The Barefoot Bay Cottage

The Designory, a multi-disciplinary design studio based in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney recently took on the challenge of creating a specifically designed holiday house for boutique accommodation company, Barefoot Escapes. The result: The ultimate in coastal luxe.

Helping turn their concept into a reality, Earp Bros supplied surface materials to define a space that delivers on luxury whilst maintaining a pared-back homely feel. A space where family and guests can escape and unwind.

The Barefoot Bay Cottage is located close to the heart of Byron Bay. Every surface has been carefully and painstakingly considered for this contemporary style cottage to achieve a holiday vibe with all the functionality of a well-designed home where high-quality materials and surface finishes are paramount.

Founder and Director of The Designory, Melissa Bonney kindly shares some perspectives on The Barefoot Bay Cottage and offers some insights on working collaboratively with Earp Bros during the design, specification and delivery process of this project.

What was the concept behind the cottage design?

The focus for the design of The Barefoot Bay Cottage was to create a true home away from home with all the luxuries of “holidays” but all of the functional details of a design-led home. The completed house needed to be able to be enjoyed regularly by the owners and their family, but also be able to be easily shared with others via the owners newly created boutique accommodation business, Barefoot Escapes. The original concept was a “contemporary blend of luxe Australian coastal style paired with quintessential relaxed Byron chic” where the focus was on capturing the essence of the area and the connection to both the lush hinterland and the beach.  The colour and materials palette really drove the overall feel and experience of being in the home and we set out to achieve that with a blend of natural tones, textures and materials and an intentionally repetitive palette of fresh white, sage greens, deep indigo and concrete grey tones.


Why did you approach Earp Bros for finishes?

We love working with the team from Earp and have been lucky enough to do so for a number of years. Their family run business is one of the most innovative and customer focused in the industry which means that they immediately understood what we were trying to achieve and what our needs were – and to have those qualities in a fast-paced project is essential! The decision to work together was an obvious one for us.


Why did you select the tile finishes used in the project?

Tile finishes are such a critical component of any project as they form the base for any concept or scheme. The challenge for the Cottage was to combine our overriding desire to create a truly relaxed and cohesive look using natural tones and texture whilst achieving the much needed durability and functionality for the home.  We chose beautiful grey timber tones for the bathroom flooring and walls with the Starwood and Moov porcelain ranges – these tiles are stunning and extremely hard wearing so will go the distance in a holiday rental property. When we laid eyes on the Airslate stone sheets we knew we had to use them somewhere in the home to create a feature – the product is compelling! It is lightweight, really easy to install and is a natural product so gives that instant texture and tone we were after. Deciding to make it the hero made the decision for its location lining the Kitchen walls and the fireplace an easy one. The final area to consider was the outdoor area. It was important for us to continue the repetition of colours and tones both indoor and outdoor. We chose the stunning white recycled glass mosaic for the custom-built plunge pool to mirror the white interiors, floors and trim. It sits beautifully in the sun trapped garden contrasting the gorgeous silver travertine stone pavers.  


What was your experience of the selection process?

The selection process at Earp can be overwhelming at the best of times – let alone with a pending deadline! They have a huge range of every tile and colour and finish imaginable – with even more in the design process or being sourced from exotic locations all the time. We quickly worked to narrow down our selection criteria by colour and then by type – we knew we wanted cool grey tones, but we also knew they needed to stand up to multiple sandy feet and relaxed holiday days! The team at Earp were amazing at providing us with an edited list of suitable ideas and inspirations – we literally ended up finalising our selections from the edit they had pulled together for us! They have a very creative and experienced team!


What is your impression of the products now they are installed in the finished cottage?

All of the products are even better installed than they were in the Instagrammable flat lay! Airslate is a definite hero – it’s incredibly tactile and everyone immediately wants to touch it and know what it is! The Starwood collection in the bathrooms is the same – people feel drawn to touch the textural surfaces and are surprised to find that it’s a porcelain tile. The finishes all work together beautifully to deliver the brief perfectly – there is something quite special, and just a little bit magic, about the house.


How important do you find brand partnership in design?

We really believe brand partnerships and collaborating in design and business is critical, especially in a time when availability and access to ideas and information is instant – for everyone! There is so much to be gained by working closely with like-minded brands and businesses. It allows you to share ideas, strategies, and processes as well as jointly create something new that may not have been possible otherwise. For us an effective brand partnership should come easily, and with Earp Bros it’s effortless.

If you wish to work with Earp Bros on your next project or for more information on the products used in this project please get in touch with your local showroom or sales representative. We are always excited to collaborate on new projects with our clients.


All photographs courtesy of @jessie_and_jones
Follow The Designory on Instagram @thedesignory
Follow Barefoot Escapes on Instagram @barefootescapes


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