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Reading: Life’s a beach

Life’s a beach

4 min read

The Designory’s Melissa Bonney created a sophisticated take on beachside style when designing her holiday rental in Byron Bay 

There is something quintessentially relaxing about a beach escape – and there probably isn’t a person alive who hasn’t finished a holiday and had a fleeting thought or two of having their own little place on the coast.

Interior designer Melissa Bonney of The Designory says that she and her family had always had a long-term dream to own property in all of their favourite places around the country (as you do), which is how the idea for Barefoot Escapes was born.

“We go up to Byron a lot as a family,” she explains, “and as luck would have it, we just stumbled across this block of land.”

Bonney explains that she felt the universe had sent her the perfect opportunity.

“It had this beautiful little old cottage on it and a DA for a second building with a subdivision to divide the two. At the time we were thinking about our next project. So it was just the right time and it meant we were able to take on renovating the little cottage, building the new property and creating the beginning of this boutique accommodation business that we had our hearts set on as our long-term dream.”

Like many renovation projects, the initial scope was small… and then it grew.

“We planned to just give it a lick of paint and get nicer looking fixtures,” explains Bonney, “but when we started looking at it, we were like, ‘hold on a minute, we can create something really special that’s going to be more important for the long term’. And we knew if we just gave it the lick of paint, we would be back again in a year doing the big renovation. So we bit the bullet and did it properly.”

Photography by @jessie_and_jones
Photography by @TheDesignory
Photography by @TheDesignory
Photography by @TheDesignory
Photography by @TheDesignory


There is often an accepted rule that says that a beachside holiday home has to be all white, with touches of light blue tones here and there – but Bonney decided to turn that aesthetic on its head, choosing a palette of navy on the exterior and soft shades of sage and grey inside.

“It was very much about how do we create a calming home that has all the bells and whistles from a design perspective, so you don’t have to think about anything, but with that immediate relaxing feel,” she says. “So there’s nothing that’s jarring and everything feels seamless in its environment.”

This is part of the reason Bonney chose Caesarstone’s new Rugged Concrete for the kitchen bench. She loved its textural elements as well as its grey shade.

“It does have a rugged finish,” she says. “It’s very tactile. You are drawn straight to it; you want to put your hands on it. My favourite thing about the new concrete finishes is that they are very tactile, which creates that instant connection.”

“The greys are certainly one of my favourites to work with. I find grey really calming. When we paired it with the beautiful slate on the wall of the kitchen, it was a winning combination. Very textural.”

Photography by @jessie_and_jones
Photography by @TheDesignory
Photography by @TheDesignory


Bonney chose Cloudburst Concrete for the laundry area and fell in love with its understated style.

“That whole room is very pared back in terms of colour,” she says. “There’s lots of really sandy, beachy tones. The tiles are timber look. You have got a few beautiful vintage pieces in there and lots of white. However, the Cloudburst has got white running through it, so it just ties everything together.”

“Cloudburst is the new white,” she adds. “Again it’s got that tactile finish; and it’s matte. And it really does draw you to it and you start wondering, ‘is it a concrete benchtop; what is it?’

Photography by @jessie_and_jones
Photography by @jessie_and_jones


Bonney says that Caesarstone’s reputation for durability made it the obvious choice for the property because of the challenges involved in investment properties.

“It was a no-brainer to be working with Caesarstone® on the property because the durability was absolutely key to all of the selections,” she says. “Of course, the aesthetic and the look was important, but it has to withstand the test of time because you have so many people going through it.”

The home is now available to book via @barefootescapes website or Airbnb.

Photography by @TheDesignory
Photography by @TheDesignory