A humble beach house gets a sensitive makeover designed to preserve its precious memories.
For interior designer Josh Reitano, renovating his family’s coastal cottage on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula was a balancing act that involved preserving the old-soul integrity of the 1950s home while undertaking a considered contemporary freshen-up. “My grandparents Giuseppe and Caterina loved the beach,” he says. “The home is nostalgic for my family and me. Although it’s undergone a makeover, it still showcases our memories.”
The home was passed down to Josh in 2014; shortly afterwards, he and his partner Adriana Vujovic – also an interior designer – commenced the renovation. The couple started from scratch by walking through the house, noting the repair work required and discussing their ideas for design and cosmetic changes. “The major difference between thisproject and others is that this was personal and had a lot of emotion attached,” says Josh. “Adriana and I made sure to communicate well and go over every detail to ensure we shared the same vision.”
A key space that held cherished memories for Josh was the dining area. “I remember when I was a child my grandparents loved entertaining here, and they always had guests over whenever we’d visit. Adriana and I wanted to keep the humble, communal and social feel of the dining room that I grew up with.” An oversized recycled timber and galvanised iron dining table by d-Bodhi paired with classic Thonet chairs was deemed the perfect centrepiece.
The couple couldn’t part with the original kitchen cabinetry, so they painted it white to brighten up the space and added handmade leather handles as an on-trend touch. To enhance the natural light that filters through the home, they painted every room except their bedroom a similarly crisp white.
“The beauty of this place is the light that streams in all year round,” says Josh. “Pre-renovation, the home had a dark interior, low light and dusty carpet. Once we got our hands on it, we pulled down the dark curtains to let the light in.”
The decision to paint the master bedroom a deep sea blue turned out to be a controversial one. “At one point, family, friends and tradies were all huddled in the bedroom bickering about our wall colour options!” says Josh. “But Adriana and I love Dulux Atlantic Mystique and felt confident about taking the risk – and now it’s all done, everyone agrees it works.”
After all the repair and cosmetic work was completed, Josh and Adriana couldn’t wait to get started on their favourite part of the process – decorating. Influenced by their travels, a lot of the photos they’ve put on display were taken on their overseas holidays. In fact, the Cliffs artwork in the living room was their inspiration for the design and styling of the entire home.
“If there was one image we’d say resembles us the most, it would have to be that,” says Josh. “It really guided us on the direction of our home’s aesthetic. The natural colour palette and the unrefined materials and textures of nature shown in the photo were at the forefront of our vision.”