Home Tours

Saul Myers creates the ultimate guest house on the Central Coast

A year after his beach house renovation, owner-builder Saul Myers picked up the tools and teamed up with Home Beautiful joinery, creating a striking self-contained studio.
Loading the player...

With more time spent at home last year, Saul Myers found staying put was the perfect opportunity to make the most of his sprawling block on the NSW Central Coast. Having previously teamed up with HB to renovate a beach house, which he shares with his son Brooklyn, 7, on the leafy property, it was time to realise his long- held plan – to design and build a stylish self-contained studio to sit at the front of the site.

The bold entrance to owner-builder Saul’s new studio blends modern design with rustic materials, setting the tone for what lies beyond. An architectural butterfly shaped roofline crowns the exterior enveloped in James Hardie Linea Weatherboard, painted in Dulux Monument. A decked walkway, framed in patterned tiles from My Tile Co, leads to the bespoke front door Saul crafted from timber flooring and a driftwood handle. “I wanted to meld contemporary aesthetics with tactile elements, so you couldn’t put a time stamp on the build,” he explains of the palette. An arbour, made with timber felled from the property, greets guests with cascading Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’.

“I saw it as a great way to create a little earner I could rent out, which offered guests a unique escape from the everyday,” says the one-time House Rules judge. “Often granny flats are built as a little square box on a super-tight budget, with little thought put into the space; my aim was to create a small architectural-style home that was sexy, smart and felt great to be in.”

Saul has turned to the dark side to create a dramatic effect. “The dark backdrop makes corners disappear, creating the illusion of more space; windows become picture frames for outside greenery to pop,” he says. A rug inherited from his grandmother defines the living zone and grounds a Lounge Lovers sofa and Life Interiors ‘Memphis’ boucle ottoman. A custom hinged bench seat that continues into the dining area, provides extra seating and storage. Warm timber elements feature throughout from the ‘Hickory Oak’ flooring from Carpet Court, to Early Settler ‘Java’ fans and recycled timber beams. A throw from Papaya and assorted cushions from Life Interiors and Provincial Home Living add layers of comfort.

With a compact 50sqm floor area, the design was kept entirely open plan, with just a single internal wall and a barn door screening the bathroom. In lieu of walls, carefully chosen furniture, fixtures and fittings cleverly define the kitchen (fitted out with sleek Bosch appliances), bedroom, living and dining zones, all thoughtfully layered with eclectic pieces and stylish accessories.

Saul Myers in his compact and stylish open plan studio.

Keen to differentiate the studio from his classic white coastal home nestled at the back of the block, colour also played a key role. “It was a big gamble particularly in a small space to paint everything inside and out in Dulux Monument,” he says. “At the time, people questioned the choice, but I feel it’s really paid off. I love the moody, broody feel.”

To balance the dark palette, the windows were carefully considered. “An advantage of building myself was being able to track how the sun moved, so I could refine window locations to capture the desired light,” says Saul. Luxaflex ‘Duette’ Top Down Bottom Up cellular shades on the sliding doors provide shade in summer and warmth in winter, and the Birch Bark Elan Translucent fabric is soft and subtle.

While the four-month build had its setbacks, including rain delays as well as prolonged council approvals, for Saul it was a dream to walk to site, a stone’s throw from his house, and project manage the build, all while home schooling Brooklyn.

A galley layout is ideal in the compact kitchen zone, with Ikea cabinetry hugging a wall defined with striking Tropical Bird tiles from Tiles by Kate. A Bosch ‘Serie 6’ built-in oven, semi-integrated ‘Serie 8’ dishwasher and a ‘Serie 6’ gas cooktop (all available at Winning Appliances), are the perfect fit and are generously spaced along the work surface topped in blackbutt timber. Within the open-plan space, pendant lights from Beacon Lighting add another textural element.

The workload was also shared with his best mate Troy, whose company, Hudson Lane Projects, provided extra labour. Since he’s downed tools, Saul’s enjoyed a staycation in the studio, which has given him the chance to appreciate all the hard work.

The soft yet textural Luxaflex curtains (in Stone ‘Chloe’ fabric) hanging in the dining area add a level of comfort. “They’re a beautiful way to add sophistication to the setting and diffuse sunlight to create a gentle glow and retain some daytime privacy,” says marketing communications manager Vera Meharg

of Luxaflex. Immersed among the curated furnishings are sculptural pieces, including a Serax ‘Earth’ papier-mâché plate by Marie Michielssen from Becker Minty, which sits on top of the impressive dining table made by Saul, which is paired with dining chairs from Early Settler.

The only thing left to do is name the boutique accommodation. “Brooklyn calls it ‘The Black House’, but it’s something we’re workshopping,” he says with a laugh.

A cosy soul sanctuary, the bed, framed by a natural weave Early Settler bedhead, is dressed with linen from In Bed and In The Sac, a Provincial Home Living throw and cushions from Papaya. A bedside lamp, also from Provincial Home Living is perfect for night-time reading. For the window treatments, rather than standard roller blinds, Saul opted for luxe remote controlled Luxaflex Silhouette Shadings in White Sand. “The shadings have countless benefits: they’re durable, dust-resistant, easy to clean and incredibly versatile,” says Vera of Luxaflex, adding: “Investing in the quality window treatments is key in creating a wonderfully private guest retreat where people can enjoy a sleep in.”

“As high-end, boutique accommodation, it needed to be special and I think the moody palette really creates a unique experience.” ~ Saul

For added functionality, a corner of the main bedroom is a devoted study nook, elegantly furnished with a desk and a Midnight Velvet ‘Sofie’ chair from Early Settler. An added benefit of dark walls, particularly in a rental property, is it doesn’t readily show small marks and dings yet allows artwork such as this Monique Lovering piece, The Nude and The Quite from Curatorial + Co and a Life Interiors sculpture to pop.

“I like eclectic styling with a mix of Hamptons rustic elements and art which meld together to create a look that doesn’t date.” ~ Saul

With a beautiful bathroom integral to luxe holiday getaways, Saul splurged on stunning green terrazzo floor tiles from Tiles by Kate, which lay the foundation for the memorable space. White subway wall tiles are juxtaposed with an earthy pink Venetian render, and organic curves evoke a feminine feel, as do clay coloured Saardé towels and a pretty Life Interiors vessel displayed on a timber shelf. To complement the petite space, Saul designed and made the simple timber vanity, offset with a sleek matt black ‘Contura’ mixer tap and ‘Contura 530’ solid surface inset basin, both from Caroma.

Watch more with Saul Myers:

Related stories