The Loft

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History Lesson

A century-old beach shack incorporated into a modern coastal


Perched high on a corner block on the ocean-side of Swanbourne sits a humble 1920s character cottage. You just can’t see it.

A century after it was built, the beach bungalow has found a new life, nestled inside a stunning modern, minimalist extension.

Picture: Dion Robeson

A sea change to one of Perth’s most coveted ocean-side suburbs is the stuff of real estate dreams.

Swanbourne is dotted with bold, courageous architecture and this dramatic extension by Bacic Group has transformed one of the suburb’s original old homes into a private coastal resort.

The owners purchased the home with the view to knocking it down but slowly grew to appreciate its history and character. They opted instead for a dramatic juxtaposition of old beach shack and new construction. The result is nothing short of inspiring.

“It had all the usual quirks of a 1920s home like an outdoor toilet and a very sad kitchen,” owner Abi Boyle says. “The colour scheme was dark and the home was filthy but we could see the potential in the solid jarrah floors, the high ceilings, original fireplaces and beautifully proportioned rooms.”

The modern extension was designed to wrap around the bungalow on three sides. Building forward on the block maximised stunning views of the peppermint trees and beyond to the Cottesloe pines.

Picture: Dion Robeson

“I can’t possibly pick a favourite design feature but I think the way Bacic Group tied together the old and the new so seamlessly is sublime,” she says. While the existing house has retained its ornate detailing, the extension is decidedly modern and bold.

“I love the lightly polished, brutalist grey concrete flooring against the finer finishes like the timber panelling and cabinetry,” Abi says. “The Bacic team also gave us the courage to make some bolder design decisions like the extensive use of matte black cabinetry in the kitchen.”

The owners also opted for modern building materials in favour of traditional brick construction. Most of the extension, including the undercroft garage and even the swimming pool, was built using Bacic Group’s bWall insulated concrete walling system. The house is now home to Abi, her husband Evan, their two adult daughters and two lively Irish setters.

Picture: Dion Robeson

Picture: Dion Robeson

Picture: Dion Robeson

The extension serves as the main living quarters for the family as well as the main suite. The renovated cottage is now a self-contained three-bedroom wing for the daughters who each enjoy their own ensuite plus a second kitchen and living space.

Both wings enjoy direct access to an elevated swimming pool and entertaining deck.

“Our home had to cater for four adults so good flow and the ability to separate the two wings of the home was vital,” Abi says.

“Bacic Group responded to the brief amazingly well. There are separate living areas which makes it easy and comfortable to entertain on opposite sides of the house.”

The colour palette was inspired by the coastal environment with timeless colours, textures and materials.