A beach house should inspire you to kick off your shoes the instant you step inside. And this is precisely what the family who own this laidback holiday home, near Forster on the New South Wales North Coast, does every time they open the front door. "Everything opens up so you almost feel like you are on a verandah," the owner says of the open-plan indoor-outdoor layout. "You can instantly leave the city behind and relax."

When the new home-away-from-home was planned more than two years ago, they had in mind a retreat that would offer a counterpoint to their dark-timbered Federation-style house in Sydney.

Their new beach house does just that. Open, light and airy, it has five bedrooms and four bathrooms, to accommodate the owners’ four children and large extended family. It’s low maintenance and designed to be a place where relaxation is paramount. "We wanted to be able to have people sitting on a sofa with a wet swimming costume and not get too worried about it," the owner says. "It’s to be lived in and enjoyed."

An existing dwelling was demolished and in its place the team of architects and interior designers fashioned a two-storey, timber clad (both outside and in), Cape Cod-style weekender that embraces the ocean view and sea breezes.

The kitchen and living spaces are downstairs with the sleeping quarters upstairs. Each of the bedrooms has its own balcony and all, except the bunkroom, enjoy a water view. The vast open-plan living space downstairs, which opens onto the front terrace, appears to radiate out from the kitchen’s focal point – a concrete-topped industrial-style island bench.

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The interior designers selected the furniture, accessories and fabric as well. And although everything is new, it doesn’t feel like a showroom thanks to their careful curating of custom-made and pre-loved furniture and an abundance of comfy cushions.

And the effect it has is to have you hasten, bare-foot, inside to enjoy the beach.

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