The Coastal Chic Australian Home a Couple Built Together (from the Ground Up)

The Coastal Chic Australian Home a Couple Built Together (from the Ground Up)

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Hayley Kessner
Nov 14, 2017
Franz, a stonemason, and Patsy (along with their two children Felix and Betty, and dog Ludo) live in a home they built together from the ground up. One entire side of the house — lined with huge windows and sliding glass doors — has been designed to take advantage of the spectacular north-facing sun. The home gives you a sense of being a part of the bushland beyond, rather than feeling closed in by four walls and a roof.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Their beautiful home is located in the coastal town of Dunsborough, well-known for its white sandy beaches and its holiday atmosphere. Not only is the beach a stone's throw away, the house is also surrounded by natural bushland — big shady trees, lots of native flora and fauna — making it an ideal place to bring up two happy and energetic children.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Our Style: We don't really have one particular style. It's more a "find it, fall in love and make it fit" kind of style we have. Perhaps a touch of rubbish dump finds meets '70s style? We love things that are old, well made and with a little bit of soul.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The concrete floors that run throughout the house are both a pleasing design choice and also a practical one. The concrete absorbs the warmth of the winter sun, and in turn keeps the house cool when needed in the summer time. The ceilings are kept high to allow for substantial air flow and the color scheme on the walls bring a sense of cohesion throughout the entire home.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Franz and Patsy's home is filled with a collection of assorted thrifted, gifted and repurposed finds — from the absolutely luscious green velvet chairs that Patsy found at the local thrift shop for $5 to the copper pendant lights that hang on either side of the soft leather sofa in the living room. Almost nothing is store bought, as the couple love the thrill of the hunt, chasing down treasures from local garage sales, and combing through dusty old thrift stores in neighboring towns. They then love to work together to bring those pieces to life, be that repainting or reupholstering — whatever the job requires, these two love to put their stamp on it.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Ludo, their much-loved pup, loves soaking up the rays on his favorite chair.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Inspiration: Finding new treasures and working out how we can fit them into our house. Our son was an early riser from birth so we were always the first ones at garage sales and charity shops. We got to be on a first-name basis. They then watched our pregnancy with our daughter grow. Now when we go they laugh as she is nearly five years old and they kind of feel they knew her before she was even born.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Mr Fiddle gets the perfect amount of sunshine on top of these vintage speakers.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
An old beaten up sign, found for just a few dollars, hangs proudly in the living room. The leather sofa is from Freedom. Franz handmade the coffee table.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Biggest Challenge: Pouring the house's slab in 40°C heat. We also lived in our caravan and shed with a new born when building in the hottest summer in 50 years. It was a bit sweaty at times.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Biggest Indulgence: Solar panels on our roof. It was a stretch of the budget right at the end of our build but has been totally worth it; we pretty much never have an electricity bill. Also, our leather couch. Once you have kids you realise it needs to be hard wearing and washable.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The TV is cleverly hidden away in this brick support structure, situated in the middle of the house.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Best Advice: Fill your home full of things you love. You never know when you might find a treasure. Some of our recycled bricks came from beside a river when we went on a weekend getaway. Patsy was very pregnant and we stumbled upon a pile of rubbish that was full of beautiful bricks so we loaded them up and got out of there.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Daughter Betty basking in the glorious sunshine.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
What Friends Say: We normally get a "wow." People say it feels homey. They also ask us where we get our stuff from.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The view from the kitchen. Franz made the banquette seating here in the dining room, and it's now become the perfect place for the kids to sit and draw.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Proudest DIY: So much in our home is handmade. The problem is we get an idea and then can't find the product so Franz ends up making it himself. He came home from work one day and said "I'm going to build a pool" and he did. He is very creative and handy at the same time – I love it! My proudest moment would be when I discovered I could lay carpet by myself including moving all the furniture in and out on a skateboard.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The kitchen fits the rest of the house perfectly, with exposed brickwork, vintage decorations, and simple practical work surfaces. Patsy thrifted the barstools and recovered them herself.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Patsy can never pass up a vintage thermos when on a thrift-shopping trip.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Striking artwork at the end of the hall is made entirely from painted bits of old tin.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
A collection of Franz's old racquets line the timber wall in the bathroom.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The main bathroom, featuring a vanity made by Franz. The mirror, stepping stool and art are all secondhand. The rug is from Freedom.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The couple brought a sense of unity to the home, repeating textures (like this exposed brick) wherever they could.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
A flow between inside and out is no clearer than in the main bathroom they designed. There is a blurring of the boundaries here, as they decided to take both the bath and the shower outside, building a little brick cove covered in ivy with no roof other than the sky above. They use this bathroom every single day and love that they are in direct connection with nature.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Quick growing ivy has almost entirely covered the brick walls in a really short amount of time. The claw foot bath was salvaged and painted a deep green to blend in with the other greenery surrounding it.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Favorite Element: Patsy: My outdoor bath – it's my little sanctuary. Franz: the lounge room. We also both love that you can stand inside but still feel connected to the outside.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
A spare bedroom is waiting for when guests come to visit.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The two children share a bedroom. Franz is also a talented artist; he freehand painted this fish directly onto the kids' bedroom wall.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Franz is a talented artist as well, he freehand painted this fish directly onto the kids' bedroom wall.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Betty's side of the bedroom. The yellow bed pops beautifully against the dark green wall behind it.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
These three houses were all handmade by one of Patsy's friends.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Another one of Franz's freehand drawings on the wall beside Felix's bunk bed (that Franz also built!).
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The master bedroom is painted in Dulux "Integrity."
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
The room is a perfect mix of vintage, coastal and chic.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Franz made both the bed and the bedside tables out of found timber off the side of the road.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Seagrass matting (they got theirs from Freedom) is a really cheap and easy floor covering when one needs to bring more warmth into a space.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
A funky little hangout area outdoors.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Franz built this cubby house that you can see from the kitchen window; it's perfect for keeping an eye out on the kids.
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Thank you for showing us your beautiful home, Franz and Patsy!
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
Loading House Tour...

Name: Franz and Patsy Knapp with kids Felix (6) and Betty (4) and dog Ludo
Location: Dunsborough, Western Australia
Size: 1,615 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, owned

Franz, a stonemason, and Patsy live in a home they built together from the ground up. Their beautiful home is located on seven and a half acres in the coastal town of Dunsborough, well-known for its white sandy beaches and holiday atmosphere. Not only is the beach a stone's throw away, the house is also surrounded by natural bushland — big shady trees, lots of native flora and fauna — making it an ideal place to bring up two happy and energetic children.

One entire side of the house — lined with huge windows and sliding glass doors — has been designed to take advantage of the spectacular north-facing sun. It gives you a sense of being a part of the bushland beyond, rather than feeling closed in by four walls and a roof.

Franz and Patsy's home is filled with a collection of assorted thrifted, gifted and repurposed finds — from the absolutely luscious green velvet chairs that Patsy found at the local thrift shop for $5 to the copper pendant lights that hang on either side of the soft leather sofa in the living room. Almost nothing is store bought, as the couple love the thrill of the hunt, chasing down treasures from local garage sales, and combing through dusty old thrift stores in neighboring towns. They then love to work together to bring those pieces to life, be that repainting or reupholstering — whatever the job requires, these two love to put their stamp on it.

The concrete floors that run throughout the house are both a pleasing design choice and also a practical one. The concrete absorbs the warmth of the winter sun, and in turn keeps the house cool when needed in the summer time. The ceilings are kept high to allow for substantial air flow and the color scheme on the walls brings a sense of cohesion throughout the entire home.

There is a definite blurring of the boundary between indoors and out in the main bathroom the couple designed. Here, they took both the bath and the shower outside, building a little brick cove covered in ivy with no roof other than the sky above. They use this bathroom every single day and love that they are in direct connection with nature. It truly is a special little place. Actually...the entire home is.

Resources:

PAINT COLOURS
Dulux Natural White — Entire home
Dulux Integrity — Master Bedroom
Dulux Seadrifter — Living room
Dulux Mountain Fern — Kids bedroom

LIVING ROOM
Leather lounge — Freedom
Green Velvet Lounge — Buy and Sell Facebook
Blue velvet swivel chairs — thrifted
Coffee table — handmade by Franz
Pendant Light — Beacon
Copper lights — thrifted
Speakers — thrifted
Nest of tables — inherited from grandparents

DINING ROOM
Banquette — handmade by Franz
Dining chairs — local Antique store
Pottery — thrifted
Suitcases — gifted

KITCHEN
Bar stools — thrifted and recovered by Patsy
Pendant lights — gift from friends
Canisters — all vintage secondhand finds
Sunburst clock — thrifted
Green dresser — repurposed by Patsy

KIDS' BEDROOM
Yellow iron bed — Flying Wardrobe, Witchcliffe
Bunk bed — made by Franz
Writing desk — vintage
Artwork on wall — all hand drawn by Franz
Chest of drawers — secondhand
Rug — Freedom

MASTER BEDROOM
Bed — made by Franz
Linen — thrifted
Seagrass matting— Freedom
Trunk bedside table — made by Franz
Large lamp — thrifted
Artwork — thrifted

BATHROOM
Vanity — handmade by Franz
Mirror — second hand
Stepping stool — vintage
Artwork — thrifted
Rug — Freedom
Outdoor clawfoot bath — local antique store

Thanks, Franz and Patsy!


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