Today we visit the light-filled Suffolk Park home of local creative Kelly Warren (personal - @warren_tribe, work - @one_lazy_sunday). After a year travelling around Australia with her husband Glenn and four children, they were ready to settle in the Byron shire and were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when they bought their forever home in 2021. Since then, they have undertaken some cosmetic renovations to make the house feel more like their home. We chat to Kelly about making the most of what you’ve got, trusting your intuition during renovations and the importance of enjoying the process.
SHOP THE LOOK
Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home by Natalie Walton | Linen round pendant in ivory - Large | Salt & pepper mill in beechwood | Handwoven cotton cushion in natural & charcoal | Hemp linen dining chair | Ceramic high edge plate | Handwoven cotton hand towel in natural & clay | Classic french table glasses | Tonga basket medium #13
A place where you live with no judgement
A place where you love
A place you feel safe
A place you create memories
A place you enjoy spending time
A place that makes everyone feel welcome
A place that tells a story about who lives there
A home is a place that no matter how long you’re away, when you return, it feels the same. Warm, safe, full of love and memories.
My home story...
We bought our house late in 2021 and moved in after a whirlwind renovation. A heart warming story goes with it, about the house choosing us and the beauty of people honouring their word.
Our house is a timber, three storey house, built in the 90’s. It feels like a tree house and looks like a beach house. Every morning we wake to the rising sun streaming in through the windows and the sound of the ocean in the distance.
The renovations we undertook (on a very small budget) after work and on weekends are:
- We painted all the exterior and interior
- We built a new kitchen, laundry (there was no laundry cupboards/bench or anything before) and replaced the bathroom vanities because there was water damage.
- We laid seagrass flooring downstairs to cover tiles
- Replaced some light fittings and tapware
- Replaced the ground floor deck, sanded the first floor deck and built a new deck on the top floor as the existing one was hanging off the house, literally.
- We clad the verandah with cement sheet to hide the lattice
- We also built a few tiled bench tops for outdoor dining (as our dining room is very small and we love to have friends over), an outdoor pantry (there is no storage) and installed eucalyptus sticks in our outdoor area.
Most of the renovations were done to get the house to a level that made it easy to live in but not excessive in any way. Having made the changes reflects our style more so than the original house, which in turn makes it more pleasant to live in.
We would love to renovate a bit more down the track (bathrooms, storage and maybe some shutters on the outdoor spaces), and build a small studio on the block, but for the time being, we’re enjoying having a bit of the slow life back again and the bathrooms work, they’re just not necessarily in keeping with the style we love, but we’re okay with that.
What inspired the design of your home?
We wanted to keep the existing footprint of the home and work with what we had. No extensions, just making what there was a little bit more in keeping with our style and values. Some inspiration came from magazine cutouts from about 15-20 years ago. The dark exterior and the all white interior that is quite often in keeping with old beach houses.
Shortly after buying the house, I was drawn to a particular green colour (when I spotted an image of French vintage deck chairs at a local store). We found some Italian tiles that were on sale from a local tile supplier, that happened to be that same green colour and they had just the right quantity for the spaces we needed. A pink concrete sink for the downstairs bathroom also inspired the pink tiled benchtops as we were loving the green and pink together. All our ideas came organically from what was available at the time, what we could do on a budget and it was all in keeping with our style and what we wanted to achieve.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learnt while creating your home?
Everything takes time.
How important it is to enjoy the process, embrace and be grateful for the journey….always.
What do you love about your home?
We love the morning light, the natural vegetation, the outlook over the treetops, the privacy, the location, the layout and character of the home, the high ceilings.
The fact that it’s the home the children will come home to visit after they move out of home. We feel like it’s our forever home. It’s everything we want and need in a house.
What do you enjoy about living in Suffolk Park, NSW?
The proximity to our favourite beaches, skatepark, tennis courts and shops. The bike culture.
The children having more independence. The community of people who live here.
Being just a bike ride into Byron and being able to tap in and out of the pulse there.
What does simple living mean to you?
Simple living is…
Embracing a slower pace, going with the flow, not over-scheduling.
Having a balance of all things in life. Not having or doing anything in excess.
Being grateful, appreciating the little things and the big things, having perspective.
Having time in nature, time to reflect.
Focusing on the important things in life - family/friends and our health.
If you were to have a spare free morning, how would you spend it?
What are three words that best describe you?
Optimistic, outgoing & compassionate.
What book can you recommend?
Ahhhh so many books. I tend to read books that help me understand people on a deeper level or help improve my family’s health. I’m currently reading Breath by James Nestor.
My 3 of your favourite products from Imprint House...
This was tricky. I couldn’t narrow it down to three…and the list could have been longer than this. I narrowed it down to eight favourite products — hemp linen dining chair, linen oval pendant in ivory, tonga baskets, ALL the ceramics and glassware, white oak round serving board, beech salt and pepper mills, hand loomed throw, bolga hat.
Photography by Lynden Foss