A smart revamp with a family-first focus has revitalised this Noosa beach house.

CHEAT SHEET 

Who lives here: Catherine and husband Hugh, who run their own business; and two of their daughters, Lilly, 17; and Sophie, 13. Their older daughters, Rebecca, 23, and Maddison, 22, are regular visitors.

Style of home: A modern revamp of a late-’70s triple-level beach house.

Timeline: Architect David Teeland was commissioned in March 2014. The design and documentation took nine months, approval one month and then it was straight into demolition, which took a further month. With all systems go, the revamp and refit took around eight months.

Bunked in together, flopped around a giant sofa or swapping stories at the oversized dining table, summer days in this house are a shared experience. It’s just how former Melbournites Catherine, Hugh and their daughters like it. Their home, tucked up against Noosa’s national park and a short meander to the beach, has been revamped to bring the family together and in closer contact with their enviable surrounds. It’s thanks to local architect David Teeland of Teeland Architects, who further merged the beach house with its natural environment using local timbers in striking ways and kitted it out with furniture made predominantly by local artisans. Bring on the long, balmy days!

David, she’s a beauty now, but earlier? It wasn’t the most beautiful building by any stretch of the imagination – it was dark and dated – but it was a solid brick house. The main challenge however was that it wasn’t taking advantage of this beautiful site backing onto the national park. We carved out some new openings in the rear walls so the bedrooms and bathrooms would look onto serene, subtropical rainforest.

Catherine, what’s it like to bathe in the bush? It’s amazing! Even the children love it. We have a big tree out there that we put lights in and you just sit in the bath and it’s so beautiful and relaxing. We lived in the house unrenovated for a year and it had an outdoor shower and we loved it. That formed part of our brief to David and he did it perfectly.

David, the shower rains down on timber floors – how do they hold up? It’s a local hardwood, spotted gum, so it works really well in a subtropical environment and performs quite well when it gets wet. We have a stainless-steel shower tray beneath the hardwood floor, so all the water runs into it and that goes back into the plumbing system.

How have you designed this home with a ‘holiday house’ feel? This home has a bit of an informal, relaxed and low-maintenance vibe. We used robust materials that don’t need much upkeep. We’ve used bluestone in the bathroom as it has a natural patina to it that almost looks like sand. If you’re coming in from the beach and you have a bit of sand on you still, bluestone tiles are very forgiving.

What’s a beach room? (We want one, regardless!) It’s basically a beach version of a mud room. When you come back from the surf, you go into the beach room, which is a breathable timber box with an outdoor shower, stainless-steel clotheslines, racks for surfboards and storage. You can wash off all the salt and sand before coming in or heading to the pool.

Catherine, you made bunks a must – why? Because it’s nice to be together and not be separated. You know kids today, they all go off to their rooms and play on their electronics. We wanted somewhere where they would spend time together instead of separately.

The sofa is also supersized? Yes, 10 people can sit on that comfortably. It came from our old holiday house in Victoria and David had it re-covered. With the house, it is a focus that we all do things together. The sofa means everyone can be in that living area and chat, have a coffee or watch a movie.

What’s your favourite thing about being surrounded by nature? The whole thing! We have kookaburras that come and sit on the deck area and bush turkeys in the garden. We have our showers outside and we never see anyone. We often leave the doors open when we go to sleep; all you can hear is the ocean.

timber tell-all

It’s the touches of timber that give this home both its designer edge and chilled-out vibe. “We wanted to utilise timber we had and timber that was local to the area. We didn’t want a concrete box,” says owner Catherine. To this end, the lino and carpet were ripped up and the original hardwood floorboards matched with bespoke American oak cabinetry and built-in furniture throughout, designed by David. “We were really keen to complement the floors and bring a feeling of warmth to contrast the heavy masonry shell of the house,” says architect David Teeland. The exterior spotted-gum cladding makes an immediate impact – for similar hardwood screening, check out the range at Porta; visit porta.com.au for information.

a lesson in…blending in

Brown, brick and brutal, there was little going for the original home from the kerb. Facing east, the facade was also blasted by the morning summer sun, making sunglasses mandatory for the family come breakfast time in the kitchen and dining areas. How to blend in and beat the rays? “Our approach was to render the brown brick in a cement finish and then we designed a timber screen that actually sat out from the building to screen the original facade,” says architect David Teeland. “It worked on two levels: on a poetic level and on a practical level, it provided privacy and sun protection.”

Like the facade, the garage doors have been given the timber treatment to camouflage into the rainforest setting. The timber batons sit above an opaque acrylic panel that allows natural light into the garages.

Visit teeland.com.au for more of David’s work.