SUMMER 23/24

COAST LIVING: Mediterranean by the beach
It was a longing to be closer to the beach that had Jade Pentony scouring the coastline. Jade and her family loved North Avoca, a beachside suburb tucked away between Terrigal and Avoca, but wanted to be down on the flat closer to the water. 


It was a mix of perfect timing and serendipity that delivered the Pentony’s dream location in the tight-knit seaside suburb. 

While Jade, founder of Glow Beauty and Crème Skincare, had found the ideal site, the large red, ’60s double brick house on it was less than ideal. The family of four moved in and began saving for an exhaustive renovation which would see the old house transformed into a striking Mediterranean-style coastal home. 

Only two walls of the original house were kept. ‘It’s essentially a new build. We wanted a design that was appropriate for the location being so close to the beach,’ Jade explains.

Fabric Architecture was engaged for the design, local builder Tom White carried out the 14-month build while interiors are by Xanthe Highfield also of Fabric Architecture. Kara Demmrich (of Kyal and Kara, The Block fame) took charge of the jaw-dropping spiral stairs and room finishes. 

Custom designed banquette seat with playful check upholstery fabric by Australian designer Oat Studio.

‘We wanted a resort-style feel with a minimal aesthetic; something beautiful and simple where the kids could walk in with sand on their feet and not have to worry.’

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home includes a gyprock and pebblecrete internal courtyard with alfresco shower allowing you to wash away salt and sand straight from the beach. There’s also a large undercover alfresco space overlooking a small pool. ‘We didn’t want something too big that would take up all the yard,’ Jade says. 

A seamless transition with concrete surrounding the pool that also leads to the outdoor entertaining area.

An entire side wall was demolished allowing light to flood the two-storey home while the piece de resistance – the spiral staircase – sits beneath a circular skylight that connects the downstairs living area to the upstairs space. The staircase was inspired by Karl and Kara who did a similar one in their last build. 

A decision was also made to combine two bedrooms into a home office with the option to convert the house to five bedrooms if needed – a home for now rather than something designed for a hypothetical situation down the track. 

A feature in the boys’ bedroom is the ocean wallpaper by local designer, Olive et Oriel. 

It was Xanthe who took the lead from start to finish, making everything from paint choices to sketching drawings for suppliers and tradespeople to follow. ‘I simply couldn’t have done it without her.’ 

Meanwhile, Loughlin Furniture, renowned for their custom timber pieces, handcrafted the kitchen, bar and bathroom timber as well as the statement front door. 

For Jade, the hardest part of the process was moving out of the home with their two small boys and chocolate labrador during the build and managing the daily complex decisions required. 

For builder Tom White, the spiral staircase was the most challenging, as was achieving a consistent textured render to give the house its Mediterranean style. He said material choices also needed to be extremely hardy being so close to the beach. 

‘Doing a large-scale renovation is a lot harder than a knock down rebuild and doesn’t necessarily end up cheaper. But the benefit is you can reuse structural elements and reuse and recycle materials,’ Tom says. 

And the most enjoyable part? ‘Choosing the tiles, wallpaper and finishes with Xanthe and Kara,’ Jade says. 

‘Xanthe made all the big design choices while Kara did the final styling touches.’ 

Ensconced in their coastal home for over 12 months now, Jade said she couldn’t be happier. ‘We most definitely achieved our Mediterranean-style dream home. And we’re doubly lucky that our home is just footsteps from the beach.’ 



More articles


‘Just a word of warning: this is highly addictive. Once you start weaving, you won’t want to stop,’ warns Lee Cavender while handing out tangly Bangalow Palm inflorescence to get us hooked at a workshop at Bells at Killcare. 

Read More »