchen which made a HUGE difference to the home. We put in a gas strut window with servery and a bi-fold window looking out to the front yard. Both these new windows connected the outdoor entertaining areas with inside. I now love spending time in that kitchen.
Next, we added a new deck with really long steps which basically became stadium-style seating for all the guests sit and watch the kids going crazy in the front yard.
One of the most recent changes we made was converting the garage into a self-contained studio with its own bathroom. This turned out great as it meant we could sleep another whole family at the Beach Shack and give them their own space. Erin's family loves to stay there while we're in the main house.
Q. WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN BY RENOVATING THIS HOUSE?
I believe every reno gives you the chance to learn something new and we certainly did learn a few things as we renovated this home. I think the biggest things for us were:
+ Contrary to what people think, white floors don’t show the dirt. At least not at this house. The whitewashed floors are perfect for hiding the inevitable sand that come in on the kids’ feet. And even scratches don’t tend to show up as much as they would with darker floors.
+ You can never have too much seating on a deck. We built this deck with long wide, wrap around steps so that you can use the deck steps like bench seating. There’s often a whole bunch of us adults sitting on the steps with a vino or beer in our hands while we watch the kids play cricket on the lawn. This was the first time I’d thought about steps as a way to have additional seating and it’s something we’ve used a few times in our renos since.
+ A self-contained cottage is much more valuable than a garage! This lesson is probably most relevant to holiday rentals, but as soon as we converted the studio, we were able to sleep more bodies in the property and that made a difference to bookings.
Q. WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT A HOLIDAY HOUSE VERSUS A HOTEL?
I think holiday houses are so much nicer than hotels. You get plenty of space for the kids and dogs to run around and it just feels a bit more personal.
Q. OTHER THAN THE BEACH SHACK, WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY?
I’d love to stay at The Chalet, Byron Bay. For starters, we love Byron and try to holiday there every year. The Chalet has such a beautiful, relaxed aesthetic with all its white paint, ocean-coloured furnishings and Palm Springs vibe.