Nobody could accuse Brisbane couple Jo and Steve of being held back by indecision. Within moments of wandering through their sublime Sunshine Coast weekender for the first time, the pair were ready to sign on the dotted line. “We loved it from the minute we walked in, even though it wasn’t what we were originally looking for,” says Jo. “But it just felt like us, and we ended up buying it in the car on the way home. We’re very spontaneous people – and we never look back.” That was 25 years ago and Jo and Steve, now grandparents, certainly haven’t regretted their impulse purchase for a moment.
Time after time, the couple have felt a sense of joy when opening the front door to their undeniably special home by the sea.
For Jo and Steve, sons Andrew and John, and now their families, laidback holidays punctuated by salty breezes and sunny, sandy days far from the hustle and bustle have always been the happiest of times.
“The house was a bit tired when we bought it, but it certainly served its purpose until we decided to renovate a couple of years ago,” says Jo.
“The children were young, so there was always sand through the house. I used to throw a towel over the front balcony to signal to the boys on the beach that it was time for lunch!”
Just metres from the sand, and presenting a breathtaking outlook when the sky is as blue as the ocean, the elevated three-level home also presents beguiling vistas on the darkest and most tempestuous days.
“I love watching a big storm roll in over the ocean,” says Jo. “I grew up in far-western Queensland, where we hardly ever saw rain, so storms have excited me my entire life.”
In 2018, Jo and Steve decided the time had come to embark on a renovation. Enlisting the expertise of interior designer Paul Popham of Popham Interiors and Laguna Building Consultants principal Toby Witt, the couple were confident they were in good hands.
Their trust was well rewarded. “It ended up being a major renovation,” says Jo. “Paul and Toby very much worked together and really only approached us if there was a crisis, because they knew what our vision was.
I didn’t want a theme – I just wanted it to feel like a very comfortable beach house.” And that it surely does. Bathed in natural light, the home – with its beautiful new living spaces and multiple decks overlooking the sea – provides an easy connection to nature, with ample space for family and friends of all ages.
“It’s a very non-precious home,” says Jo, “and you have to have that at the beach. You just have to sweep the sand up and get on with it.”
While the home’s base palette is mostly neutral, featuring organic textures, there’s plenty to intrigue the eye, too. Consummate travellers, Jo and Steve have assembled a fascinating collection of pieces from around the globe, many of which have been reinvented and are now showcased about the home, each telling a story
“Much of the furniture Paul recycled or re-covered,” says Jo. “He did a wonderful job with the floor plan and with all of the interiors. I trusted him implicitly and let him have the reins.”
Above all, this is a heavenly yet delightfully unpretentious home – one Jo and Steve hope will continue to be cherished by future generations to come. “This home is part of our family and always will be,” says Jo. “It’s very special to us all.”
“Steve designed the timber cut-outs for the high breezeway into the walk-in robe in our bedroom, based on some of the designs we had seen on a trip to Morrocco.” ~ Jo
When it comes to writing about all things homes-related, Jackie – a magazine features writer for over 25 years – is simply in her element. Few things bring her more joy than sitting down for a chat with homeowners to uncover their secrets to decorating magic. Other than spending time with her family and beloved golden retriever Bosley, of course!
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