Balancing Luxury & Simplicity - Bernie’s Beach House by Sally Caroline
The Fisher & Paykel Series
Sorrento, VIC, Australia
Bernie’s Beach House by interior design studio Sally Caroline is the architectural embodiment of a relaxed, elegant coastal lifestyle. The Sorrento home, set high among native trees with glimpses of Port Phillip Bay beyond, carefully balances luxury and simplicity to create a tranquil retreat from which to escape the city and “just be”.
Only a stone’s throw from a secluded cove on the Mornington Peninsula, the project is imbued with the influence of its environment. “The seaside location of the home was one of the primary design inspirations – facing the outlook over the bay, and creating a cosy coastal home”, says Sally Knibbs, director of Sally Caroline. “We wanted to create a home that was beautiful but simple and unpretentious”.
Bernie’s Beach House is named for the designer’s beloved Hungarian vizsla Bernie, “our first born, the light of our lives”, says Sally. He loves nothing more than a romp on the beach, coming home sandy and salty to be rinsed off in the ‘puppy shower’ located between the garage and the laundry. This daily ritual encapsulates the lifestyle that this home was designed to create.
Bernie’s Beach House by interior design studio Sally Caroline is the architectural embodiment of a relaxed, elegant coastal lifestyle.
With such specific little conveniences as Bernie’s very own ‘puppy shower’, the project responds at every level to the lives of its inhabitants. It proves that luxury is not only about excess but is to be found in the quality of spaces, the refinement of the materiality and the attention to personalised design that responds to context and lifestyle. Reflecting on this, Sally says “both aesthetically and architecturally, this home was an exercise in restraint and refinement, less can often be more”.
Two elements were essential to achieving this goal – the material selection, and the considered arrangement of spaces. A coastal “white on white” palette was the starting point, to which Sally added “that layer of luxury with brass feature hardware, vintage glass wall lights in the master bedroom and silver vein cut travertine. It’s relaxed and fresh, contemporary and highly luxurious”.
“The seaside location of the home was one of the primary design inspirations – facing the outlook over the bay, and creating a cosy coastal home”.
Yet the monochromatic palette is by no means cold or clinical, rather the interior of Bernie’s Beach House is tranquil and welcoming. Textural elements, such as the white lining boards and louvered kitchen cabinetry, create depth and interest while the white palette maintains the atmosphere of calm. Touches of brass hardware and natural materials such as travertine and oak flooring warm the space and become the focus. “We always want to celebrate materials in their true form – natural timbers and stone for example. That’s luxury to me” says Sally.
While this palette is designed to create an easy coastal luxury, the home’s spatial plan chooses efficiency over excess. Open-plan living areas enhance a sense of spaciousness by minimising corridors, allowing natural light to flow through the spaces. The two living areas are positioned to maximise their views to Port Philip Bay.
“They are separated by a central pod, clad in white lining boards. This way, the eyes track past the travertine fireplace in the main entertaining area, move past the powder room and storage only to discover a discreet bar waiting for you in the second living space”, explains Sally. “The same strategic master planning uses the master ensuite to separate the master bedroom and the dressing room”.
“We wanted to create a home that was beautiful but simple and unpretentious”.
Within this strategically-planned program, the kitchen is the family hub, designed to sit as the backdrop for the open plan living and dining area. “It is also the focal point for a big breakfast cook ups and balmy summer dinner parties”, Sally reflects. As such, it needed to be both highly functional as well as aesthetically in harmony with the rest of the open-plan space. The stone island bench adds an opulence that is quietly contrasted with the white louvered cabinetry, “a nod to the seaside”, Sally says.
The kitchen design began with a master plan based on process – a washing bank is directly opposite the crockery storage in the full-height louvered cupboard, for example, allowing for easy washing up and unstacking of the dishwasher. “The kitchen is about coffee (neatly placed inside the appliance bench), champagne (the entire right-hand side fridge is all drinks) and feasts (multiple chefs lovingly preparing food around the island bench)”, says Sally. To achieve this combination of elegance and functionality, Sally selected integrated Fisher & Paykel appliances that seamlessly become one with the joinery.
“We like the kitchen to be read as one – not cabinetry and then appliances, both elements should work in harmony together”, Sally says, “the result is a highly considered space that is visually seamless”. Fisher & Paykel worked with Sally to ensure the integration of the Double DishDrawer and two refrigerators was flawless. The induction cooktop was chosen as it could be set into the stone creating a flush finish, appearing simply as a sheet of black glass when not in use, thus minimising the visual impact.
Whether in the realm of the practical, selecting an appliance and designing a ‘puppy shower’, or the aesthetic, finding the perfect piece of silver vein cut travertine, Sally describes the approach of her studio as “luxurious yet unpretentious, calm but charismatic”. In Bernie’s Beach House, the practical and the aesthetic find the perfect balance, highlighting what is possible when all aspects of design work in harmony.