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A seaside sanctuary on Sydney’s northern beaches

This heavenly coastal abode is enjoying a stylish new chapter as an idyllic getaway for a Sydney family.
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Nestled into a cliff with breathtaking views stretching out across the sparkling Northern Beaches coastline is this stunning weekender belonging to Nancy and her husband Chris, who live here with their three children, Hana, 12, Lily, 10, and Sebastian, five. For Nancy, the spell was cast before she even had the opportunity to step through the front door.

HOLIDAY TIME Although infused with a refined style, the house has an appropriately laid-back ambience. Revelling in its coastal setting, an expansive timber deck off the living room is the perfect place to entertain.

Who stays here? Nancy and her husband Chris, who works in finance, and their children Hana, 12, Lily, 10, and Sebastian, five.

Does the decoration of the home feel complete now? Nancy: “I think I’m done! Right now, it suits our family so well exactly as it is.”

Favourite room in the home? “The main living area. It’s such a grand space, but it feels intimate at the same time.”

Describe a typical Sunday at the beach house? “Get up late and trundle down to the local deli for breakfast and coffee before a walk to the nearby lighthouse. Then it’s time to head to the beach with the kids. Heavenly!”

While they’ve only recently settled into the home, Nancy and her husband Chris, together with children (pictured here in the living area, from left) Lily, Sebastian and Hana, already love nothing more than welcoming family and friends to their beautiful weekender located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

“I knew we were going to buy the house, though I was yet to see it in real life,” she recalls. “It was like magic,” she adds with a smile. “I’m always keeping watch of real estate, and we had been looking in the area for about 18 months. When this one came up online, I said ‘Finally, we’ve found the house we’ve been waiting for’.” And Nancy had every reason to trust her instincts, with her first walk-through of the home meeting all of her expectations. “It was everything I knew it would be,” she says. “There were no surprises.”

“The fireplace is in use in colder months. It makes the house feel so cosy,” says Nancy.

Built in 1997, the two-level home had been enjoyed and carefully maintained by the one multi-generational family for almost 25 years. “The house was loved to bits,” shares Nancy, “and I could instantly see that was the case. As soon as I walked in, I could feel the spirit of the house – the love and care that its previous owners had given the house. It was also built to last with strong foundations and excellent bones.” To Nancy and Chris, the home – featuring a sumptuous main suite as well as the core living-entertaining areas on the ground level, plus additional bedrooms and a second living space on the lower level – required no structural alterations.

LIVING In the core chill-out zone, where a soaring ceiling amplifies the sense of space, Mojoe sofas from MCM House provide plenty of spots to curl up. Against an inky feature wall in Dulux Domino, an evocative painting – Shell Bowl by Tim Shaw from Galleria Mondiale – claims prominence. The ‘Mele’ stool is from Uniqwa Collections, while the large white plant holder – the ‘Alfie’ pot’ – was found at The Pot Warehouse.

As for the base colour and material palette, Nancy – under the guidance of interior designer Lissa Gribble, director of Lissa Jane Interiors – chose to embrace it. And with good reason.

Contrasting against the crisp white walls and hardwood flooring, existing pops of watery teal provide a sense of harmony throughout the home and reference the seascape that can be seen outside.

Plush sofas beckon in the luminous living room. ‘Swimmer with Hat’ artwork by Jo Szabo from Galleria Mondiale.

KITCHEN While Nancy loves to cook, entertaining at the beach house is kept simple and fuss-free. “What I love to do here is assembling platters,” she says. “Everyone comes over and we’re all hanging out around the kitchen bench. Someone is juicing limes, while someone else is putting the nibbles together. I love it that way.”

An oversized ‘Mila’ pendant from Uniqwa Collections makes a strong sculptural statement, while the Globe West ‘Tully’ bookcase in Natural Teak is home to a array of collectibles.

And then the fun really began – it was time to decorate. Together, Nancy and Lissa worked to create a cohesive look that was simple and pared-back yet inviting and classically stylish. “Nancy and Chris wanted the home to be a retreat from the frantic pace of their city life,” says Lissa. “I chose to punctuate the neutral palette with the colours of wheat and charcoal. They’re two classic colours that will stand the test of time. They also pair beautifully with the white and the existing coastal aqua colours of the house.” “It was very much a team effort. I loved working with Lissa,” adds Nancy.

“I wanted to move away from the more traditional beach-house look, which can feel cliched,” says Lissa.

DINING “I wanted an oval dining table as this is the place for everyone to get together. To me, a rectangular table is not as social,” says Nancy. Certainly, the gravitational force of the ‘Acre’ oval dining table from Globe West, teamed with ‘Ashby’ dining chairs from Granite Lane, is undeniable.

“We wanted the house to be a place for calm, serenity and relaxation. I think that’s reflected in the furnishings. It’s not a showy or pretentious house. There’s nothing about it that says ‘Look at me!'” Instead, the hero of the home is the view. “The amphitheatre is quite dramatic,” says Nancy. “You can never tire of looking at the view, and it’s never the same – it changes with the weather.”

A ‘Celine’ bone inlay mirror from The Boathouse Home, above the ‘Bulu’ timber cabinet from Uniqwa Collections.

Fittingly, too, Nancy and Chris, who have listed the home on Airbnb for short-term vacation rentals when it’s not in use by their family, have now given the abode a name of its own. “We have named the house Kohola, which means whale in Hawaiian,” says Nancy. “Chris and I have such strong ties to Hawaii. I was born and raised in New York City, but Chris and I met and then married in Hawaii. It’s our spiritual place.”

MAIN BEDROOM What’s not to love about a four-poster bed? “You climb onto it and it feels like you’re levitating,” says Nancy of the ‘Willow’ bed from Globe West that sits in the couple’s bedroom. A ‘Boule’ lamp sits atop an ‘Axol’ side table – both from MCM House. At the end of the bed, dressed in plush Cultiver linen, a GlobeWest ‘Humphrey’ bench seat completes the sleep scene.

Plantation shutters add a tropical look in the main bedroom and ‘Zen Girl’ by Ian Vigil, from Galleria Mondiale, has a prominent spot on the wall.


Highlights of teal inside and out – Dulux Lake Shore for the internal shutters, windows and doors, Dulux Yorkshire Teal for the external beams – add serenity. I particularly love the painted shutters throughout the house, says Nancy. “I think they’re so unique and the tone of the teal is just beautiful.”

HANA’S BEDROOM There’s a fresh yet serene feel to Hana’s room, furnished with a ‘Beatrix’ bedhead from McMullin & Co, ‘Georgio’ chair from MCM House, ‘Akoni’ resin side table from Uniqwa Collections and a ‘Vox’ floor lamp from MRD Home. The vintage elm bench at the end of the bed has also been sourced from Uniqwa Collections.

The powder room on the ground floor.

With the large glass doors opening to this elevated deck overlooking the ocean, the home has a strong connection to its spectacular setting. “We entertain everywhere – there are so many wonderful spaces to hang out in the home,” says Nancy. “We also love the pool – during summer, we stay in it for hours!”

Above all, says Nancy, this is a home she hopes will remain in her family for generations to come. “That is absolutely my plan,” she says, “To never sell the house and to hope that my children never have to sell it. It’s a very special place.”

The shimmering pool is a drawcard for the family and their stream of guests.


Interior design: Lissa Gribble, Lissa Jane Interiors, 0400 443 702.

Nancy and Chris with their kids (from left) Sebastian, Lily and Hana. Dulux Yorkshire Teal was used for the external beams.

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