Find Me A Beach House

What you need to know before moving for a sea change

Living by the sea may be the dream you've always wanted, but there's a few things you should know about coastal living before you make the sea change.

Beach living is soft, relaxing and carefree... if you know how to do it. For Simone Matthews, creator of SOUL Home and SOUL of Gerringong in NSW's South Coast, she learnt that as you live by the natural elements of the ocean, you also have to work with them.

A few years ago Simone and her husband were in Gerringong for a friend's wedding and stumbled upon a  beautiful plot of land that they could make their own. Now, it's home to their thriving accommodation business and new coastal lifestyle.

"We wanted to live by and see the ocean," Simone tells. "It's the place that makes us all feel calm, and it’s what we wanted our lifestyle to be built around."

However, Simone says that beach living isn't "all roses and ocean flowing" and that there are a few things sea changers will need to consider before making the move:

"When you move home or build a property, you need to make sure it's designed with the elements in mind, as you don’t want the salt to erode the materials," the business owner says. "A lot of coastal homes are weatherboard, so look for a product such as Scyon Linea that is built to withstand the coastal conditions.

"Also your exterior lights and hardware - they need to last. Stainless steel is your best friend here, so avoid any plated materials such as plated brass. When it comes to metal roofing, Colorbond has a specific product that caters for properties by the ocean: Colorbond Stainless Steel."

And in terms of interior materials and furnishings, Simone says natural all the way. "Natural materials are what you want to use for your furniture choice," she says."Timber is my favourite! Natural unfinished timber that will weather and age with the salt air, turning a gorgeous silver colour – it’s my favourite look. The more exposed the better.

"Be wary of any painted steel as this will erode very quickly.  Another thing to be aware of is that coastal conditions often come with the sea breeze, so furniture needs to be heavy enough that they don’t blow away; again sold timber or concrete."

Simone also says that it's worth being conscious of colour choices when living by the sea. "Draw inspiration from your natural surrounds, using materials like timber to stone, and to inspire your colour palette. The colourings needs to complement the landscape, so it’s why you’ll see lots of whites, natural tones and soft blues. When working with whites, Dulux Natural White is my go-to."

But when it comes down to the two essentials, Simone is straight to the point: Natural light and access for an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. As she says, "It's important to open up the home on a gorgeous day and then be able to batten down the hatches when that strong southerly hits."

Aside from the property preparation, Simone says that it's all worth it. "It's the best thing we have ever done," she says. "Our days are spent at the beach or with my boys fishing at the beach. There would not be a week that we do not step onto the sand."

Watch Find Me A Beach House, Wednesdays, 9.30pm on LifeStyle or On Demand

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