This Beachy Aussie Home Makes Us Want to Move Down Under
With a growing family of five, Hayley Pannekoecke and her husband, James, knew they were rapidly running out of space in their 1973 brick house on Australia's Victorian coast. With three children—Chloe, 10; Baye, 7; and Floyd, 6—and a dog, the home the family shared was no longer cutting it. But instead of packing up and moving, the creative couple went another route—a complete gut renovation and an addition to transform the original space into a four-bedroom, three-bathroom family home with three separate lounge areas and a huge loft space to accommodate visiting guests.
No detail was spared in the remodel of this breezy beach house. Each design decision was built around creating the ideal lifestyle that the couple envisioned for their family. Together, the pair had just the right skills to undertake this project: He was a builder by trade (now a firefighter), while she co-founded the décor shop Kip & Co, one of Australia's best resources for unique soft furnishings—from tasseled throws to velvet pillows and quilts in unique colors and patterns. While James was busy building the bathrooms' concrete vanities from scratch, she was able to create a colorful bohemian environment perfect for their coastal lifestyle in their town of Barwon Heads. The result: a crazy-cool family home that's perfect for entertaining and bringing everyone together.
Want to decorate like an Aussie cool girl? Look no further than this beautiful beach house.
"With three children, we wanted to create spaces that could grow with our changing needs as a family," says Pannekoecke. "We left a lot of spaces open for the kids to be able to work in different ways for play, study, and socializing as they grow. We have open spaces but also more intimate spaces for quiet time and time as a family."
One of the spaces where the family congregates is the large living room. "With the large double-sided open fireplace, this is a great place to congregate at night, watch some television together, and just hang out. We wanted this space to be big and have enough seating and beanbags to fit a couple of families. We have a large, super-close family that we love having over, and we spend lots of time together."
"We basically rebuilt the entire home," says Pannekoecke of the 1970s brick home that originally stood on the property. "We pulled down 80% of the existing home and added on another entire side to the home, with new kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, a play room, three lounge rooms, a pool, and an outdoor entertaining area." Her favorite space is the kitchen. "This space is really large, and it's the heartbeat of our home. We spend a lot of time here. It is filled with natural light with a giant skylight that runs the length of the kitchen."
At the other end of the kitchen is a butler's pantry, which also doubles as the laundry room. "I call this the engine room of the house. It's where I get shit done. Excuse the French. I designed it this way to be able to cook dinner while throwing on a load of washing, and helping the kids with their homework at the kitchen bench, while also folding washing and unpacking the dishwasher."
"We wanted a space with multiple dining options for our family and friends to dine with us," adds Pannekoecke. "We have a long timber bench that could seat up to 12 or 15 people and another more intimate booth-style eating area at the end of the kitchen. One of her favorite finds in the entire home: the two vintage pink velvet and gold arm chairs at the breakfast banquette. "They work beautifully at our kitchen breakfast booth."
There isn't much remaining from the original house. The new house is clad in Silvertop ash timber, and the old brick work is rendered in concrete stucco. The house is designed to embrace the indoor-outdoor living that Aussies know so well. In the backyard, strings of white flags handmade by a friend billow in the wind.
The attic is a departure from the colorful house: "Unlike the rest of the home, this space is entirely white and a blank canvas," says Pannekoecke. "We have a lot of family and friends in Melbourne—a 1.5-hour drive—and we wanted to have a space where they could stay when they visit. It's too far to drive home after a long lunch and a few bottles of red wine."
Pannekoecke has a bold and colorful style, but she also embraces simplicity. "I have an eclectic uncomplicated style and enjoy mixing materials, color, and texture to create an interesting and homely feel. I love Moroccan and European design, including Scandinavian. We don't like to follow trends. We choose things we really love and then mix them together." The Moroccan influences are sprinkled throughout the house, from the bathroom tiles to the bedroom blankets—but the clean and crisp nature of Scandinavian design is also found throughout.
In the master bedroom, the textures and colors come together to create ultimate comfort. "In this room, I wanted to have a feminine feel to it with draping pink linen curtains, French gold tapware in our adjoining open-plan bathroom, pastel pink floor tiles, and honey-colored timber joinery."
"I wanted a good splash of pink through the house mixed with honey-colored American oak timber joinery and French oak floors," says Pannekoecke. "We chose some big statement floors, colored walls, concrete walls and surfaces, and big glass windows, and we threw it all in together. The rest fell into place."
For the growing family of five, the co-founder of Kip & Co wanted to create kid-friendly spaces that encouraged playtime and togetherness. "We designed this space for two growing boys," she says of the navy bunk bed room her two youngest share. "It's super spacious for play, wrestling, and quiet time. James designed and made the timber bunks so there is plenty of room for friends and family to stay with us. The boys love sleepovers. I chose dark navy walls and carpet made in the UK that's traditionally used in pubs and high-traffic zones. The boys love it."
Each of the bathrooms in the house has its own unique style, with the exception of one common thread: concrete vanity bench tops handmade by James. Each of the bathrooms features unique tiles, from hexagonal to geometric to smaller mosaic tiles like in this navy blue bathroom.
With a strong creative vision and a lot of handiwork, the creative couple was able to turn an average house into a beautiful statement home built around the idea of family and togetherness. Every design decision was made not only based on aesthetics, but it was also based on a specific vision and lifestyle. The result: a unique, free-flowing space we'd all want to move into.
And now, how to live that coastal life when you're in the city.