Serene. Idyllic. Pristine. These are just some of the words used to describe Hyams Beach, one of the most famous seaside villages on the South Coast.
While this place was brought to the world’s attention via the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world, Hyams Beach remains a sleepy hamlet, with a diminutive population and a low-key appeal.
It’s the three eastern facing beaches – Chinaman, Seaman and the well-known Hyams – with gobsmacking views across Jervis Bay and Point Perpendicular to the Pacific Ocean which draw the seething summer crowds. It’s also the direct access to Jervis Bay, nearby national parks and increasingly cosmopolitan South Coast townships. But it’s what happens in the other, quieter seasons that homeowners in the area love best about this place.
As homeowner Shelley Morgan explains, “We love the seasons- We love the hustle and bustle of an old-fashioned beach summer holiday with family and friends and kids and lots of people around the village enjoying the holidays. Autumn and spring are probably our favourite times with warm days and cool nights. We love the stillness of winter, the quietness of the beach, roasts and red wine by the fire at night. The best kept secret of Hyams Beach is what is on offer outside of the summer season.”
Rewind a few years and Shelley and her partner Stephen were on the hunt for a place to build their dream holiday home. They started looking in Orange, a long way from Hyams Beach. But after a few visits out west, they realised the ocean was the missing ingredient. They narrowed the search, drove south and left the rest to fate.
The block they purchased featured a two-bedroom cottage. They spent a year toing and froing from Sydney to get a feel for the place before they engaged an architect to build an entirely new home from scratch. This couple wanted energy efficiency, sustainability and low toxicity materials and architect Ian Sercombe fit the bill to a tee.
Says Shelley, “Ian has a really relaxed manner, which allows for quite a collaborative approach. We went through a number of designs with him before reaching the final architectural design. He also has great skill with and passion for rammed earth so that was a real bonus for us.”
Additionally, Shelley, who is currently studying landscape design, completed most of the project’s interior finishes, furniture and landscape design.
As Shelley explains, “The house is quite contemporary. The furnishings are a modern take on the Cape Cod style. The focus was on lots of muted materials – pewter taps, Italian aged industrial iron pendant lights, rammed earth, stone and lined timber walls. We designed the kitchen island and all the vanities and these were made from New Guinea Rosewood which we selected after seeing a house gate made from the same timber in Sydney. There is also a focus on recycled wood and other natural materials.”
The kitchen, living and dining rooms located in the core of this two-storey home also feature bi-fold doors that fully retract, creating instant indoor/outdoor appeal. Downstairs this theme continues with the children’s bedroom opening onto a playroom and outside deck.
It’s an idea that didn’t happen by accident. The style of the interior is carried through to the exterior everywhere you look. Stone used around the fireplace is also used in a garden wall. The muted palette of soft blue grey and dark green inside is also evidenced in the hedges and native grasses in the exterior landscape. Recycling also played a big role in the project.
Says Shelley, “When we bought the cottage, we bought it with all the furnishings so when we came to knock the house down we had a huge garage sale and sold the lot. So it was a big task to furnish a house from scratch. It was really hard to find exactly what I wanted so in the end I designed the bed frames and bed heads, a large provincial-style dining table, the rustic coffee table and the entertaining units which Stephen constructed. I think it has given the house a real warmth and character that it hard to get when everything is brand new.”
Now there is no keeping her family and friends away from this much-loved holiday house.
Says Shelley, “When our friends arrive for a weekend away, getting them to the beach can sometimes be a bit hard despite how amazing Hyams Beach can be. We often sit around the large dining table for several hours in the mornings reading papers, drinking coffee – it is very relaxing and can take quite a bit of motivation to get moving!”
Sounds like absolute heaven.