With 85% of the population living within 50km of the coast, it's safe to say Australians have a special connection with the ocean and Australian architecture shares in that special relationship. For many Australians, owning a home by the sea is the ultimate dream, and this has impacted the way we design our house. So if you're ready for a sea change and looking to build the perfect new coastal home, here's a quick guide on how to create a masterpiece.
Before you can get down to paint colours and fixtures, you need to consider the overall design of a home. The challenge of creating a coastal home is to build one that exists in harmony with its natural surrounds. Too opulent and the house will lack taste, too modest and it will look out of place, and overshadowed by the environment.
Concerning form, most coastal homes are multi-storey to maximise the ocean views, while exteriors vary depending on personal style. Traditionalists will likely go for the weatherboard beach house look, while modernists tend to opt for clean white render inspired by the seaside homes of Santorini or more contemporary vertical timber cladding.
In any case, the perfect coastal home is all about capturing the ideal view so the more glass, the better. To maximise your viewing pleasure, living spaces, balconies and entertaining outdoor areas should be placed to receive the best views. For multi-storey homes, this may mean you'll benefit more from an upside-down layout, with living areas situated upstairs while bedrooms are located on the ground floor.
Just remember, your new property will likely be exposed to salt, wind and storms, so make sure all windows and construction materials are durable and weather-ready - that means alfresco cafe blinds are a no-go!
For greater sustainability, the best coastal homes are also optimised to take advantage of sea breezes so that the property will benefit from passive cooling. The key is to open up the house and limit internal walls so that when it receives a sea breeze, it can flow throughout the residence, serving as a natural air-conditioner and reducing energy costs during summer months.
The best looking coastal homes tend to be the ones designed to reflect their environment. When in doubt, just look to America! Inspired by the monster mansions of the New York elite, the 'Hamptons-style' trend has taken over the design world. Start with a base colour of white or bright, neutral tones to mimic white sands. Next, add splashes of blue to inject a pop of colour and mirror the ocean. Natural materials like timbers and stone remain an excellent way to tie your decor back to nature, while painted white timber furnishings and plantation shutters will complete the aesthetic.
Features To Enhance Your Coastal Lifestyle
The beachfront living is all about luxury, so don't be afraid to splurge on a few extravagances. After all, if you're going to truly embrace the coastal lifestyle, you will need the right equipment.
For surfing enthusiasts, avid swimmers and clean freaks alike, an outdoor shower is a must-have to keep your new home squeaky clean and sand free. Bear in mind that exposure to salt and elements will degrade your shower fittings over time so don't go to too over budget with fixtures that you will eventually have to replace. Similarly, outdoor storage for surfboards and sporting equipment is a practical addition active types will love.
On the more extravagant end of the spectrum, there are infinity pools. If you're lucky, your home's location will allow you to align the edge of your pool aligns the ocean's horizon, creating the illusion that the two are one. Reserved for the most luxurious homes and world-class resorts, an infinity pool will add more than a touch of class your home. Plus it's perfect for those who would rather look at the ocean rather than swim in it!
Ready for a sea change? If you're ready to live every Australian dream and build your dream coastal abode.