The Ocean Thunder Series is an annual professional surfboat racing series of events held at Dee Why Beach, Sydney, attracting the best surf rowers in the world.

Surfboat rowing may not the best-known water sport in Australia but it is certainly one of the most spectacular.

Teams of five athletes (4 rowers and one sweep) race off the beach, through the elements of the surf break in a short course designed outside the boundaries of traditional surf life-saving events and return back to shore for a beach run finish.

Ocean Thunder Series event 1 picc

This is one thrilling sport to watch and requires incredible strength, courage and finely honed skills.

These surfboats are the original rescue craft used by surf clubs around the country and racing events can be dated back to the early 1900’s in NSW. Since their replacement with the modern inflatables, surfboat rowing and racing has evolved as a serious sport, keeping the tradition alive and the sport thriving with intense regional, state and national competitions.

Elite teams train together intensively several times a week and supplement this with intense strength and endurance training.

The Ocean Thunder Surfboat Series started just over a decade ago and is a prestigious, professional surfboat event, restricted to only the most elite surf boat crews.

Ocean Thunder Series event 1 picb

This year at Sydney Beach Homes we are delighted to be supporting our friends and colleagues at the South Curl Curl SLSC by sponsoring a surf boat in the Ocean Thunder event series.  This is an extreme and thrilling sport to watch –and even more so to participate in.

We are excited to share some highlights with you from the first event and will keep you updated with our progress through the series – check in regularly with our Facebook page for posts and updates.

The Sydney Beach Homes surfboat crew did an amazing job on Saturday 11th November in the first event, conquering 4ft surf, to get through to the quarter-finals – well done guys!

We were there to cheer them on and thrilled to see this exceptional team in action. Huge thanks to our elite team of athletes, Rob Lowery, Chis Hughes, Trent Rogers, Jordan Thurlow and Mike Egan –  we can’t wait for the next one.

This unique and iconic Aussie sport is incredible to watch, so if you have never experienced the spectacle, we’d love to see you at Dee Why on 9th December to catch the next event.

Ocean Thunder Series event 1 pica






When is a beach home not a beach home?

Well, arguably, when it’s a shimmering monument to the ultimate in sleek  modern minimalism.

Of course, a property like this may will be a beach home in every literal sense if it is in fact a home and it’s located by the beach.

It’s interesting, that the phrase ‘beach home’ generally conjures up in our mind’s eye, everything from shabby beach-chic to Hamptons style classicism, but the trend in pristine, modernist structures has probably now overtaken the quintessential beach home style.

So how do you go about creating your minimalist haven by the sea?

The first challenge is wear and tear, from the less than forgiving coastal elements. We expect to see some worn decking and even a little distressed weatherboard paint on a classic beach house – or at least we accept it as part of the beach-life charm. Sand in the home can be tolerated, surfboards adorning the veranda is all part of the picture.

But none of this sits well in a high-gloss environment, brimming with expensive finishes.

Your builder will be able to advise you of new developments in exterior building materials that are built to withstand the harsh elements of our coastline, while maintaining desired aesthetics.

contemporary home style Sydney Beach Homes

Bringing the outside in, while keeping it out.

There’s a conundrum! When building a beach home like this, we need to pay particular attention to doors and windows, seeking out specialist materials and highly effective seals and closures.

A trademark feature of the contemporary home, especially when you have expansive ocean views is the acres of glass frontage that reveal the coastline in all its incredible beauty and bring it directly into your home.

For these situations, self-cleaning glass is a must, combined with smart glass systems, which allow you to control the amount of heat and light that comes into your home throughout the day. Read more about this in our blog on green technologies.

If you’re living by the ocean you won’t want to keep your home hermetically sealed to avoid sand getting into your living spaces, so work with your builder and architect to take prevailing winds into account when planning your major openings and external space.

Contemporary homes also tend to feature sleek, and often shiny, premium finishes, like polished marble, metals and gloss carpentry  – none of which respond well to the abrasive effect of sand and salt in the air. Happily there are many new and exciting finished to consider that look every bit as impressive, but will maintain their looks for much longer. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate any polished finishes altogether, but use them strategically, knowing they will need more care and attention to keep looking pristine.


You can never have enough storage

Never underestimate the amount of storage a contemporary home requires to maintain a minimalist image. Your builder and designer can help you plan heaps of concealed storage into every room to keep the clutter at bay and create that feeling of serenity a clean and clear environment brings.

If your contemporary home is by the beach, you will need to increase that storage requirement considerably and pay particular attention to the position of your storage.

External storage by every entrance is a must to encourage everyone to shed sandy shoes, towels and all manner of beach paraphanaila before they enter the house. Wet rooms at the entrances, or outdoor shower rooms are also great for making sure that only people free of salt and sand enter the house. In winter, these storage areas double up nicely as boot rooms / cloakrooms.

contemporary interior style Sydney Beach Homes


Whether your beach home is classic or contemporary in styling, the same basic décor principles apply.

Using a single colour palette throughout the home will make it feel bigger, more open and expansive, and allows rooms and spaces to flow naturally into one another. That doesn’t mean every room will look the same. If you create a palette of 6 to 8 shades, you can turn the dials up and down on different shades to suit the purpose of each room without compromising the flow of your colour scheme.

You can also bring in additional highlights of colour seasonally, with accessories to freshen your look from time to time.

Clever use of texture is also a great way of adding dimension to your home and there are some amazing three-dimensional finishes available now in tiling, wallpaper and decorative panelling.

Taking inspiration for your colours from the environment around your home works brilliantly for beach homes and really helps create synergy between your property and its location. Take photographs of your surroundings at different times of the day and use colour charts to create your palette by matching to the tones of your photos. For softer palettes use shots taken in the early morning or evening, go for mid morning for something more dazzling, or use the landscape in winter for a more muted scheme. If darker, more moody palettes are your thing, sunset shots will help you produce some amazing colour combinations.

Light and bright generally works brilliantly in beach homes, but it’s always to good to have some darker tones in there too, to use sparingly throughout, or more boldly in areas where you want to create a cosy, more intimate feel.



Your outdoor spaces and landscaping should reflect the minimalist feeling of your interior.  Gardens will need to maintain a manicured look, so be careful with planting and seek advice from your landscape gardener. An unruly mass of tumbling and abundant blooms may look amazing in a cottage garden, but will look incongruous with the sleek modernity of your building.

Again, explore available materials with your builder and landscape gardener, to create a scheme that is both beautiful and manageable.

So in conclusion, can a contemporary home ever be a true beach home? Absolutely!

Talk to us about your vision for your modern masterpiece. 



So great to get some more amazing photos of our work on this Woolahra project from our friends at Lime Photography.

This incredibly spacious apartment needed a full refurbishment, including significant remedial work, requiring some major demolition of internal walls and installation of structural steel to create airy, open-plan spaces.

At a generous 900 square metres, this spectacular apartment is the size of a large house, with three living spaces, dining room, kitchen and kitchenette, laundry, 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, and a double garage. It’s all very impressive, but the star of the show in this property has to be its vast roof-top entertaining deck with stunning panoramic views over Woolahra and Double Bay.

Woolahra renovation by custom builders, Sydney Beach Homes


Working on an apartment of this scale is always going to impact upon neighbours, especially those immediately below. We always aim to minimise noise and work with neighbours like this as much as possible to avoid too much inconvenience for them. In fact, in this case, we were invited to carry out some building work to the apartment below as well. Of course we’d like to think that was entirely down to our charm and careful management of the situation, though we’re guessing they were also of the mind “If you can’t beat them, join them!”

Access to the site was also problematic, being located on a very busy Woolahra street with limited parking available. And we had the challenge of getting all materials required up onto the rooftop area. For this we used a Telehandler, shifting payloads of a ton at a time to and from the rooftop, while employing some strict traffic control on the street.

Another challenge was that both our client and the designer, Nic Graham of Nic Graham & Associates, were located overseas, so all project management details and communications needed to be relayed via email.


The specification for this stunning apartment were exceptional, requiring careful restoration and repair of existing parquetry flooring, beautiful bespoke bathrooms – all six of them, custom cabinetry throughout, and extensive rooftop landscaping.

We also installed a pretty snazzy hi-tech micro-processor controlled lighting and energy management system called C-Bus. This facilitates the configuration of zones in the home for automated lighting, adjusting intensity according to natural light levels.

Marble was used extensively in all the bathrooms, with polyurethane joinery, antique mirror glass and custom vanities.

Other highlights were the Blackbutt flooring, with underfloor heating, stained almost black with ‘Black Japan’ woodstain’ – and some exquisite hand-made lighting fixtures from Beeswax USA.

We are delighted to have been involved in this beautiful Woolahra project and equally delighted to receive these photos to share with you.

What a stunner!

Woolahra renovation interior by custom builders, Sydney Beach Homes


At Sydney Beach Homes, we’re always on the lookout for building products that are both sustainable and have a limited impact on the environment, but they have to look great too – and stand up to the rigours of the environments in which we invariably build.

It has to be said that we love working with natural building products like slate and timber and it’s hard to ignore their natural beauty, but we do understand that with our clients’ busy lives, keeping on top of these things can be an issue. This is especially true of timber decking, requiring maintenance every 6 months, which is not always appealing.

With this in mind, we’ve found a couple of great new building products that we are delighted to recommend to our clients, which are extremely durable and have the looks to match. Both of these home-grown companies make products specifically for the challenging Australian conditions, often overlooked by overseas brands.


Monier has re-invented roofing with their Elemental range, which are manufactured from an advanced fibre reinforced composite, originally developed for the aerospace industry. Monier’s commitment to strength and beauty means Elemental’s ultra-modern appearance will enhance your property while truly protecting you from the elements.

It’s so good to see companies like this creating cutting edge products to inspire the creativity
 of Australia’s architects, designers, builders and families. Its unique aesthetic stimulates exploration with new architectural designs and creative rooflines.

This product is the latest innovation in lightweight composite roofing, with a modern take on classic slate and shingle. Despite its ultra-light weight – 5 times lighter than traditional tiles – it boasts unprecedented strength. The tiles have been designed to withstand ALL the elements the Australian environment may through at us, including harsh sunlight, salty coastal environments, heavy hail and wild storms. It will not rust or dent and will maintain it’s UV colour coating without peeling or flaking.

And they’re cheaper than natural slate.

The Elemental series features an ultra large 1500mm x 750mm panel and a unique 750mm square panel for a contemporary take on the classic look.

We’ve recently selected these tiles for a particular project to achieve the desired Hamptons look of natural slate, but they will work just as well on contemporary styled homes too.

We chose slate grey for this project, but they are also available in 5 other colours.

And these particular building products come with a 30 year performance guarantee – what’s not to love?

Building products for modern homes, Monier roof tiles


There are a few composite wood-effect decking solutions on the market, but we have a good feeling about ModWood decking, which uses recycled milk bottles blended with waste wood fibre. Each linea metre of ModWood decking contains around thirty seven recycled bottles and almost two kilograms of reclaimed pine waste, sourced from a certified plantation of sustainably managed pine, in a process that leaves a minimal environmental footprint.

ModWood products will not warp, crack or splinter under normal conditions, and require no sanding, sealing or painting for long term protection. This is a building product that is manufactured Australia and created specifically to withstand Australia’s harsh conditions. They contain a high degree of UV stability and they are highly resistant to weather, moisture and termites.

Underfoot ModWood feels firm and strong, which is very important for elevated decks. A range of colours from a dark brown/black though warmer red tones, to silver grey is available and each colour features a dark intermittent pigment to compliment the grained finish for a more natural appearance.

One thing we love about the ModWood product is that it does undergo some weathering when exposed to the elements, softening over time to a silver grey colour in the manner of natural wood. Boards also have a similar surface temperature to timber, which feels natural to walk on. And as it does not splinter, ModWood is extremely child-friendly, making it ideal for use around pool or spa areas.

It also perfect for creating privacy with screened outdoor areas and contemporary garden features.

The ModWood Marina collection is a bigger, stronger board, designed for marinas, boardwalks, outdoor furniture and heavy duty decking areas. It’s particularly well suited to ecologically sensitive areas, as there are no nasty chemicals that could leach out. It is highly resistant to the ravages of salt air – and it stands up well to heavy foot traffic.

For those living in bushfire zones, there is also a range of Flame Shield options available that are suitable for bushfire prone areas, rated to BAL 40, and all Modwood products come with a 10 year limited warranty.

Building products for modern homes Modwood decking and screening

All in all, two fantastic Aussie products from a couple of refreshingly innovating companies, that the team at Sydney Beach Homes just can’t wait to put to good use for our busy clients looking for a manageable alternative to natural stone and timber.


At Sydney Beach Homes, we’re fans of a wide variety of architecture and decorative styles, which we’ll be featuring here on our blog from time to time. We thought we’d start with the quintessential Classic Australian Beach Home and offer some tips on how to get the style just right.


Classic Australian beach homes, are typically of weatherboard construction, most often painted in white or soft shades borrowed from the coastal surroundings.

Gables are usually high with tiled or Colorbond roofing.

Go for a mix of ceiling heights internally. You might create an upper level in the eaves with dormer windows in parts of the home, while allowing ceilings in some of your living spaces to soar to the rafters.

High ceilings

Be sure to pay particular attention to windows – beach homes should be flooded with natural light, yet have the ability to shield rooms from the heat of the day. And of course, you need to make the most of any amazing views you may have. Coastal homes often locate the main living spaces on the upper levels to maximise the impact of available views, which also has the additional benefit of keeping the bedrooms cooler.

Louvered windows are a great way of capturing a little coastal breeze and filtering it through your home.



Interiors should harmonise seamlessly with the outdoors, bringing you closer to nature and its soothing effects, while creating a greater feeling of space. You can get creative with folding, stacking or even garage style doors to open your living areas up to blend with your outdoor spaces.

Here are a couple of beautiful examples, that open the home front and back, effortlessly connecting the pool and gardens with the beach.

Bringing the outdoors in

Blurring the boundaries of the indoors and outdoors lends itself particularly well to the kitchen.

Allowing your kitchen bench to extend out through a bi-fold or awning-style window to the outdoor entertaining area, creates a handy and sociable kitchen servery. This is a great way to connect the kitchen to the barbecue area, making it easy to pass food and drinks without continually having to move in and out of the house.


Australian beach homes generally tend to facilitate a fairly active ocean-side lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with half of the beach finding its way into your home.

Thinking carefully about your entrances and the facilities you place there will make your life a lot easier and keep your home a lot neater.

Build in storage areas by your entrance ways, where surf boards, beach toys and equipment, towels and beach bags etc. can be grabbed quickly and easily, and more importantly, deposited on the way back inside without trailing mess and clutter through the house.

Add some shelves, baskets or cupboards to store small items like thongs, sunscreen, hats and shades so you’re always ready to take advantage of an impromptu walk to the beach.

Beachside living can involve lots of larger toys and gadgets too, and they all need a home, so make sure you create ample storage for bicycles, jet skis, kayaks etc. etc. It’s a good idea to install a water source close by too, so you can hose things down before you put them away.

A beach home is the perfect environment to install an outdoor bathroom or shower area. You can make sure everyone is clean and sand-free before they step back in the house. Be sure to make it accessible from the front and the back the property. Having to trail through the house to use the outdoor shower, kind of defeats the object of your ingenious facility.

This clever design (far right) featured in House Beautiful magazine, allows access to an indoor bathroom from the garden.

Outdoor shower


When selecting your colours, both internally and externally, it’s always best to create harmony with your particular environment. There are exceptions, but bright or bold colours can be particularly jarring and will detract from the serenity that is the trademark of a house by the ocean.

If in doubt, you simply cannot go wrong with white. This is the ultimate backdrop for your coastal look. Go for an all-over white on white theme, using contrasting materials and texture to create interest, or blend with sandy and pale ocean colours. White also looks incredibly fresh combined with zingy leafy greens, or if you plan to have a pool, carry highlights of refreshing light blues and aquas throughout your living spaces.

For a twist on the classic opt for deep blues or smoky greys as a base – or sandy coloured natural timber.

Remember, colours that look good on a paint swatch at your local hardware store may look completely different in the direct sunlight. Find place to test your colours and view them over several days under different lighting conditions to make sure you get it right.

Look out for our “Colours of our World” posts on our Facebook page for inspiration –



Typical beach home décor can conjure up images of overly twee, beachy styled cottages that almost look like caricatures, but for us, a practical coastal style really doesn’t mean overloading your home with every little beach related knick-knack you can get your hands on, or find washed up on the beach.

Classic coastal living is about serenity, embracing the elements and taking influence from the beach and the ocean. It’s certainly a casual lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean we can’t weave in a little sophistication too.

By adding just a few carefully chosen beach inspired items to a classically stylish design, these become statement pieces and add a welcome accent to the décor.

These elegant images from demonstrates this beautifully.

Chic coastal style

Beach living really lends itself to natural materials and fabrics, chalky paints, bleached timbers etc.

But don’t be afraid to add some contrast as well to avoid creating a jaded, clichéd beach-house style.

Mix in some contemporary pieces and finishes for a little drama and interest as well as the occasional antique or retro item. Beach house style should be personalised – it’s not one look that you must try to emulate at all costs – it should be very much your look and reflect the personality and lifestyle of you and your family.



The key to creating a beautiful and functional beach home – or any home, in fact, is research. If you don’t have a definite idea of the style you want to create, spend lots of time poring through magazines, making Pinterest boards, collecting colour charts and pulling it all together to see how it looks. Once you have defined your colours, it’s a good idea to always take them shopping with you, as it’s really very difficult to keep a colour in your head. This will save a lot of wasted time, buying and returning things that don’t quite work with your scheme.

We just love to work with our clients’ ideas and help bring them to life, adding our own knowledge and expertise to surpass their initial expectations.

If you’d like to see what we can do together, give us a call…

Contact John or Jono on +61 9939 2592

Or email us on

Ocean Secrets