Beach House Renovation
Project Inspiration: Shelley Craft’s Beach House Renovation
The beach house prior to the renovation I always admired this lovely blue 1950’s asbestos beach shack, which I drove past every day for three years to and from my children’s school. Then one fortuitous morning on the usual school run, I saw the ‘For Sale’ sign – I didn’t want to let this little house on the hill get away, we were meant for each other! It had plenty of street appeal, but it did need a little bit of hard yakka to transform it into a special home, as well as to preserve a piece of Byron Bay history.
The ‘bones’ of the home were in great condition; the previous owners had invested in a new roof, rewiring, as well as some internal renovation projects. The issue for me was that all the sheeting inside and out was asbestos – while there is no problem with asbestos, if not disturbed, I did want to ensure that our renovation stood the test of time. We therefore rid the home of as much asbestos as we could, which meant stripping the house right back to the stud walls. This process only took seven days (thanks to the right team) where we were left ready to make our style mark on the place.
My design goal was to transform the beach shack into an easy living, low maintenance, stress free and fuss free home. Our plan was to live in the home for one year whilst we built our new family home down the road. It therefore had to function as a family home for four, but then still be rentable as a holiday house once we moved into our forever home. The resurrection of the beach shack began with the floor – it informs all other styling considerations. I chose Carpet Court’s Precinct Oak in Amalfi as our foundation to run throughout the entire home to create a seamless finish. The colour is perfection, as it has a golden honey base. We chose wider planks as they provide a more casual vibe and make smaller rooms seems much roomier. Plus, the range can take a beating given our two giant dogs, as well as exposure to sand, dirt, kids in soccer boots and my heels.
The install was super quick! During our initial inspection, we thought we could rip out the carpet in the bedrooms and go straight over the existing 70-year-old timber boards. However, we soon realised that the old boards weren’t in good enough condition to lay flooring on top of, so we laid a new subfloor.
The rest of the interior, isn’t themed per-say but with the addition of banquette seating with lovely pink faux leather seating you get the sense of fun, frivolity and freshness. For the exterior, we replaced the asbestos cladding with new CSR Cemental sheeting and added the feature beading, to ensure it was in keeping with the original design. The colour was paramount, and I think we nailed it with the midcentury soft green.
Importance of planning
I don’t think you can pre-plan a renovation enough. Having said that, you also do need to have some flexibility for your own sanity and that of your trades. Budgeting is the key - set yourself a budget that also includes a portion for new furnishings and then add 30%. The buffer is to allow for surprise issues, such as the need for new underground plumbing or septic etc. It allows you to trim and slice costs elsewhere without compromising the overall look and feel you are going for.
Top 6 tips for renovating a beach shack
- Be honest about your budget and include portions for all elements you need to purchase, such as furniture, landscaping and decorative items. You want to be able to finish the home ‘just so’ and nothing is more disheartening than having to skimp on the things that you are going to notice every day.
- Don’t be afraid of Asbestos, but don’t tackle it yourself! Most homes over 30 years old in Australia will have elements of asbestos. It’s not as expensive or scary as it used to be. There are amazing demolition teams out there highly skilled in this removal.
- Start with one product that is a MUST HAVE for your home – whether that be the flooring or an artwork and build your styling and scheming ideas around that.
- Don’t try and squeeze all your awesome ideas into one home. For one, you’ll go well over budget and secondly, they may not gel. Edit, edit and edit again.
- Don’t be afraid to ‘let it flow.’ The beauty about a renovation over a new build is that you often have more flexibility to make changes on the run.
- ENJOY the process. If you’re new to renovating, make sure you hug your partner at the end of the day and don’t go to bed angry. It can be super stressful and you may not always see eye to eye, but it’s not worth losing your relationship over.