Blue Daze

A picturesque seaside retreat by boutique design firm Verandah House combines Hamptons charm with a Queensland sensibility, producing a truly one-of-a-kind family home.

”The men have loved the house the most,” says Judy Elliott, casting her eyes over the stretch of limewashed decking to the still, sparkling water beyond. “Even the tradesmen said to me that they could move in tomorrow. They like the calm colours, I think…”

MG_1034 MG_1039It’s no wonder most men swoon upon entering the two-storey Ormiston residence, its powder-blue door acting as a subtle prologue to the serene beauty that lies within. Crisp neutral colours, texture and timeless anchor pieces echo the design philosophy behind classic, arguably masculine, American style, which Judy acknowledges as a major source of inspiration. But it’s the faultless layering and unexpected pops of surprise which bring this home into the 21st century, broadening its appeal to women, children and men alike. Not to mention that view.

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It’s no wonder most men swoon upon entering the two-storey Ormiston residence, its powder-blue door acting as a subtle prologue to the serene beauty that lies within. Crisp neutral colours, texture and timeless anchor pieces echo the design philosophy behind classic, arguably masculine, American style, which Judy acknowledges as a major source of inspiration. But it’s the faultless layering and unexpected pops of surprise which bring this home into the 21st century, broadening its appeal to women, children and men alike. Not to mention that view.

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“The balustrade was probably the most labour intensive element, all hand-made over three levels and built on site,” Judy says.

“I was very particular in that I wanted something different no one else had done. I found the design on an old colonial house and thought what a fantastic way to bring in that typical touch of Queensland to a Hamptons-inspired home.”

The dining and kitchen zone are ideal for entertaining, the French doors opening up to reveal a generous balcony. A single piece of marble was sourced for the kitchen bench top, which has two striking nickel and glass pendants floating overhead. Classic moulded cabinetry and a white subway tile splashback reference that lusted-after Hamptons kitchen look, which extends to the beautiful wall panelling; white timber and the softest of grey paints contrast to create a crisp and elegant design feature.

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The lounge room teams natural linen and rattan seating with classic moulded white furniture, a perfect frame to complement the sweeping ocean vistas and views of the rectangular pool. But it’s Judy’s perfectly balanced vignettes that really catch the eye; the grouping of books and objects on the coffee table which are arranged just so, and the divine symmetry of the sideboard nook – a showcase of her talent in perfecting all-important finishing touches.

“It should be a collection of things you love,” Judy exclaims. “Those things that make a house a home.”

Despite this look of luxury, Judy reminds me that she was working to a budget, having to introduce some of her creative budget-busting decorating techniques.

“Being on a budget and having to fill space, books are simply the best way; you can never have too many books!” she says.

“On a coffee table it’s all about groupings; start with a tray and stack some books and interesting little objects. I try to add greenery and I love boxes for remote controls so the messy things are hidden away.”

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“We often go to op shops,” continues Jess.

“We found the vintage lanterns for the dining area shelving at a junk store and we found all of the colour-coordinated books at book fairs.”

When shown the upstairs library, the impact of coordinated books in an otherwise empty set of shelves really hits home; the room is a perfectly executed work of blue and white pattern play which appears full and complete, despite the limitations a budget imposes.

MG_0972Next door, the master bedroom is a calming retreat; light and bright with touches of shine. But it’s the ensuite that really steals the show. More white subway tiles, classic cabinetry and two hexagonal, art-deco inspired mirrors greet you upon your entrance, a seductive modern take on the classic freestanding bath headed by a postcard-worthy framed view to your right. If there ever was a bathroom built for utterly dreamy relaxation, this is it.

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“Introducing mirrored surfaces, fretwork overlays and coloured shelf interiors doesn’t cost a lot, but adds lots of style and interest,” says Judy.
“And I love freestanding baths; every ensuite should have a bath to add opulence and that luxe look.”

As we are packing up our gear at the end of the day, we all take a moment to pause and have one final look at the pristine water views.

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“The house really does seem to be floating on top of the water,” Judy comments.

“It’s like being on holiday all the time, it has that feel about it. If only I didn’t have to leave!”

A most honest testament to a job well done.