Originally built in the eighties, this two storey Gerringong home was purchased by Sydney interior designer Aimee McKechnie, and her builder husband Blair, before it was given an extraordinary makeover recently. Designed to function as a holiday home for the couple (and their two children), and a beautiful retreat that could be rented out to guests, the home’s understated luxury is lightyears away from the home’s original dated and dilapidated aesthetic.
Affectionately referred to as the ‘80s tiled beast,’ the home was in a state of significant disrepair when Aimee and Blair accepted the renovation challenge. “The home had received a few add-ons over the years but had no love or maintenance which is critical when you’re situated so close to the ocean,” says Aimee.
None of the sliding doors closed, due to corrosion from the salty air, and the balcony was comprised of rotten timber, rendering it completely unsafe.
With a renovation timeline of six months, and a budget of $700k, Aimee worked to a specific brief (warm minimal with a Mediterranean vibe), and sourced lots of local furniture and art with that in mind.
“In all of my projects I’m quite passionate about showcasing Australian artists and craftspeople. In this house, I combined these pieces with wall hangings and ceramics from Morocco as well as a selection of beautiful tiles throughout to add interest and warmth,” she says.
Key to the design brief was the use of natural materials. From engineered oak floorboards to travertine tiles as well as soft furnishings made from linen and leather, the spaces have a textural, comfortable feel. “We then added in a bit of brass and a few unique vintage items to elevate the look,” says Aimee.
With its vaulted ceiling and northern ocean and mountain views, the upstairs living area is the undisputed centrepiece of the home. The kitchen was reorientated to face the living space and views, while the ceiling and upstairs balcony were lined with shiplap boards which completely transformed the space.
“The renovation really focussed on this area as the social hub of the home and the whole area became one large cocoon. You can cook while friends sit at the bench, banquette or nearby fireplace. It’s such a fantastic entertaining space now,” says Aimee.
As for holiday bookings, the property has been fully booked out for almost six months in advance since launching. “It’s been a COVID success story given people are so limited in their travel options at the moment. We’ve hosted so many wonderful guests that have celebrated everything from weddings to 80th birthdays. I love the variety of guests we have and the feedback from those that have stayed has been so positive.”
Photography: The Palm Co