Come school holidays, flights permitting, Singapore-based couple Debbie and Wes and their daughters Mika, nine, Honor, six, and Pippin, four, head to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The trip takes about 10 hours and when the family arrives at their Noosa holiday home the most pressing decision is where to head first – Little Cove Beach for a swim, or Noosa National Park for a walk to stretch the legs. “We love doing both and never take our time in Noosa for granted,” reflects Debbie. “In Singapore, we live in a rented apartment, with no outdoor space – not even a balcony, so here we enjoy being outside as much as possible.”
Who stays here? Debbie, a lawyer; husband Wes, who works in finance; their daughters Mika, nine, Honor, six, and Pippin, four.
What did you learn during the reno? Debbie: “Even though 3D renders can be costly and timely, they were an excellent way to help visualise the space, making it easier and more efficient to make decisions!”
Best design decision? Debbie: “There were garages on either side of the house… we enlarged one into a double garage and converted the other into a media/games room.”
Favourite spot in the home? Debbie: “We love entertaining friends and family in the alfresco dining area overlooking the Noosa National Park.”
For the expat couple and their children, there’s no place like their holiday home, nestled among the trees in Noosa, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It took almost a year to renovate the home to create a luxe retreat, perfectly suited to the climate and idyllic location.
For Wes, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, it had always been a dream to own a property in the tightly held Little Cove area where he could simply walk to the surf breaks he enjoyed as a kid. Initially, the couple bought a townhouse yet not long after the arrival of their youngest daughter Pippin in 2018, they leapt at the opportunity to upsize to a larger home nearby. “The timing was perfect as we’d outgrown the townhouse and really wanted a place where our extended families could also stay with us on holidays,” explains Debbie.
While the location and size were ideal, the ’90s-era home riddled with ad-hoc extensions needed a dramatic renovation inside and out to get the feel and flow right. Enlisting the expertise of local building designer Georgina Price and interior designer Bindy Ward, the redesign centred around taking advantage of Noosa’s temperate climate by creating a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces and capturing views of the national park, which provides a lush backdrop. “We wanted a space that functioned for us as a family where we could watch the kids run around the garden and splash in the pool while we entertain in the kitchen and living spaces,” says Debbie.
Key changes included converting a garage to a games room, enclosing annexed bedrooms and relocating internal stairs to create a more user-friendly open-plan living and dining area.
Juggling the 11-month project while living overseas, the couple, who both have a passion for design, quite enjoyed reviewing plans and perusing furniture selections online, late at night after work. Every few months, they also travelled back to oversee progress and make decisions onsite. “It felt like a nice reprieve from our normal day jobs and our team made the process as easy as possible with regular photo and video updates,” says Debbie of the transformation completed in early 2020.
Just as they imagined, the holiday home and its surrounding beauty provides a welcome change of scene from their inner-city lifestyle. “For us, it’s an opportunity to slow down, relax and unwind, while the kids really relish the amount of outdoor space there is,” says Debbie. Like most homeowners in the picturesque coastal pocket, Debbie says they can’t ever imagine ever letting go of their place. “Noosa is so special to us and we plan on plenty more happy memories being made here as our family grows.”
Rather than simply furnish the house for function, carefully chosen layered artworks and ceramics imbue a personal touch and reflect Debbie and Wes’s appreciation of handcrafted works. “We wanted a luxe coastal feel with fairly neutral, warming, textural elements,” says Debbie. Pieces by Clae Studio and local ceramic artist Elke Lucas were chosen for their organic, tactile appeal.
The pool, resurfaced by Nautilus Pools and updated with ‘Glocal’ structured tiles in Ideal from National Tiles, is enjoyed by the whole family. “My favourite spot is to sit in the hanging chair and work on my laptop while the kids play in the pool or back garden,” says Debbie.
Builder: GTO Building, gtobuilding.com
Building design: Georgina Price Design, georginapricedesign.com.au
Interiors: Bindy Ward, bindyward.com
Holiday bookings: visit Noa by the Beach, noabythebeach.com.au