For Belinda, Brian and their two children, the discovery of a vacant block of land in east Bulli presented them with an opportunity too good to miss. An outdoorsy and active family, the location was a winner.
“The block is exactly where we want to live,” Belinda said, “and we jumped at the opportunity to build a home from scratch and fine tune every detail from the get-go.”
Not only is Colemans Lane a small, quiet street but it’s located in a fantastic spot in Bulli between the beach, sports fields, schools, shops and train station – ideal for Brian’s commutes to Sydney.
The block itself isn’t large but it’s an easy block in that it’s flat, plus with a north-facing rear yard we were able to take full advantage of that sunshine flooding into the block. An easement running down the eastern boundary gave us the perfect excuse to position the house further to the western boundary, taking advantage of morning sunlight into the home. The standout feature on the block is two beautiful big gum trees at the front, which will create a beautiful outlook from the home and also a little extra privacy for the family.
From the front facade, the look of the house is coastal character elevated to a more modern aesthetic with black window frames. A lovely front deck is a lovely spot to admire those trees, and dark feature cladding around and matching the garage door also speaks to that modern feel.
The interesting thing about the style of this home was that we did at one point, go down the path of more industrial look, with a box style design on the facade. It wasn’t until Belinda and Brian experienced the design in the virtual reality model, and had time to digest it all, that they came back in and said that they felt they’d gone too far down the wrong path and wanted to be true to the style they had actually loved all along which was modern coastal. We’ve since used this home as an example with new clients who are unsure about the exterior design, because essentially the floor plan didn’t have to change too much to completely change the overall look and feel.
Through the front door and the first thing you see is a stunning feature staircase, the subject of much time during virtual reality sessions in the design studio . “It’s a black and timber staircase, there were lots of discussions and brainstorming to get it just right!” Belinda said.
The lounge room is positioned at the front of the house on the lower floor, with two large windows flanking a fire place. This will be such a cosy room for the family in the evenings, but also bright and airy when they come downstairs in the morning, thanks to the extra space on the eastern boundary allowing lots of light in those windows.
A discreet home office tucked at the rear of the lounge room creates a visual distinction between the two living spaces, which is very effective for defining and creating highly functional spaces in a modestly sized home.
Beyond the lounge room is where this house truly punches above its weight. Cathedral ceilings with exposed rafters create volume and makes the space feel larger (and ooze character!), plus large glass doors, extra windows and a feature triangular window enabled by the high ceilings, are all designed to capture that northerly sunlight. For good measure, skylights also feature in this space. It will feel like an indoor/outdoor room which will be perfect for this family!
Belinda and Brian did allow their penchant for industrial styling come to the surface in this room, with concrete floors, a knockout concrete kitchen bench and black fittings all a nod to this style they love. Open shelving in the kitchen is an opportunity to add the warmth of timber, and they plan to furnish this room with rustic and character-filled timber dining setting and stools.
The cathedral ceilings continue outside in a roomy covered entertaining zone. Just look at the image of this space, words do no justice! We can’t wait to see how Belinda, Brian and the kids use this area, it’s very beautiful and most importantly, it has an easy connection with the living spaces.
Back to the staircase up to the first floor, where this family has everything they need and nothing they don’t. A generously proportioned master bedroom features large sliding doors with another triangular feature window, plus has a walk-in-robe, ensuite and a private balcony, while the two children’s bedrooms share another bathroom.
Overall this is a fabulous smaller home with everything an outdoorsy family will love, that is highly practical but also very stylish and will certainly start some conversations! It’s also a home that benefited from the clarity that the virtual reality provides along the way.
“The design process was a dream and the VR was a massive time saver,” Belinda said. “Being able to virtually step into our home through the VR goggles was amazing, not only as it saved a huge amount of time, but also being able to see how an element would look if we weren’t sure gave us more confidence that it was the right decision or change it if needed.”
“We absolutely love the design. We can visualise ourselves living there already!”