Featuring the best of both design and location, this modernist home is a luxe haven for a Noosa family.
Who lives here: Sarah Waller, builder and architectural designer, and owner of homewares store Coco + Bliss; her husband Paul Blatchford, owner of Bluecoast Electrical; and their daughters, Tasmin, 17; and Tiggy, 13.
Style of home: A modern 700sqm house featuring oversized glass doors and windows, as well as a pool, set over 1.5 acres of rolling hills and gardens.
Timeline: After a design process of more than two years, the build took just seven months.
Many dreams suffer a little setback from time to time, and for Sarah Waller, it was discovering that her qualification as an architect wasn’t recognised in Australia after moving here from the UK. “I was dreaming about designing my ideal home and I was quite despondent to find out that my qualifications from the Royal College of Art weren’t applicable here,” she says. After putting her research skills to the test, Sarah discovered she could continue with her career and her wish of building her own modernist-inspired home as a building designer, and so Sarah Waller Design was born, and her dream home soon afterwards.
Sarah & Paul’s wishlist
+ “It had to be modern and I wanted a minimal palette, preferably monochrome.”
+ “I wanted a home that would showcase my talents as a building and interior designer.”
+ “We wanted true open-plan living, where we could open lots of doors and windows to enjoy the fresh breezes and connect with nature.”
As an architecture student, Sarah fell in love with the idea of living in a glass home inspired by the clean lines of modernism. In the UK, strict planning regulations all but ruled it out, plus there wasn’t the right kind of year-round sunlight to make it worth it. But then life brought Sarah, her husband Paul, and their two girls to Australia.
The couple built and sold two homes, but after discovering the perfect acreage in Noosa Waters, Queensland, just 10 minutes from the main strip, Sarah knew the time was right to realise the glass-box home she had wished for.
“I didn’t rush the design,” says Sarah. “I had been thinking about this home for such a long time, so the process was about refining all those thoughts.” Sarah also wanted to get to know the landscape they were now living in and work out how to harness the light, which would be integral to her home’s design.
“It took about two years to really pin down what I wanted,” she says. “And I’m glad I took my time because I think if I had built the house two years earlier, I wouldn’t have been as happy with it as I am today.”
Using CAD renders, Sarah broke down the home into different areas, but made sure the overall plan was open and connected. The house was always going to be big, spanning 700 square metres, but she was aware of making it feel cosy, too, so she used joinery and cabinetry to create little nooks and spaces.
The interiors had to be faultless. Sarah’s number one palette has always been monochrome. “It’s just timeless, and so minimal, so it’s really about allowing textures to add warmth,” she says.
Sarah’s trick to black-and-white success is in the tones she starts off with. “Dulux Lexicon Half has the tiniest hint of black. I like to combine this with Dulux Black because then there’s no conflict of colours and it looks clean,” she says.
Sarah was determined to be across every detail of the build to ensure she had complete control over the decisions. She decided the best way to remain informed was to obtain her own builder’s licence.
“My father’s a builder, and I just think it’s the best way to be the perfect project manager,” she says. “Now I’m one of only a handful of women in the area who can build!” The licence also complemented her skill set, enabling Sarah to offer a one-stop shop for clients looking for help with designing, planning and building new homes.
Sarah’s biggest hurdle was finding the right flooring. “I wanted a perfect white polished slab,” she says. After researching for six months and obsessing over how to guarantee there would be no cracks in the finish, no supplier could do it in the end. “I had to find an alternative,” she says. “I needed the look to be exact.” The solution Terrazzo tiles from Fibonacci Stone that offer the crisp whiteness she needed for the foundation to her monochromatic home.
During the build, the family lived on the site in the original home on the property. “I could lean out the window and touch my new house as it came together over seven months.” Now, Sarah’s dream home is a reality: the warm, monochromatic space she always envisioned.
the best bits
+ “The landscaping is just so tropical and it feels like a true resort-style lifestyle with the pool and the way we’ve planted,” says Sarah. “The garden has taken a lot longer than the house to create but it’s just so relaxing living here now.”
+ “I love that we have little spaces within the open-plan. Small touches, such as lowering the ceiling, allow the spaces to feel cosy and intimate.”
+ “The house is a great way for my clients to see my work. I love showing people through so that they can see first-hand what’s possible from good design.”
“Your build is only as good as your subcontractors. Get to know who you’re working with and where their skills lie,” says Sarah.
Take a look at more of Sarah’s work at sarahwallerdesign.com.au.