A Sydney family make a sea-change to the Noosa hinterland

Inspired by sunny seaside Queensland holidays, a Sydney family moves north and creates a beautiful home in a scenic setting.

Stylist Amber Keller admits she’s a city girl at heart, yet the allure of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast prompted her and her family to leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney for a more laid-back pace closer to the beach.

“We’d come every summer to visit my husband Matt’s relatives, who live at nearby Sunshine Beach, with our girls, Amelie and Alessandra, and each trip we’d want to stay longer,” says Amber. “We just loved it so much.”

The heart of the home scored the biggest transformation. “It’s a social place where the girls and I cook and chat, so I wanted it to feel welcoming yet also incredibly functional,” says Amber. Finishes include Technistone Noble Supreme White benchtops and custom two-pac cabinetry in Dulux Lexicon Quarter, with VJ cladding in Dulux Domino for contrast on the pantry and island bench. ‘Bistro’ stools from Provincial Home Living, ‘Herman’ pendants from Beacon Lighting and a ‘Spin’ gooseneck sink mixer from Highgrove Bathrooms complement the chic look.

Four years ago, they made the permanent sea change and snapped up a little beach house– yet before long another move was on the cards after they discovered the hinterland. “We didn’t know much about the area when we moved here, but on weekend drives to the Eumundi Markets we started exploring a few pockets,”says Amber.

The downstairs living area offers easy access to the pool in warmer months. As in the rest of the house, oak-style timber floors from Solomon’s Flooring “made such a difference”, says Amber. “It really helps spaces flow seamlessly and feels wonderful underfoot.” The Bamileke coffee table and sofa are from Wabi-Sabi Designs, the leather chair from CLO Studios, the bone inlay side table from Akasha Furniture and the ‘Lohals’ rug from Ikea.

“We found this whole other world, with homes among trees on acreage and with incredible views, not far from Noosa’s main beach. It was magical.”

In the reading area, assorted pieces and textural layers include a Matt Blatt dining table, chairs from Provincial Home Living, coral from Coastal Vintage and a woven wall hanging from Marmoset Found. The silver drum is from Orson & Blake and the black pendant light was sourced from Eclectic Style.

Not shy of a renovation, having transformed their three previous homes, Amber began looking for a hinterland property. She stumbled on a perfect ugly duckling that had sat on the market for months.

The living area features ‘EasyTime’ sofas from Camerich, a CLO Studios coffee table, a Kathy Brauer artwork and Lila the cat.

“It’s not surprising it had been overlooked,”explains Amber.”The colours and finishes were a terrible mix of apricot, beige and brown, cheap carpet and terracotta tiles, which hadn’t been updated in about 20 years, and the gardens were so overgrown they hid the exterior.”

Amber’s home office nook features treasures such as framed pressed leaves from the garden.

On the plus side, the property had great bones, incredible view sand an expansive block filled with tropical fruit trees and bordered by lush Noosa reserve rainforest–which the family later discovered was home to rock wallabies who visit at dusk to nibble their lawn.

A print from Casa Noosa Interiors and an Eclectic Style drinks trolley add personality to the laundry.

Amber dived into renovation mode and had new flooring installed, the interior repainted and the old kitchen ripped out before the family moved in.

Originally painted mission brown with black aluminium fencing, the pool area was in desperate need of an update. Inspired by stays at Halcyon House hotel at Cabarita on the NSW far north coast, Amber channelled holiday vibes to produce her very own poolside retreat. Concrete walls and floors were lavished with Dulux Casper White Quarter, while cushions from Eclectic Style and Adairs were scattered to add comfort atop a storage bench seat. The hanging rattan chair, also from Eclectic Style, was customised with a lick of black paint. A coffee table from Bunnings keeps light refreshments and weekend reading in easy reach.

Although no structural or layout changes were required, it was still a huge project, encompassing five bedrooms, two bathrooms and large living areas across two levels.

A table and chairs from The Furniture Shack set the scene to take in the views.

Outside, the exterior was also repainted, gardens revitalised with landscaping and the pool overhauled to create a Mediterranean-inspired outdoor entertaining area.

Visiting friends and family enjoy hotel-like luxury, with a four-poster timber bed from CLO Studios dressed in linen from Pillow Talk and Adairs. Amber has had the framed Rachel Castle print above the bed and bentwood chair from Thonet for years.

The palette was kept to black and white, providing a backdrop for Amber to add flourishes of colour with homewares and art. Having collected heirlooms and classic pieces since her early 20s, she and Matt brought a significant amount of furniture with them yet added pieces for a casual, coastal feel.

The old ensuite was beige and apricot and featured an oversized corner spa bath. The new pamper zone in striking black, grey and white is memorable for all the right reasons. Wall and floor tiles from Amber Tiles lay the foundation for the palette, with the tones picked up in VJ walls painted in Dulux Tranquil Retreat, custom vanity drawer fronts in Dulux Domino and black tapware from Highgrove Bathrooms, also the source of the freestanding bath and ‘Eden’ basins, while the mirrors were custom made.

“The timber floors, white walls, VJ panels and rattan add a natural textural sensibility,”says Amber.”With the high ceilings and ocean glimpses, it feels beachy, even in the hinterland.”

Many of the fixtures and finishes in the two bathrooms are similar, yet each has a point of difference with tiling and a feature colour. Custom VJ vanity drawer fronts in the downstairs bathroom were painted Dulux Flooded Gum and are offset with large-format concrete-look floor tiles from Amber Tiles. Amber sourced the brass drawer knobs from Anthropologie and added a shell chandelier to offset ‘Baristo Light Up/Down Wall’ brackets from Beacon Lighting. A West Elm ceramic stool partners the freestanding bath from Highgrove Bathrooms.

The best improvement is the kitchen, with views stretching to the ocean.”It’s wonderful,”says Amber.”The girls love to go to the garden and pick fruit – whatever’s in season – and make little tarts and cakes on weekends. It’s so special to be able to do that. It’s a magic lifestyle.”

The couple’s youngest daughter requested a pink bedroom. Rather than a bright candy hue which might fall out of favour, Amber defined a VJ feature wall in Dulux Mornington Half, which creates a subtle dusty pink backdrop. “It’s a colour that won’t date and, teamed with accessories in shades of blush and rust, it’s soft and serene,” she says. Many pieces, including the ‘Bahama’ cane bedhead, linen, scatter cushions, flamingo head, rabbit print and Fleur Harris tepee, were sourced from Adairs, while the owl print is from Eclectic Style and the small drawing was found at Eumundi Markets. Textural elements such as the cane bedside table, also from Eclectic Style, and a Beacon Lighting rattan lamp add a lovely sense of warmth. For a similar black overhead fan, try Bunnings.

“Our home is a mix of modern and vintage furniture, family antiques and boho homewares, mingled with sentimental items collected on our travels.” ~ Amber

The exterior is painted in Dulux Casper White Quarter with Dulux Domino accents.

“VJ panelling was a great addition in every space, to visually elongate walls and add warmth and texture.” ~ Amber

Inspiration for the pool area came from boutique hotel Halcyon House.

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