Now that the Seafarers Cottages renovation is almost at the finish line, I thought I'd share a little about the story behind the project, some before and after pics as well as some of the tricks of the trade.
History of the cottages:
These three cottages, built in the 1930s are the original "beach shacks" in what was a fishing camp that became a village on a remote peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, about 2.5 hours drive from Sydney. Very little had been done on their upkeep over the past 20-30 years and they were in a pretty shabby state.
Why did we buy the cottages?
Though they were identified as heritage items, they like many other gems in this part of the world, remain unprotected. We are quite passionate about preserving some of the beach shack heritage here and love the challenge of turning them into stylish beach getaways for people wanting a break from their busy city lives.
The village of Currarong is just about our favourite place. It remains a rare time capsule of beach village chic and is in a stunning, unspoilt area surrounded by nothing but rugged coastline, deserted beaches and national parks. So we went out on a limb to buy them so they wouldn't be demolished to make way for a quite probably ugly, unsympathetic juggernaut.
What did we do to update the cottages?
Almost nothing was done to the actual footprint of the cottages. Most of the work involved replacing bad improvements and upgrading the kitchens and bathrooms. There were cheap aluminium windows installed in the seventies which we replaced with reclaimed timber windows as close as possible to what would have been there originally.
One of the biggest changes was putting in a new picket fence to replace the old "hurricane" fence which was bent and twisted in parts. We put back lots of the architectural detail like architraves around the windows, fibro cover strips and picture rails.
We kept the old fireplace hearths. One now houses a TV, the other two now have kitchen cupboards in them. We turned the old shed that housed the generator into the laundry.
Reinstating and reinventing the period features gave the cottages back their soul and charm. It also makes a great backdrop in which to decorate!
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