Why Simplicity Was Key To Reviving This Cosy Cabin In Venus Bay

Having a coastal retreat of their own in Venus Bay is something that interior stylist Bek Sheppard and Jason Kennedy dreamed about for years.

Unlike some of the more populated stretches of Victoria’s coast, Venus Bay remains relatively untouched, where unruly bushlands meet beautiful beaches as far as Wilson’s Prom National Park.

‘A lot of Jason’s family live all across South Gippsland,’ Bek says. ‘So from the moment we met until now, we’ve spent almost every summer down there.’

But it wasn’t until 2020 that the couple finally found a 1970s cabin in the area. The home was in desperate need of some TLC and had lingered on the market for months — which meant they got the property at a ‘great price’ — opening the door for a full cosmetic renovation.

The hard part was working out what they were going to do with it, Bek says. ‘Initially, Jason’s vision and my own were very different,’ she adds. Jason imagined a rustic material palette, using reclaimed materials and the humble typography of the coastal location, while Bek had imagined something more refined, leaning into the Scandi-inspired aesthetic that she uses in her day-to-day job as a stylist.

With the help of Harriet Collins (of Wellard Architects) on the redesign, they met somewhere in the middle, deciding to draw on the timeless style of Japan and Danish architecture they’d seen on their travels, mixed with Australia’s modernist homes.

The common ground between all their references was simplicity. ‘We knew we wanted the interior to feel minimal, harmonious, and earthy,’ Bek adds.

Apart from the existing pine-lined bedroom walls and floors, almost everything in the house was replaced with a new palette of blackbutt timber, cast aluminium, green-tinted Laminex, and terrazzo stone in the bathrooms.

‘The kitchen feels very Danish to me, with all the surfaces finished in one material,’ Bek adds. ‘Meanwhile the colours of green, brown and paperbark were a more Australian touch. Especially working with a smaller space, people often say to paint it a light colour, but we did it different using those mid-to-dark tones to make it feel so cosy, and connected to the coastal bush.’

After spending every free weekend working on the renovation and in the garden, Bek, Jason and daughter Arwen have an extra appreciation for the calming atmosphere of the completed holiday home, dubbed Kabine.

‘There’s nothing but Australian natives around you when you step outside — and you can walk right down to the beach.’

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