SHIPPING NEWS

Australian House & Garden
A long-held dream to own a home in one of Victoria’s sleepy seaside villages sees this expat family regularly wash up in Point Lonsdale.

Olive branches cut from an established tree at the rear of the property splay out of a basket in the fireplace. Photography Nikole Ramsay.

Olive branches cut from an established tree at the rear of the property splay out of a basket in the fireplace. Photography Nikole Ramsay.

By the time the owners of this house and their three children charge through the front door, they are desperately in need of a holiday. For this expat family based in Singapore, their Federation cottage in Point Lonsdale, on the Victorian coast, is a beloved bolthole, an opportunity to reconnect and to experience village life. 

 “Our kids love coming home to Australia – having a back garden and a beach across the road,” says the owner. “Our son rides his bike to his friends’ places and we feel very comfortable as the village is small and family oriented. I also like the way my two eldest walk down to the newsagents to buy their weekly $2 lolly bag. I’m not sure how many places there are in Australia where kids can still do that.”

The couple, who hail from Melbourne and Sydney, bought the house in 2015 to deepen their connection to this town of about 2500 people on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula. “We had dreamt of owning a place in ‘Lonnie’ since we were first married,” says the owner. “We even spent the first few nights of our honeymoon in the area, we love it so much.”

‘We had dreamt of owning a place in “Lonnie” since we were first married.’

The family had long rented a property here for their biannual holidays but that all changed when they spied this historical beachfront residence for sale. During the 19th century it was home to the captain of the pilot boats that were tasked with steering ships through the treacherous entrance to Port Phillip Bay. As such, it’s one of the few houses in Point Lonsdale with direct sea views. They snapped it up, deciding to make it available for rent when they weren’t in residence.  

The family’s extensive collection of indigenous and Australian artworks – fresh out of storage for the first time in years – set the palette for a revamp by interior designer Rebecca Jansma of Space Grace & Style.

functional layout that could withstand all the knocks from summer renters was the prime requirement for the kitchen.

functional layout that could withstand all the knocks from summer renters was the prime requirement for the kitchen.

With “casual, relaxed and practical yet sophisticated” the aim – and retro and coastal references a no-no – this revamp needed to take a more timeless approach. “As such, antiques were crucial,” says Rebecca, “They have the ability to instantly provide a settled-in look.” She worked from scratch, sourcing and acquiring significant pieces, then working them back with tribal artefacts, woven rugs and classic soft furnishings, always with one eye on practicality. “Rebecca really channelled the house’s maritime history in a unique way, reflecting a sense of seagoing adventure,” says the owner. “It helps make the place unique.”

The unchanged layout is straightforward: a central hallway with bedrooms and a living area on either side, and the rear area housing the kitchen, dining and a second living area, all enveloped by a wraparound verandah. The cherry on top is a gorgeous little widow’s keep, accessed by an internal ladder staircase, with views over the water. It’s a beautiful little eyrie, tailor-made for quiet time, with one eye on the rolling sea.

Space Grace & Style, Newtown, Victoria; www.spacegraceandstyle.com.au or 0419 105 121. This house is available for holiday rent at www.kerleys.com.au/3116965.