July 24, 2018

Along the coast of Northern NSW lies Cabarita beach, where it's all about the laid back lifestyle, farmers markets, local eateries, shops and secluded beaches. 
Nestled amoungst all of this goodness is a real gem which is available to anyone who's seeking relaxation, a little slice of beachside luxury, contemporary home comforts and a dreamy getaway.                             
Nick and Sophie have transformed this 1960's beach house into an amazing home. I won't say too much as all the details are in the feature below, where Sophie takes some time out to talk to us all things
Grounds of Cabarita.
Was it always the plan to renovate Grounds of Cabarita for Airbnb accommodation? 
If so did you take a different approach knowing it was going to be
No, it wasn’t actually, originally when we bought the house we also had a property in Federal (about 15-20 minutes inland of Byron Bay), which we were planning on building a house on.                                                                             
The aim was to live in our house in Cabarita, renovate it while we built in Federal and then move to Federal once that was finished and then put a long term tenant in Cabarita once it had been done up.                                                          
We absolutely fell in love with the house and the area as soon as we moved in, so we made the decision to sell the block in Federal before we even started building.                                                                                                                    
We started jokingly hash tagging #groundsofcabarita in our posts of the house on our personal Instagram pages and the house gained interest and we got lots of enquiries about renting out the house.                                                                 
So we saw a great opportunity to make some extra money and go on some weekend trips away by putting the house on Airbnb. From there it really took off!   
You describe your Grounds of Cabarita property as barefoot luxury, describe to readers what this means?           
We know that barefoot luxury sounds a bit wanky but thats honestly what we want our guests to feel when they stay.
We want them to feel like they are somewhere really special, that has some luxurious touches but we want them to feel equally at home and feel like they can let their down, have fun and most importantly relax. 
We want them to feel like they can come back here from the beach, with sandy feet and salty hair comfortably.     
What is your favourite space for Grounds of Cabarita and why?                   
Oh thats a tough one! Aesthetically I think the main bathroom is a real design win.                                                                                                                                           
But my favourite area to enjoy would be the outdoor living area. When the kitchen bi-fold doors are open and my husband is in his happy place creating magic in the kitchen or at the pizza oven.                                                                       
When we have friends around the massive outdoor table on a balmy evening, thats when the house truly comes into its own. That might be rivalled by the pool area when that is finished though, watch this space!     
What was the vision / plan for the landscaping for Grounds of Cabarita?     
To be honest the house had a really beautiful, well established tropical garden when we moved in. I think that helps create a feeling of being on vacation while also allowing a lot of privacy.                                                                                    
We put in the 4 large vege patches, they have just been moved to make way for a pool in the backyard but we will still have vege patches once the redesign is complete!                                                                                                                  
You are now renovating Pandanus Place, which is going to be your family home - what is your vision for this home and how is it different to G.O.C?   
Yeah I am really looking forward to getting the build underway and to start buying furniture etc.                                                                                                  
Nick’s really excited cause he can design a kitchen from scratch for him (rather than when he designed the kitchen for Grounds of Cabarita we thought we would put a tenant in).                                                                                              
The style for that house is a bit missmatch, its going to be scandi materials (a lot of ply and concrete), with retro shapes (I want lots of curves, round mirrors etc.) but with a coastal vibe (lots of white, linen, some rattan).                                       
I don’t know if that makes any sense but it does in my mind / on my Pinterest board hah. I don’t like when a space feels too specifically styled.                     
There obviously has to be cohesion throughout the house / rooms but I like when there is some versatility and variability otherwise it can be a bit boring and not very functional.                                                                                                       
How would you describe your style when it comes to property?
I don’t think we really have a style as such. After doing two renovations I don't think that I have any desire to buy a property and pay for the renovation that someone else has done. 
I also think that I prefer a project where you can keep the shell and charm of an old house and add modern luxuries rather than building from scratch.                                                                                                                                                    
After this we will have done two coastal renovations so maybe we will look for more of a hinterland/farm like property, but I don’t think that will be for a while ha!                                                                                                                             
Where did you get your ideas / inspiration from for your renovations?         
I don’t think you can go past Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration! There is just endless content on both platforms. I find it difficult because I love so many different types of styles but obviously just have to tailor it to the house and the environment/area.                                                                                                     
When we travel we like to stay in Airbnbs rather than in hotels and I always from this inspiring because you get a feel for how other peoples homes function well while being beautiful. 
The biggest challenge you and Nick have faced on this adventure?             
One of the biggest challenges I think was our decision to make Pandanus Place our family home. Originally we bought the property with the intention to split the house into two self contained areas (one upstairs and one downstairs) and convert the garage into a studio.                                                                                                         
The plan was to rent each area out separately on Airbnb. It became very clear after a meeting with a town planner, however, that this was going to be extremely expensive. We were going to have to spend a small fortune on “contributions” to the council for stretching infrastructure, we were going to need at least four, maybe six car parks with a turning circle on the block, the list went on and on.                                                                                                        
We soon realised that the financial outlay was not going to be worth the final result, we may as well have been doing an entire development on the block. That is when we made the decision to move to this house and rent Grounds of Cabarita out fulltime instead.                                                                                    
At the time this was really disappointing, but once we started planning the renovation for our family home we became so excited and now I think it has actually been a positive!!                                                                                          
What would be your #1 tip for people embarking on a new build or renovating?     
Can I say two?!                                                                                                                    
1) Get a builder you can trust and who understands your style/vision. 
2) Its always going to cost more than you think! haha                                                                                                                                                                                    
Who are your top 5 Instagram accounts you like to stalk?!
Oh I have so many! But for interior inspo….
- The Surfrider Malibu (well their tagged photos, they don’t post much) 
- Almost Makes Perfect (her backyard is amazing, and her cute kid is an added bonus) 
- Masseria Moroseta (building, interior, cactus garden perfection. Will stay there one day!) 
- Captains Rest (incredible airbnb in Strahan, Tasmania. We just stayed there and although the style of the place is so different to ours I just love it!) 
- Church Farm General Store (I love the way that they have converted a church into their family home) 
- Oh 1 more!! 70s House Reno (one of the owners of Olliella, its her houses insta page and it has a very similar vibe to what I want for Pandanus Place)           
In the weekends we will find you …                                                                   
If we’re at home a great weekend will involve: 
- Going out for breakfast as a family (usually at Tucker in Casuarina, my husband’s one of the owners)
- Going to the beach if the weather is good
- Maybe a walk thrown in there
- Go to Farm and Co in Cudgen to get fruit and veg
- Will often have friends round for dinner
- A really good weekend, will involve a spa session at Halcyon House’s spa   
Your favourite winter destination?
Well this Winter we have been to South Island NZ and to Tasmania and they were both fantastic!                                                                                                  
Its funny since living in QLD/Northern NSW (its been about 7 years now) I appreciate Winter holidays so much more, whereas when I lived in Melbourne, it was all about escaping to the sunshine!                                                                   
Over New Years this year we are going to head to Japan, where it will be Winter, and I have a feeling that is going to be pretty incredible!                                         
Staying put around Northern NSW, is also so magical during the Winter time!                                                                                                                                        
Be sure to check out both homes on Instagram for interior inspo & updates on their new adventure ⚡
and if you are ever thinking about booking a holiday to Australia Grounds of Cabarita would be sure to tick all the right boxes

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