The culmination of Great Dane Furniture Founder Anton Assaad’s vision, Great Dane House represents a luxurious reworking of a classic beach house located in the picturesque Victorian coastal town of Point Lonsdale.
A true passion project in every sense, Anton has created a home for present and future generations – a coastal sanctuary within which his family can experience an environment that holds a special place in their hearts. “The location is so unique, it was very much a case of love at first sight,” says Anton. “The house is nestled among ancient moonah trees in the sand dunes of Point Lonsdale beach. The location really is why the place is so special; you can hear the waves, smell the ocean, and really become immersed in the magic of the Australian coastal environment.”
Location aside, the house itself was certainly modest in appearance; the residence had seen better days, standing shaken yet resolute against the pressures of time. Despite the less-than-enticing first impression, Anton saw potential where others saw decay and moved quickly to secure the home that he knew would eventually provide a base for family getaways and offer an unparalleled coastal experience on Airbnb.
“The home was built in 1971, and I genuinely believe no one had completed any renovations since,” explains Anton. “Think 1970s Australian design, think an old boiler in the upstairs bedroom, laminate as far as the eye could see in the kitchen and a tremendous amount of old-world charm. For us, the house seemed like the perfect opportunity to maintain a structural legacy while creating a new home worthy of its incredible location.”
Upon purchasing what Anton affectionately calls ‘the shack’, renovations began in earnest, a process designed to maximise the space of the coastal block, without altering the footprint of the existing home. “Within three months, with the assistance of the Great Dane Co-Founder and Creative Director and a builder mate, plans were drawn up and work commenced,” says Anton. “We weren’t fixed in our approach and, therefore, many elements took shape before our eyes using recycled or repurposed materials. This even included me pulling up and re-laying 1,000 bricks to create a new downstairs slab – much to the amusement of everyone who witnessed it.”
Before long, life began to be re-installed in the old home, with beautiful new details added, spaces created and a vibrancy returning to the essence of the site. “We enclosed the downstairs driveway, which has now become the kids’ room, with a television, ping-pong table and an Ilse Crawford sofa. It’s a great escape for the kids to have that’s separate from upstairs,” notes Anton. “The house is tired but not overcome and the renovation respects that; it’s full of texture and warmth.
Throughout the renovation process, from brick one to brick 1,000, Anton never lost sight of his vision for the home and is proud to say the finished product ultimately represents himself and his business. Often asked the question, ‘How do you live?’, Anton wanted to create a space that acts as a testament to the brand ethos of Great Dane Furniture. “Naturally the home features a lot of Danish furniture, but there is so much more contained within those walls, including eclectic ceramics from all over the world, family heirlooms, Persian rugs, a fireplace from Oblica and many other elements that make it so much more than simply Great Dane,” says Anton. “A home should represent the people that live in it and that’s incredibly important. We always say [we] don’t expect everyone to buy everything from Great Dane, as that’s not how people live. I think that’s truly what Great Dane is about – providing classic furniture that elevates the many layers to a person’s home.”
As it all came together and finishing day approached, Anton insisted on a final layer of Scandinavian luxury, adding a bed from Hästens to the master bedroom, giving those fortunate enough to stay in the home an unforgettable night’s sleep in the world’s most luxurious bed. “This is a new partnership for Great Dane and one I am really excited about,” says Anton. “Australia was the last western country in the world where the 165-year-old brand didn’t have representation. It wasn’t a case of us choosing them but rather them choosing us, which is a real honour for myself personally and Great Dane as a company.”
On sunny days, Anton is to be found enjoying a quiet glass of vino downstairs or working from the kitchen table, the rhythmic tap of his keyboard disrupted only by the perpetual crash of the waves beyond. By following a passion, Anton has created a beautiful sanctuary for his family – one that he is excited to share with others keen to experience a coastal getaway unlike any other.