Australian House & Garden Magazine|January 2020
Before they’d even stepped through the front door, Suzy and Nick O’Rourke knew this home they’d come to inspect was the one. But because it was the first property they viewed, they weren’t completely confident about acting on their gut feeling. “We thought ‘surely it can’t be that easy?’” says Suzy. “So we looked at other houses for the next two months before we circled back and bought this one.”
Situated on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the 1920s cottage did need some work. But the spectacular location, offering gorgeous views out over swaying palms to the sea beyond, was worth it. “The home was bathed in winter sun when we saw it, and it had a lovely, relaxed feel,” she says.
That was 12 years ago when their son Ollie was just four and Suzy was pregnant with daughter Lola. Not long after moving in, the couple undertook some minor renovations – increasing the size of the deck and courtyard to allow for more outdoor living – but made a decision to leave a bigger renovation until the kids were older. “Then our third child, Finn, came along and we needed more space. The answer was to add another story.”
A milliner and artist, Suzy has an innate understanding of design. Indeed, she had previously developed the interiors for holiday rental The Shed in Gerroa, NSW (featured in H&G August 2016), so she relished the opportunity to take on this renovation project for her family.
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