Capturing the essence of laidback coastal living is The Vela Properties from interior/architecture gurus The Designory. Melissa Bonney and Margo Reed explain how they used ModularWalls to transform the alfresco areas into private beachside havens.
The Designory — Sikata House
Inspired by nature
The Vela Properties, located at Byron Bay in northern NSW, comprises three neighbouring houses – Samudra House, Sikata House, and Lavana House. All are inspired by the rugged beauty, colour and form of the surrounding landscape.
As the creative mind behind this inspiring project, Melissa Bonney had a clear vision from the outset. ‘Using natural materials and textures, we wanted the design elements to tie back to the rawness of the Australian coastal palette,‘ Melissa says.
The aesthetic is expressed differently in each property:
Lavana House is about soft elegance, natural stones, blonde timber, and rattan.
Samudra House evokes the beach in crisp whites and pastels.
Sikata House offers raw timbers, and organic finishes underpin the warm, earthy feel.
However, a clear focus on coastal living unifies the three, with airy open-plan living zones opening seamlessly into the north-facing, lavishly landscaped alfresco areas.
Private sanctuaries and poolside parties
The Designory team envisioned The Vela Properties as the ultimate, shareable holiday retreat, with the gardens providing an access point between the homes when required.
‘We wanted the lush landscaped outdoor entertaining areas to offer up the perfect space for multiple families and larger groups to reconnect and unwind,’ Melissa says. However, achieving this balance between privacy and connectedness while delivering the coastal living appeal required careful planning. ‘We were after something that could offer privacy and acoustics to use between the houses and along the adjoining boundaries.’ ModularWalls, with their modern aesthetic, durability and customisability, offered a practical solution.
The team specified TrendWall, knowing its sleek finish, height, and excellent sound-insulation properties would deliver privacy between the homes. In addition, with its corrosive-resistant aluminium posts, TrendWall is recommended for coastal living and poolside applications. And, because access between the houses was also a consideration, lockable gates were easily integrated within the TrendWall system.
‘ModularWalls’ simple design allowed us to paint the finished panels to tie in with the subtle design changes between each home and yard – creating a separate oasis within each yard.’
The Designory — Samudra House
Planning an idyllic coastal living escape
The outdoor entertaining areas of The Vela Properties are all about laid-back luxury. They’re a coastal living dream, with covered dining areas, seating zones, heated plunge pools and barbecue areas. Working together with Adam Robinson Design and Living 4 Landscapes, Melissa used timber decking, stone, plants and ModularWalls to break up the outdoor areas into multi-functional spaces while maintaining an inviting flow.
TrendWall features at the rear of each plunge pool to enhance the private, resort-like ambience. It also provides a practical choice, allowing wall-mounted towel hooks and safety signage on the wall. And because of the homes’ proximity to the beach, an outdoor shower was an essential coastal living inclusion.
Melissa created visual unity by matching the pool wall to the home’s interior colour scheme. At Samudra and Lavana, Magnesium underpins the neutral palette. At the same time, Monument, a deep charcoal hue, adorns the walls at Sikata House. Finally, lush greenery such as heliconias, pandanas, fox tail palms and low succulents interlace with established plants to soften and complete the tropical, coastal living vibe.
The Designory — Sikata House
The Designory’s tips for the perfect coastal living pool area
- ‘We wanted to keep plants simple here, so we opted for lots of low greenery and palms to fill the garden. Using plants that don’t drop leaves was an obvious consideration to keep the pools clean.’
- ‘Hooks for towels were a must for by the pool, and we were able to add these to the ModularWalls, which was great. Each home has a series of different styled hooks from timber to antlers, and we love how they sit on the walls.’
- ‘Coastal living is all about outdoor relaxation, so we also included cushions, seating, and hammocks.’
The Vela Properties are one of The Designory’s most ambitious projects to date – with COVID and floods adding an extra layer of difficulty to the already challenging build. But the result is a stunning celebration of coastal living at its finest.
The Designory — Lavana House
‘We got there in the end, and the walls look fabulous!‘ Melissa says. ‘ModularWalls are incredibly versatile and easy to work with. We’re always looking for fun, interesting ways to break up spaces and ModularWalls were the perfect solution for us!‘
For The Designory’s styling information, visit ‘Get the Look‘ and ‘Schedules’ pages on their website.
Architecture & Interiors: The Designory
Photography: The Designory, Andy MacPherson Photography, Jessie Prince – The Quarter Acre, & Simon Hunter Photography.