5 ways to create the ultimate barefoot beach house

SOUL Home's latest renovation, 'The Bach' is a study in relaxed, beach house style.
Landscape image of a white beach house exterior with large back deck.The Palm Co

Interior designer and SOUL Home founder Simone Mathews’ forte is creating homes that have a year-round holiday vibe, and a long list of stunning property makeovers proves it. Remember Soul of Gerringong, The Pause, and The Palm House Gerroa? All her handiwork! Her latest project, a single-story holiday house on the NSW South Coast called ‘The Bach’, is equally stunning. 

Before Simone, GUD Studios and local construction company Southern Edge Building set to work, the house was dark and outdated. They re-jigged the floorplan to allow plenty of natural light to enter. “Changing the layout allowed the once dark, closed rooms to come to life,” says Simone. “The biggest impact was the pitched roof in the living area which instantly draws you in from the moment you open the door.” We take a peek inside the house to bring you five beach house design tips to emulate at home.

Exterior of The Bach, a renovated beach house on the NSW South Coast featuring a white picked fence and long driveway.
(Credit: The Palm Co)

1. Start with the flooring

Beach houses should be designed for barefoot living, says Simone, who always begins a renovation by choosing the flooring. “The oak flooring was the foundation for all of the selections,” she says,  adding, “I was also drawn to how it feels underfoot.”

Sand is an inevitable intruder in any beach house, so it’s important to select flooring that can withstand frequent vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. 

Open plan kitchen and dining room in a beach house.
Oak flooring from Big River Group formed the basis of the entire home’s interior design. (Credit: The Palm Co)

2. Stick to a refined colour palette

Coastal homes are often associated with fresh, vibrant shades of white. At The Bach, Simone stuck to a refined palette of soft blue, grey and white with touches of sandy beige – tones inspired by the home’s coastal location. 

Pale blue beach house kitchen with servery window.
A Stegbar servery window opens directly out to the alfresco dining area on the back deck. (Credit: The Palm Co)
Blue and white coastal kitchen with square-tiled splashback.
In the kitchen, ‘Zellige’ splashback tiles in white from Tile Bazaar are complemented by cabinetry painted in ‘Mist’ by Porter’s Paints. Cabinet pulls are from Hepburn hardware. (Credit: The Palm Co)

3. Don’t forget texture

A louvred door, salvaged from the original home, inspired Simone to use the doors throughout the house to add texture.

“We used them in a gorgeous blue tone to complement the kitchen and en masse in the master bedroom; allowing the wardrobe to become a feature rather than solely for practical purposes,” she says. 

White and concrete living room in a beach house.
Louvred doors painted in soft blue form the backdrop to the open plan kitchen and dining areas. (Credit: The Palm Co)
Coastal style bedroom with exterior door, and wardrobe doors with louvred fronts.
Louvred doors are used throughout the home to create texture. (Credit: The Palm Co)

4. Make the outdoor spaces low-maintenance

Because holiday homes like The Bach are only occupied sporadically, it’s important to create a garden that not only looks great, but is low-maintenance too. 

Luke Rogers, director at Southern Edge Building says everything about the garden was selected for its hard-wearing nature. “From the curved timber boardwalks with coastal plants to the circular firepit area, every area of the landscape was chosen with coastal living in mind.” 

Rear deck of a renovated beach house on the NSW South Coast.
Even the decking in ‘Turpentine’ by Big River Group, was selected for its durability. (Credit: The Palm Co)
Beach house rear deck with alfresco dining area.
“Turpentine ages so well, creating nice silver tones,” says Simone. “It is also low-maintenance when left to age, which is again exactly what you want in a holiday home. (Credit: The Palm Co)

5. Go with the flow

Curves, a feature that really unites the house and landscape, weren’t even part of The Bach’s original design, says Simone. It was only once the house was fully built that it became apparent some of the lines created by the driveway and towards the deck needed to be softened. 

“We created the curved wall, connected to the built-in garden boxes,” she says. “This created a focal point when viewed from the street, a sense of privacy for the family. A built-in seat creates an inviting space to observe and enjoy the sunshine.” 

Coastal, tropical garden with curved wall, fence and lawn.
Curves in the garden soften harsh lines and create distinct zones for relaxing and playing. (Credit: The Palm Co)
Coastal outdoor dining area with curved furniture
A curved wall gives the alfresco dining area a sense of privacy and seclusion. (Credit: The Palm Co)

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