Nelly Reffet & Samuel Desmaris
Watermans Bay, Western Australia (a mere hundred metres from Indian Ocean beaches)
We were desperately looking for a cute beach house to rent at an affordable price. So when we stumble 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, louvre, 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.
Thanks Nelly & Samuel!
Images: Heather Robbins of Red Images
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