Home Renovations: How to Create an Upscale Hamptons Look for Less
You may not all be able to afford a beachfront property, but you can certainly live a beach-inspired life.
The lure of living by the sea is indisputable, but the reality of grabbing a property with even a glimpse of clear blue waters is out of reach for most – although creating a home reminiscent of a coastal paradise it certainly is not.
Beachfront interior styles vary widely, but Hamptons seem to be the eminent trend of the lot. Light, bright and whitewashed with a sophisticated yet seaside vibe, it’s the antithesis of the shabby chic Australian beach shack. Not that we all literally follow the American Hamptons trend. In fact, Australians have lovingly adapted this style, making it more accessible and affordable. Susanna Tolo, who manages the Instagram account @coastalhamptonstyle and eponymous fashion brand, says she loves the Hamptons style incredibly, but having just built and renovated her family home on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the opportunity to adapt that style profitably is huge.
“Now I would say my home is more coastal than strictly Hamptons. I started my (social media) site six years ago when this American design was starting to be huge in Australia, but I think we’re now leaning towards a combination of Hamptons with an Aussie coastal vibe,” she says. Susanna, with her husband Antonio and her children, Elena, 11, and Luka, six, have settled in a 700m² block on a hill with views of the mountains. Hamptons-style homes are usually built strategically in prime locations near the beach, but Susanna misses that detail. The new family home was also built by a Queensland show home builder, Brighton Homes, which in itself is a very contrary move to the Hamptons.
“I found a design that I loved and it was much more economical than going through an architect and an interior designer. We had to cut costs… you can have your dream home with a standard builder and make it your own,” she says. “We approached a number of custom architects and builders, and when we put it all together, it was going to cost us $150,000 more and more of our budget.”
Nor is it to say that Susanna went the basic route of show home builders. Besides sticking to the designated floor plan to keep costs down, Susan made changes to almost every other detail.
“For the exterior, I wanted something daring. All my neighbors have a white house and I wanted navy. I found a faceplate suggested by the builder that would work for rendering on the bottom half and VJ panels on top,” says Susanna.
“The VJ signs were very important to me and gave the exterior that coastal vibe. We live on the Sunshine Coast – you could almost say the VJ signs are part of the Queensland lifestyle – they have a real understated elegance to them.
The four-bedroom, two-story house has very high ceilings downstairs with standard 2.4m ceilings upstairs (“no one goes up there but us, so it was good to save some money). silver there”) with crisp white walls complementing the bright and fresh feel of the home. In a nod to classic Hamptons, Susanna incorporated a coffered ceiling into the living room and chose economy laminate flooring downstairs to make it “more coastal”. In the kitchen, Susanna opted for a bold backsplash to make the space unique and stay on budget by swapping high-end finishes for heavy-duty mid-market options.
“My advice to everyone would be to shop around. I originally wanted a $3,000 sink, then found an almost identical one for $800. There are so many decisions to make when building a home from scratch, but sticking to your vision and budget is paramount, she says. “My advice would be to create a moodboard so you don’t get overwhelmed with choices. Building a house is very different from renovating. If you want all the fancy faucets and things like stone countertops, look at the base price of the show house and add a minimum of $100,000. Otherwise, you need to think reasonably and be creative in your choices.