Home Tours

Inside a Mediterranean-inspired beach home styled with one-of-a-kind pieces

Having access to some of the best global homewares meant the owners of a Mediterranean-inspired beach home were spoilt for choice.

Meet & greet: 

Jill & Perry Coleman (furniture and accessory retailers).

Everything has meaning in Jill and Perry Coleman’s beautiful and beguiling home by the sea. Jill is a passionate collector who founded a popular interiors homewares brand with Perry almost three decades ago, and has brought her much-imitated style to this incredible house. Cocooned in greenery beside the white sands of picturesque bay, it’s a serene sanctuary filled with intriguing one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a uniquely personal tale and cast a spell on all who visit.

It’s been 16 years since the couple, now grandparents, set up home in this very special part of the world. “At the time,” says Jill, “there was an old house here. It had problems and needed to be brought up to scratch. But we loved the position – right on the water, just 10 metres to the beach. You couldn’t get any closer, really. We lived in the house doing bits and pieces for years. Eventually, I drew up a plan for a major renovation, but no one could really give me a price for it.”

Six years ago, the Colemans decided the time had come to build a new house on their perfectly located block and, while Jill called on the expertise of their family friend, semi-retired architect Mario Bernardi, for the project, she knew exactly where to source inspiration for the two-storey design. “Over the years I have travelled a lot with my work, and I particularly love the Mediterranean,” she says. “I’ve always admired the homes in that part of the world and their clean lines. I also love the work of modernist architect Richard Neutra and the residences he built in the Californian desert. But I really wanted this place to be an eclectic reflection of my travels, and for it to feel like a very beachy house.”

Purist in design and free-flowing in nature, this is a home at one with its pristine landscape. A raw palette and artisan finishes, from exposed concrete flooring to rammed-earth walls, imbue each space with a sense of organic materiality. There are open-plan living areas overlooking the ocean downstairs, along with three bedrooms and ensuites, a media room and a plant-filled atrium. Upstairs is the main bedroom suite, a home office, an art space and a rooftop terrace.

Throughout, consistent splashes of Jill’s favourite hues – emerald green and blush pink – come to the fore, while expanses of glass usher in light and views. There are also many eye-catching design elements, including the arched walkway under the stairs and the monumental yet retractable timber and glass door (designed by Perry) that makes an indelible impression in the foyer. “That door is such a feature,” says Jill, “as are the recycled teak doors at the entrance to the courtyard.”

When the time came to decorate, Jill says the process was a little more taxing than she anticipated. “It’s a funny thing, but I could probably walk into someone else’s home and know exactly what pieces they could add, or what I’d do. But with my own home, I found it quite challenging. I think it’s because the house doesn’t have a lot of walls available. I had to place things that I knew had a real reason to be there – and I had to really love them. Even now, I’m still adding and changing things.”

Jill and Perry’s daughter, Elissa Coleman, who is the creative director of the family’s homeware brand, sums up the overall look. “My mother wanted the interior spaces to mirror the surrounding landscape, so a coastal palette has been used throughout. A monochromatic scheme can appear flat, so she created layers of textures using soft fabrics such as linens and wools for depth and interest. The palette also forms a seamless and beautiful canvas for my family’s favourite objects and collections. And because she loves to decorate, the interior spaces are always evolving.”

Ditto for the outdoor spaces. Jill is a keen gardener and felt it was important for the house to “grow into itself”, too. Thriving plantings of low-maintenance succulents and cacti bring a life affirming sense of movement to the house and garden, creating a continuous link between them.“It’s like an oasis now,” she says. “The cacti have gone crazy in the courtyard and I love that. It’s also a very cool home in summer, with all of the concrete, and in winter we have the big open fire. In autumn, the weather is just beautiful every day.”

Above all, this home offers an effortless welcome to family and friends, especially the ones who get to stay. “We wanted to build a beach house that would be easy to live in and enjoy with those we love,” says Jill. “This place isn’t pretentious or precious – it’s very much a ‘people’ house.”

 

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