Built on a sand dune overlooking a picturesque stretch of coastline just metres from the water, the Yeardley family’s new holiday house is the ultimate beach retreat.
The Yeardley’s chocolate labrador Bailey is quite possibly the luckiest dog around. It was his love of the beach which inspired his owners to build a home just a short walk from where Bailey could romp off leash to his heart’s content.“I guess Bailey is a bit spoilt,” reflects Shannon with a laugh. “Our whole family loves the water, yet it was our regular trips to the Sunshine Coast to specifically find dog friendly beaches that led us to Castaways. We just fell in love with the area and were travelling up to two hours to get there from our home in Cedar Creek, so we eventually decided to take the plunge and create a more permanent base here where we could spend weekends and holidays,” explains Shannon.
Initially Shannon and husband Steve put in an offer on a house, but after missing out decided to look for land where they could build an idyllic getaway. Fortuitously when an elevated block on the very same street came onto the market, the couple couldn’t believe their luck and snapped it up. “We always knew it would be a challenge to design something which suited the unusual fan shaped block, but we enlisted local firm Aboda Design Group and they picked up on exactly what we were after,” explains Shannon.
Enamoured with New England-style architecture, having spent time travelling along the US East Coast where the family stayed in many Nantucket style beach cottages brimming with charm, a key element of the brief was to evoke a similar classic coastal aesthetic to complement the Queensland climate. A pool was also on the couple’s wish-list, as well as separate bedrooms for their 12 year-old twins Maddie and Connor.
“We were really open to ideas as to the shape and layout of the home, but we had a very clear concept for the interiors in terms of the colours, materials and textures,” says Shannon, who compiled Pinterest boards filled with ideas and started a blog, Blue Dog Beach House, to document the 18 month project. “It was important there was a high level of detail throughout, with beautiful yet forgiving finishes such as solid French Oak floors. We also wanted to create a big central bookcase where we could stock lots of holiday reads for guests.”
Thrilled with the initial concept proposed by designers Scott Falconer and Lee Foster of Aboda, the family then brought in Cobb’s Constructions to bring it to reality. Every element of the design was tailored to suit the site, withstand the rigours of beachfront living and capitalise on the stunning outlook. “The house really is all about the view and Scott and Lee did a wonderful job introducing all the curves which gives the place a real softness,” says Shannon.
Set on three levels, a curved Newport Limestone dry wall stairway leads down to the central living and kitchen area, with an adjacent bedroom and bathroom wing for the couple’s children and a spare bunk room for visiting friends and family. Stepping down the contours of the block, the lower living level enveloped in glass opens onto the central deck and pool, where Shannon says the ultimate indulgence is enjoying a swim while overlooking the ocean.
The top level is a devoted retreat for Shannon and Steve, with an open-plan master bedroom and ensuite providing yet another vantage point to survey the water and long stretches of coastline. “It’s incredible to be in the stone bath and look out to the sea and I find whenever I stay here I can’t sleep in, I’m too excited to wake up and see the view,” enthuses Shannon. Every element, from the VJ panelling, coastal themed curios, photos and travel mementos to the serene colour palette, was chosen to reflect the natural surrounds and evoke a sense of relaxation synonymous with beach holidays.
“When you walk along Castaways Beach there’s always a lot of pumicestone which has washed up so I wanted to incorporate the same lovely grey tones paired with classic white and lots of aqua and turquoise. And I simply loved the sea glass coloured tiles used in lots of New England properties so I imported them to act as an accent in the bathrooms alongside the tumbled travertine floors and walls,” explains Shannon.
Outside, the couple have cultivated a coastal garden alongside the boardwalk path which leads visitors to the front door. “We love gardening so it was a lot of fun creating a little jewel box garden filled with natives and mounds of succulents. We also transplanted a large established frangipani from our property in Cedar Creek which we positioned at the entry, which suits the area perfectly” says Shannon.
The family chose a meaningful name for the house, opting for Blue Dog, inspired in part by Bailey, the colours of the ocean and by the Black Dog tavern in Martha’s Vineyard where they’ve visited. “Blue Dog is a name which encapsulates what prompted us to come here,” reflects Shannon. “It’s such a beautiful spot and now having such an incredibly special house here has exceeded our expectations.” For those who like the idea of a luxury coastal retreat, the home is also available to book for holidays (bluedogbeachhouse.com.au).
Photography by Paul Smith.