Beach-inspired style makes house a home
Homeowner Jo and interior designer Natalee Bowen. Picture: Astrid Volzke

Size was never an issue for Jo and her husband, Rob. The pair's five-bedroom, four- bathroom Dalkeith home had plenty of space for them to spread out and enjoy with their 15-month- old daughter, Rosie, and family members who often come to stay.

The 400sqm passive-solar home, which the couple bought in August, is divided into two wings separated by a living area that includes the kitchen, lounge and dining zones, and a playroom.

One wing holds four bedrooms, three of which have French doors that open on to the pool and deck area, as well as an attic area, laundry and three bathrooms. The other side houses the main suite and a light-filled library.

While the bones of the home were lovely, when the family first moved in they felt it lacked a sense of warmth that Jo said was sorely missed, particularly as she knew this would be their "forever house".

"We wanted an older house that had plenty of space and a good layout," she said.

"And this home ticked so many boxes - even the warm grey paint the previous owners used was gorgeous.

"But it lacked the relaxed, beachy look I love."

With its beautifully landscaped gardens, stunning timber floorboards and white plantation-style window shutters, the home's existing elements were perfectly suited to the Hamptons style Jo admired.

But moving from a three- bedroom, two-bathroom home to the bigger new house proved a challenge when it came time to decorate.

"I just couldn't find the pieces to achieve the look I wanted and found the size of our living area to be a little daunting," she said.

"What I needed was somebody with good industry contacts and the skill and courage to put everything together and make it work."

Picture: Astrid Volzke

Jo enlisted the help of interior designer Natalee Bowen, of Indah Island, whose signature coastal-chic styling has been published in a host of prestigious magazines, including Australian House & Garden, The Australian Women's Weekly and Vogue Australia.

"Jo wanted to create a fresh, homely feel for her family - she loved the Hamptons look but was also drawn to a more relaxed Bahamas vibe," Ms Bowen said.

"So we used a calming blue-and-white colour palette to bring the cool of the pool inside."

In the main lounge area, an oversized love chair custom-made by Indah Island and covered in a striking fabric is the hero of the space, while pineapple table lamps from Sydney's Emac and Lawton, natural fibre floor rugs and plump linen cushions conjure up an imaginary Bahamian breeze.

"Finding the right cushions is an exhausting task," owner Jo laughed. "I used to buy cushions all the time and was never happy with them, but Natalee's cushions are keepers."

Adjacent to the lounge, the dining area is furnished with an eight-seat dining table from Freedom, paired with replica Eames DSW chairs from Matt Blatt.

The kitchen rounds out the open-plan space, which has direct access to the decked alfresco and pool area.

Here Calacatta marble in black and grey is offset by two high-gloss nickel-finish pendant lights over the island bench.

"The kitchen didn't need any work and featured some stunning grey marble, which we enhanced with some industrial-style glass pendant lighting," Ms Bowen said.

A highlight of the home is the sumptuously furnished library, which features built-in shelving custom-designed by Indah Island.

"It's a soothing space for the owners," Ms Bowen said.

"The use of a duck-egg blue palette is soft and serene but an eclectic fabric selection brings character and texture to the room.

"The use of natural fibres such as rattan is a key element I use all the time."

A pair of coral paintings by Kerry Shipp frame the French doors, which lead out on to a small putting green and a play area for Rosie, complete with a cubbyhouse.

Jo said the home once belonged to high-profile Perth lawyer Patti Chong, and the green was installed for her golf-loving son.

Recently overhauled, the garden itself is lush and green with fragrant magnolias and star jasmine planted throughout.

The outdoor area features furniture from The Outdoor Furniture Specialists, sumptuous cushions made with fabric from famous US company Tommy Bahama, and cushions from Dlux Interiors in Nedlands.

"I really do pinch myself when I come home to this house," Jo said. "I'm waiting for someone to knock on the door and say 'Give it back'."

The West Australian

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