Mid century in 2020: transforming a surf shack into retro chic

By | August 20, 2020
Aussie home-renovation TV presenter Shelley Craft takes on her own renovation to transform a unique coastal pad, affectionately nicknamed The Little Blue House.

Aussie home-renovation TV presenter Shelley Craft takes on her own renovation to transform a unique coastal pad, affectionately nicknamed The Little Blue House.

With a romantic idea to transform shack into chic, Aussie home-renovation TV presenter Shelley Craft took on her own an ambitious reno project to breathe new life into an old Byron beach house.

In just nine weeks, Shelley and husband, Christian Sergiacomi, delivered the ultimate renovation on a budget when they completely transformed a dated 1950s fibro surf shack into a stylish Byron beach abode.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Little Blue House’, the renovation held true to some of the original elements of the old Pacifico Cottage, while stripping others.

When discussing her direction for the new design, Shelley said while she was a huge fan of the ‘retro’ vibe, there was a level of comfort and modern living to be considered when renovating.

The choice of colour and styling throughout was her nod to mid century in 2020.

“Colour played a major role in the design of the home, while natural accents helped bring the vision to life,” Shelley said.

“The home was a striking blue colour when we bought it and we wanted to have some fun this time around, so we’ve chosen to stick with that colour palette but opt for a more subdued blue,” Shelley said.

The beachside chic colour scheme continued internally, with a pastel colour palette in the bedroom, kitchen, dining area, and special breakout quiet zones.

Taking into account the age of the property and its fibro sheeting finish, Shelley said they were determined to keep the cottage looking as original as possible.

“So we chose to reclad the exterior frame in Cemintel and add the battens to recreate the 1950’s style,” Shelley explained.

“We had a really limited budget and I was incredibly surprised at the cost effectiveness of the Cemintel cladding. So much so, that we could afford to do the exterior of the adjacent garage as well, all within budget.

“Removing old fibro can certainly scare people off a renovation project, but knowing that you can reclad your home with a superior product within a tight budget is amazing.”

Using the right type of building materials internally can also drastically impact the livability of a home, and the plasterboard is no exception.

“Until you start to look into renovating, I’m sure most people believe all plasterboards are the same – I can tell you they are not,” Shelley said.

“When you build or renovate you have to think about the long term wearability, liveability and longevity of your hard work.”

“One of the key challenges for Pacifico Cottage was due to it being a small home, with one open plan living area and shared common walls for all bedrooms, we needed to ensure that sound travelling and unwanted noise was reduced as much as possible.

Shelley used a product called Superchek plasterboard.

“Its sound dampening, acoustic qualities has created a cocoon like feel to the whole home, you cannot hear a peep through the walls!” she said.

“The density of the sheeting really gives an extra sense of strength to the build and a very solid feel to the property, handling bumps and dings much better than the standard.

The choice of colour and styling throughout was a nod to mid century in 2020.

The choice of colour and styling throughout was a nod to mid century in 2020.

“From Superceil for our ceilings to Superchek for the walls and Aquachek in the wet areas, Gyprock had our project covered. And it’s Australian-made,” Shelley said.

Throughout the house there is a wonderful brightness, which carries from the bedrooms out to the living areas. Clean, white walls and touches of timber throughout bring a warmth to the home that stays true to the overall Byron aesthetic.

“This 70-year-old home that once had a very tired look to it, has had a total refresh whilst maintaining the character and charm of the original,” Shelley said.

“We love this little home and know that we have created a very special place that will stand the test of time.”

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