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A beach shack

Nelly (who works in finances and is an aspiring stylist), her boyfriend Samuel (handyman, bike mechanic and graphic designer) and their cats Lex and Sox live in what Nelly calls a beach "shack" and I have to say that it looks nothing to me like a shack! I'll let Nelly tell you about their beautiful home in Watermans Bay (northern beaches of Perth, Western Australia)...

We were desperately looking for a cute beach house to rent at an affordable price. So when we stumbled upon a very neglected shack that was screaming potential, we jumped onto it!

When we first stepped in, the house was dark and gloomy and looked as if it was abandoned or – worse – as if it has been squatted by aspiring surfers, more attracted by the waves next door than by basic general home maintenance. Every wall of every room was painted a different color. In the bathroom, we had mint green, bright pink and lavender on the walls while the bathtub was that old fashioned baby blue enamel. In the living area, we had a mix of dusty pink, bright purple, olive green (all in glossy finish) and suede-textured mauve. The ceiling was painted a faded mustardy yellow. The window sills, door frames, ceiling cornices and skirting were a glossy maroon. And the list goes on.

Being our usual bright, optimistic souls, we decided to focus on the house’s potential: location was a big call, but so were the painted floorboards (a medium grey that has started to flake, which gives more rusticity), the brand new kitchen cabinets, the mismatch of salvaged windows used throughout the house (Art Deco, French, louvres, etc), the fireplace, the high ceilings, the cornices, and the very unusual layout. We had almost no money but I had vision and my boyfriend had building skills (and a good artistic flair too) so how could we go wrong?

A few (many!!!) pots of paint later and lots of elbow grease and the house turned into what we wanted: a relaxing retreat with lots of character and light. The feel is contemporary with a hint of vintage. It is summery and fresh and inviting at the same time. It has a couple of feature items and lots of ‘bits and pieces’ picked up during overseas trips or at the side of the road. It is our sanctuary and it keeps on evolving with us, our moods, our needs. There are still a million things that need to be fixed, changed, replaced, moved, installed. It might be perfect one day but it is more likely that it will never be. And this is most probably the precise reason why we love it. We hope that you will too.




Photos: Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography

Reader Comments (38)

ha ha love the cat - and the stacked suitcases, great idea.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdanish demeanor

There. Are. No. Words. Love the white with yellow and wood accents. Love Australia. Love it all. Ahhhhh. Another great post.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMel

The beach shack of my wildest dreams. I wish there was an outdoors shot... :-)

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRelatable Style

such a fresh and lovely home...after reading the background story...a true labour of love...it has so much personality ...thanks for sharing, Kim...do check out my post based on 'no country for old men'..xx meenal

Wow! They did a fantastic job of bringing that house back to life! Very homey.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Que linda casa, hicieron un lindo trabajo, de buen gusto.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commenteragueda torres

I would be happy in a house like that.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCentral-Portugal

love the whole house, absolutely beautiful - especially the bedroom. but i don't like the dead animal skin on the floor - strange contrast to the lovely cat stretched on the bed. i'll never understand why people want animal skins on the floor...

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjuliet

LOVE the bedding... Where can I find it?

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjdaynor

I cannot tell you how in love I am with this house. Particularly the bedroom, I love the colors and how serene it is. I also love the idea of using vintage suitcases as a bedside table. They did an awesome job on this house!

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

This is a shack? it looks like a house I could live in for the rest of my life. Wonder what a single family house looks like in Perth ;-)

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commenterypille

Thank you very much for your comments. I'm very glad that my humble abode has won so many hearts. It is, indeed, a lovely place to live in... but there is still a lot to do!

To reply to some comments and questions:

1. The bedding was found (believe me or not) at Target and it was on sale for $50 the queen set... Now, this is once again the proof that one can have a stylish home on a budget by not being afraid or ashamed to shop a bit everywhere.

2. The "dead animal" skin... I know, this is THE controversial subject with my bedroom and I completely understand people who don't like it. I found this one in an antique store one day, when looking for something else. I like it because it gives texture and warmth and depth to the room. I wanted something a little bit quirky that would bring a vintage touch, without being colourful or too "beachy". I think it perfect does it. And our cats absolutely love it too!

Thanks again for your comments and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

@Agueda Torres: Muchas gracias por su commentario!

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

Lovely and airy, great job.
But I have to comment on the incongruity of a beloved cat lying on the bed, and a dead animal skin on the floor - what is that? A goat? Yuck! Get rid of it.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Ugh! I've just read the response on the animal skin - after I posted my comment above. I'm sure the skin gave 'texture and depth and warmth" to the animal who used to wear it. As their skin.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

In Nelly's defense (sort of), I have 7 cats and I have 2 cowhide rugs. I figure I eat cow all the time, I might as well appreciate their beauty. To each their own.

22 Mar 2011 | Registered CommenterKiM

Hi Jenny! I completely understand what you mean and I would not kill an animal for the sake of adding texture to my room; I don't promote it either. This is a vintage find and it works for me, but I respect your difference of tastes and opinion. All the best.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

Funny though that my leather couch and armchair (both made of cow skin) and my Moroccan leather slippers (made of goat skin and pictured in photo 3) don't attract that much criticism :-)

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

Stunning, absolutely stunning!! Classy, fresh, simple, clean uncluttered but with warmth - love it ALL!

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

So relaxing just looking at the photos! I'd love to know where the living room light fixture came from as I've been looking for similar pieces and just can't seem to find a decent reasonably priced one. Thanks for sharing!

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZara

Hi Zara! Thanks a lot for your feedback. I'm sorry that I have to disappoint you, but I brought the pendant back with me from a trip to Morocco... I might be able to find a decently priced one for you if you want. Send me an email (nelly@twinkleandwhistle.com) if you are interested.

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

I too live in a beach shack in Freshwater on the Northern Beaches in Sydney. Ours is a little more on the 'shack' side of beach than this one but it has the same character. I seriously have no idea why everyone seems to want to bulldoze these Australian icons and build revolting, huge, ugly McMansions. I think one day this is the type of house everyone will want! To me it's about living the simple life. Thank you for sharing the love of the beach shack. Pruxxx

breathtaking & gorgeous! I totally fell in love with Nelly's place as well, those gray floors are amazing!

22 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaureen

I hate when people complain about using animal hides in decor. Mankind has only been using them in their dwellings for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Get over it, people. We're omnivores!
I love it and I've been looking for one just like it, as it's the perfect throw rug size, but with more character than a sheepskin.

Anyway, I love your place! And I'm dying for that headboard now that we're redecorating our bedroom, but Ikea doesn't sell it anymore!!! I'm totally bummed about it. I hope my bedroom looks as calm and restful as yours when we're done. Thank you for the inspiration!

23 Mar 2011 | Unregistered Commentercassie

Prudence, Maureen and Cassie, thank you very much for your feedback!

Cassie, good luck with your bedroom renos. I am very honoured that my own has inspired you!

23 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

I absolutely love the picture of the three men pulling various silly faces - did you create it yourself or did you find it somewhere? I must have one!!

The house is stunning - I always get Australia envy on this site!

23 Mar 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

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