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A 1920s Californian bungalow revived in classic Hamptons style

Adding a lower level gave this charming home a new lease on life.
A white and black Hamptons style kitchen with raised ceilings.Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves

When Catherine and Simon were looking for a home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, they almost didn’t look at what was, at the time, a “very plain, 1920s Californian bungalow”. But as soon as they set foot inside, they saw the home’s potential.

A two-storey Hamptons meets California bungalow style home.
While homeowners Catherine and Simon didn’t immediately take to this Sydney property, a renovation transformed it into their forever home. “The architecture of the home is very much in line with an Australian take on Hamptons style, removing some of the fussiness and keeping to a really simple palette,” says designer Amy Thackeray. James Hardie Scyon ‘Linea’ cladding boards painted in Dulux Casper White Quarter underpin the look of the exterior. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The pair started making cosmetic updates to the modest two-bedroom house almost immediately after purchasing the property. “First, we restored and painted all the dark wooden trims white to lighten the whole place up,” says Catherine, mum to three grown-up sons. “We also replaced the horrid aluminium windows with timber and stained glass windows to replicate the rest of the house.”

A hallway leading into the living and dining areas.
A hallway opens up to the new living, dining and kitchen zone in the home. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Who lives here?

Catherine, an operations coordinator, her husband Simon, who runs a marketing consultancy, and Elsa the Groodle.
Secret to renovation success? Catherine: “Communication is key. We were grateful for regular updates and meetings [with Sunday Homes] to make decisions and changes.”
What’s your favourite space? “Simon loves the balcony because it’s like another room, and the district view gives a real sense of space. I love the open-plan living/kitchen/dining area for its beautiful style.”
Your biggest splurge? “The chandelier over the kitchen island. I saw it on an Instagram account I follow and tracked it down. It’s so glamorous and a little bit unexpected.”

Meanwhile, designer Amy Thackeray and her builder husband Paul, both of Sunday Homes, replaced the kitchen and dining room at the rear with a double-storey extension. “We knew we didn’t want a modern box on the back but something that would stand the test of time,” says Catherine.

A beige sofa with brown and striped cushions.
Cushions from L&M Home add layers of warmth and interest in the living area. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The renovated section now has an open-plan zone housing the living area, dining space and kitchen, with a butler’s pantry and powder room upstairs, and a new main bedroom and ensuite downstairs. A standout feature in the open-plan area is the soaring raked ceiling. “We had envisaged having that ‘wow’ factor for the living area, which the vaulted ceiling delivers,” explains Catherine.

Living area

“We made a conscious decision early on not to have a TV in this room,” explains Catherine. “It’s great for conversation to have the sofas facing each other, and when the kids come over we play board games.” A pair of Freedom ‘Addison’ sofas with custom slipcovers and a ‘Stradbroke Bobbin’ coffee table from Abide Interiors sit atop a sisal rug in Oyster from Natural Floorcovering Centres, which helps to anchor the space.

A white Hamptons style living area with linen sofas and raised ceilings.
An antique mirror, a gift from Catherine’s parents, hangs above the streamlined Escea fireplace. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“The raked ceilings create a sense of grandeur,” says Amy. “When you enter the new extension from the bungalow at the front, you really experience the ‘wow’ factor.” V-groove panelling lining the ceiling creates a traditional look and feel, while also helping to connect the new extension with the original part of the home.

We love… high ceilings
A Hamptons style living area with a timber coffee table and inset fireplace.
The bold vessels on the coffee table in the living area are from McMullin & Co. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Also included in the extension was a large balcony, which connects to the open-plan area through bi-fold doors. “Friends and family gravitate towards the balcony when they come to the house; it’s a very sociable space,” says Catherine. “It’s west-facing, so it gets a lot of sun in the afternoon and we have the most spectacular sunsets in the evening – something we weren’t able to appreciate until the extension was finished.”

Kitchen and dining

Amy followed Catherine’s brief to deliver a timeless look by combining light walls with warm timber pieces and rustic textures. Subtle hints of old-world glamour add personality. The result is a relaxed style that is ambient and welcoming. “It makes us smile and feel calm,” says Catherine. “We love everything.”

A white and black Hamptons style kitchen with raised ceilings.
The two-tone kitchen cabinetry by Luxe Joinery beautifully complements the oak engineered floorboards that feature throughout the home. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The kitchen, with its impressive Falcon ‘Professional+ FXP’ cooker and deep island bench, is an entertainer’s dream. The spectacular light fitting above the island is the ‘Montreal’ long chandelier from Emac & Lawton, while a pair of stools from Modanest sit below. Brick-laid subway tiles from Ammonite Living and a Perrin & Rowe ‘Ionian’ mixer from The English Tapware Company add traditional touches.

A white and black Hamptons style kitchen with a chandelier over an island.
Above the Talostone Calacatta Luxe benchtops is a ‘Montreal’ long chandelier from Emac & Lawton – a true hero piece. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“The sense of space is spectacular. It is a bit of a luxury to have such high ceilings, which you can only have if you are not building above.”

An all-white butler's pantry with shaker style cabinets.
The butler’s pantry has maximised the storage space in the kitchen area. “It was a big decision, as we had to cut a bedroom in half to accommodate it and a powder room,” explains Catherine. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

A monochrome ‘Black Cockatoo’ canvas print by Paul Looyen, from Life Interiors, draws the eye to the dining zone, with its Camargue custom French oak table and Provincial Home Living dining chairs.

A Hamptons style kitchen with a black and white island and cockatoo artwork.
Vase from McMullin & Co. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Powder room

A quiet moment can be taken to freshen up in the powder room, which features an Astra Walker ‘Rona’ pedestal sink and Brodware ‘Neu England’ tapware.

A Hamptons style powder room with VJ panels and pedestal basin.
A pair of ‘East Borne’ sconces from Emac & Lawton tie in with a decorative mirror found at Marks & Spencer. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Main bedroom

The new extension includes an ensuite and main bedroom, both located downstairs at the back of the house. “I love the fact that the bedroom is quiet. It also opens onto the garden via French doors, which is lovely,” says Catherine. Dulux Casper White Quarter adds a warm note to the walls. The ‘Robe’ bedhead in Natural and ‘Montrose’ bedside table are both from Provincial Home Living.

A white bedroom with a beige bedhead and white side table.
The lamp is a Laura Ashley find. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)


A calming symmetry is achieved in the ensuite with side-by-side ‘Rotterdam’ metal mirrors from The Framing Project.

An ensuite with a double basin black and white vanity.
The ‘Rotterdam’ mirrors from The Framing Project. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“I think the calm colour palette is timeless – I am not really into what is ‘fashionable’.”

An all-white ensuite with a clawfoot bath and towel rail.
Teamed with Saardé towels, the ensuite has a clawfoot bath from Elia Bathrooms. “It’s a great way to relax,” says Catherine. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)


Drawing on the homeowners’ heritage, Amy chose hexagonal mosaics from Ammonite Living for this charming black and white bathroom.

A bright white bathroom with black and white mosaic tiles and vanity.
The graphic floral pattern creates an element of drama. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“Catherine and Simon are English, and the tiles in this bathroom are a nod to the traditional English-style homes they grew up with,” she says.

A black and white vanity with a circle mirror above.
All the bathroom vanities have been painted in the luxurious Dulux Black. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)


Storage abounds in this hardworking laundry, where cabinetry by Luxe Joinery painted in Dulux Lexicon Quarter conceals a built-in hamper and pull-out ironing board. “I also think a hanging rail is a laundry essential,” says Catherine.

A white Hamptons style laundry with a farmhouse sink.
Perrin & Rowe ‘Mayan’ bibcock taps from The English Tapware Company work in harmony with the fine fireclay butler’s sink from Turner Hastings. (Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Interior Design/build: Sunday Homes, sundayhomes.com.au.
Joinery: Luxe Joinery, @luxejoinery.
Bi-fold doors: Shamrock Joinery, (02) 7251 9079, shamrockjoinery.com.au.


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