Home Tours

A growing family renew and expands their beloved beach house

Rather than relocating, an ambitious plan expanded both their home and horizons.
Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves

When couple Rea and Chris bought their Newport Beach home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it suited the pair and their newborn daughter Mila perfectly. Yet after almost 10 years in the house and the arrival of second daughter Chloe, the family found they were outgrowing the place. “We contemplated selling and buying a bigger house elsewhere, but we’re a family of surfers and loved our location close to the beach, so the better option was to stay and extend,” says Rea.

contemporary coast white kitchen island
“The new butler’s pantry is so handy as a prep area and gives us so much more storage,” says Rea. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Who lives here? Rea, a producer/stunt artist; Chris, a director; their young daughters Mila and Chloe; and Cavalier Maltese Cross, Sammy.

What do you love about your home? Rea: “We’ve now got great entertaining spaces, which just flow so well, it’s a really nice social house.”

What’s your best reno tip? “Previously, I choose a shade of white for the house, which threw yellow, so this time around I used a professional colourist who was excellent and advised us on the perfect colour for the walls.”

Anything left on the wish list? “We’re toying with the idea of a pool, but for now we’re really happy the house and yard isn’t a construction site and we can just enjoy it.”

contemporary beach house blck front door
The front door is painted in Porter’s Paints Black Cockatoo and has a solid custom American Oak door handle. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

The couple spent a year drafting the ambitious plan, which involved adding a storey to create a parents’ retreat and excavating to carve out space for a lower rumpus level complete with guest bedroom, bathroom and laundry. The home’s existing floor area also expanded, to allow for a flowing layout and spacious bedrooms for the girls. Once the initial plans were approved a dream team was assembled, led by Amy Thackeray of Sunday Homes, who was engaged to design the interior and, with husband Paul, project manage and build essentially a new home. “I think we ended up keeping about one original wall,” jokes Rea. “We were planning to keep more, but window sizes grew and when Amy came on board and presented the idea of lifting the roof in the living area, it was an absolute game changer – the cathedral ceiling with the exposed rafters set the tone for everything else,” she adds.

coastal style living room with floor to ceiling stone fireplace
The reclaimed Oregon timber mantle was custom made by Sunday Homes. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Tasked to create a modern coastal home that was functional and beautiful, Amy devised a palette that incorporated engineered timber floors, stone features and quality fixtures. Every space was gutted, with the enlarged kitchen swallowing a bedroom, which was converted into a butler’s pantry, while the dark bathroom received light relief with the addition of a skylight and floor-to-ceiling tiles. Even the existing fireplace was replaced and transformed into an incredible focal point surrounded by French cobblestones extending to the ceiling. “I’m originally English, so I love having tactile stone incorporated in the house, it adds a real visual warmth and touch point,” says Rea.

coastal style white dining room wicker chairs
Vessels from McMullin & Co and a Papaya tray add an organic feel, while a photographic print by Kara Rosenlund titled Byron Bay Salt Haze is a subtle nod to the home’s coastal location. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“Adding a beautiful cathedral-style ceiling, has turned the home into a place that’s truly breathtaking”

coastaly style white dining room wicker chairs staircase
A timber dining table from MCM House is a timeless piece, complemented by Malawi chairs. For similar chairs, try Malawi Cane. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

With the 11-month project wrapped up just before Christmas 2021, the family were thrilled to move back in and luxuriate in the newfound space they created by extending the home up, out and below. “The whole place just flows so much better now and there’s so many breakout areas we can enjoy,” reflects Rea. “We definitely see ourselves living here a lot longer and continuing to enjoy the area we love so much.”

In the kitchen, selections include a Talostone Calacatta Luxe benchtop and splashback complemented with cabinetry in half-strength Dulux Snowy Mountains and custom oak handles by Sunday Homes. “The new breakfast bar is actually really big and
incredibly well used,” says Rea.

white kitchen plantation shutters white benchtop
Butler’s Pantry: Talostone in Calacatta Luxe on the kitchen benchtop is stylish and practical. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Living Area

The original central floor was enhanced by lifting the roof to form an impressive cathedral ceiling, allowing for expansive high-set windows which draw in views and natural light. Bi-fold doors were also added, enabling seamless flow between indoor and outdoor entertaining areas. Havwoods ‘Allevard’ engineered oak floorboards form the foundation for the pared-back palette, layered with an Armadillo rug, timber coffee table from Beachwood and sofa from MCM House. French cobblestones from Barefoot Living accentuate the soaring ceiling and ensure the Jetmaster fireplace is a focal point. 

coastal style white bedroom curtains
The couple’s bedroom is layered with linen and cushions from Ivy Lane. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)
coastal style white bedroom with terracotta cushions and throw
Alongside the bed, a Beachwood side table is topped with a sculptural lamp and ‘Selma’ vase from McMullin & Co. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Designed from scratch on the upper level, the ensuite features ivory matte porcelain tiles, which flow seamlessly from floor to ceiling, with a divider feature wall and nifty niche adorned in Grey Gloss square tiles, both from Tiles by Kate. Loughlin Furniture’s custom ‘Kellie’ vanity in American Oak Light with a Quantum quartz in Alpine White benchtop suits the relaxed aesthetic.

contempoarary bathroom timber vanity mirror
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)
contemporary bathroom square grey tiles white oval bathtub timber bath stool
The Kado Lux petite freestanding bath from Reece perfectly fitted the proportions of the space and was paired with wall-mounted Brodware tapware, while the Stone Pony stool is the idealspot for a glass of wine. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

A retreat all to their very own, Rea and Chris’ bedroom on the new upper floor is a lofty sanctuary. The bedhead and base from Beachwood is layered in linen and cushions from Ivy Lane in soft tones, which evoke a subtle feminine feel. 

beach house white and pink kids bedroom
Chloe’s bedroom has a bed, side table and linen from Pottery Barn Kids. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

“Our house is now more than twice the original size and we really make the most of all the space we’ve gained”

contemporary bathroom timber vanity mirror
In the main bathroom, an ‘Avoca’ vanity in American Oak light with a Quantum quartz top and ‘Eden’ basins, are all by Loughlin Furniture. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

With so many paint options to consider, selecting just the right shade of white for your interior walls can be hard. Unhappy with past choices, this time Rea enlisted a colourist through Sunday Homes, who determined Dulux Snowy Mountains half would suit the coastal palette. “It works so perfectly in every area of the house,” says Rea.

beach house back deck outdoor fireplace outdoor lounge setting
Accent cushions from Ivy Lane adding a bolt of colour. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)
coastal style outdoor fireplace
Cobblestones from Barefoot Living around the custom outdoor fireplace. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)


The deck received a significant makeover in the renovation with a sand, fresh oil, painted balustrades and the addition of an outdoor cook zone by Luxe Joinery, which incorporates a slimline BeefEater Signature Proline barbecue. The French cobblestone that’s used inside the home wraps outside to create a dual-wall feature, where it frames a custom wood outdoor fireplace, all under the cover of a new roof, which includes skylights to ensure plenty of sun still infuses the area. Furnished for comfort and style, the outdoor sofa, chair, rug and coffee table were all sourced through Outer.

“Extending the roof over the deck has made it far more practical for alfresco entertaining and relaxing year-round”

beach house backyard skate ramp
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

For avid surfers and skaters Mila (above left) and Chloe (right), a great addition was a custom-built skate ramp. “We often go to the skateparks at the beach, but it’s handy to have a mini one at home for the girls to practise on,” says Rea.

beach house back deck outdoor shower
Chris returning from a surf. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Interior Design/Build: Sunday Homes, sundayhomes.com.au@sunday.homes
Joinery: Luxe Joinery, @luxejoinery
Drafting: Blue Sky Building Designs, blueskybuildingdesigns.com.au

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