Studio Esteta Portsea House 04
Portsea Beach House
Portsea, Australia
A refurbishment that delicately references the dwelling's mid-century past and coastal context while succinctly articulating Studio Esteta's design objectives.
Studio Esteta
Sean Fennessy
Studio Esteta Portrait 1

Studio Esteta

Studio Esteta is a Melbourne based practice specialising in a range of sectors & sized projects. Founded by directors Sarah Cosentino and Felicity Slattery, Studio Esteta passionately believe in honesty, transparency & unpretentiousness as key components of their methodology. These attributes help to guide their vision & approach to materiality as they continually strive for outcomes of quality & substance, & layer ideas to tell stories through design.

Studio Esteta Portsea House 04

The Story Behind the Design

Located in an enviable position within arm’s reach of the Portsea Pier, the refurbishment of Portsea Beach House references the home’s coastal context and pays homage to it’s mid-century bones. “Our client’s brief sought to rejuvenate the double storey residence, whilst maintaining the existing building footprint”, explains Sarah Cosentino, director of Studio Esteta.As the orientation of the original dwelling already maximised the coastal aspect, the client engaged Studio Esteta to tailor the spatial arrangement to better accommodate their love for entertaining with minor modifications.

Studio Esteta Portsea House 01

“In response, our design seeks to be in synergy with the mid-century character that presented, emphasising its stylistic significance to create a light-filled, serene and relaxed interior that feels wholly connected to the adjacent Weeroona Bay”, Sarah explains.The client’s deep appreciation of the mid-century design aesthetic also called for original details to be preserved or used as reference points in the refurbishment. Items such as the unique wall hooks were repurposed and a light, tactile palette of natural materials was adopted. The neutral backdrop allowed space for the client’s extensive collection of art and ceramics and avoided distracting from the coastal views.

Studio Esteta Portsea House 03

“The tactile palette of the Portsea Beach House was informed by the coastal context to define a tangible connection to the site’s surroundings in a refined resolution that consciously seeks not to dominate or adopt ‘coastal clichés,” says Sarah.Together the use of bagged and rendered white walls, warm timbers and natural stone accents create a cohesive aesthetic that is unpretentious and remains relevant to the coastal environment.To avoid extensive spatial rearrangement and capitalise on the cliff top views, the kitchen, dining and living areas maintained their location on the first floor. However, the connection between the ground floor and the outdoor environment was enhanced to maximise the use of the coastal backyard.

The textural qualities of these materials are sensitively balanced with refined sophistication, evident in the clean lines and light-filled interior.

Sarah Cosentino

Studio Esteta Portsea House 06

Take A Closer Look

Here, the entire space was reimagined to create a versatile second living space that cultivates a seamless transition between the interior and the picturesque Weroona Bay landscape.“The introduction of the Endicott® Crazy Paving further accentuates this connection and defines an uninterrupted transition between environments whilst referencing the tactile quality of the site’s natural surroundings”, Sarah explains. A new staircase that pays tribute to the mid-century era became a prominent feature connecting the home’s two floors, and the addition of the bar and buffet joinery further defines the rejuvenated space and encourages social gathering.

Studio Esteta Portsea House 08
Studio Esteta Portsea House 07
This moment in the overall design delicately references the mid-century undertone of the home whilst the tactile and textural palette defines a tangible connection with the coastal surroundings.

Sarah Cosentino

Studio Esteta Portsea House 05

Signature Element

One of the strengths of the Portsea Beach House refurbishment was reimagining the existing ground floor to accommodate the growing extended family and cultivate a connection with the coastal landscape. The Endicott® paving and the bar and custom joinery lined in unique ‘Orazio Gold’ marble is a design gesture that succinctly articulates Studio Esteta’s objectives for the project, Sarah explains.

Studio Esteta Portsea House 02

With a strong commitment from the clients and designers, Portsea Beach House has become a sanctuary for a growing family that remains true to the character of its mid-century past without altering the building’s fabric.Through refined design gestures and a considered materials palette, the result is a refreshed interior that isn’t over-embellished. Instead, a neutral backdrop amplifies the natural light and allows space for the client’s cherished collection of art and modernist wares. By defining a tangible connection with the coastal surroundings and refining the footprint, the refurbishment has provided the family with the foundations for an unpretentious beach-side refuge.

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