Less is more
Is it possible to build a home that is not only beautiful, but sustainable, practical and budget-friendly? Profile speaks to Kaitlyn Akers, a Coolum-based homeowner who had this very vision in mind for an 85-year-old beachside home upgrade.
When most of us get to the stage of building our own home, we often dream of large spaces, multiple bathrooms, elaborate finishings and insta-worthy decor. It’s easy to get swept up in the ‘more is more’ mentality, and it makes sense – you’ve worked for years to get to this point, after all.
But how much space do we really need and how much money do we actually have to spend to achieve the home of our dreams? Kaitlyn Akers considered these questions and more when building her stunning yet modest beachside home in Coolum.
When Kaitlyn went looking for an architect to help renovate and extend the 85-year-old home, which was one of the original farm houses in the Coolum area, she wanted to find someone who would understand her need for practicality, sustainability and comfort, but also style.
“When we put out for tender to look at a partnership to design the home, we looked at five different architects. We chose Dragi Majstorovic of Majstorovic Architects because he’s already worked around Coolum and he had a connection with environmentally-friendly design and he was prepared to use the reclaimed materials from the old house, which was important to us. We were looking for someone who wasn’t going to drive the design but was going to add a lot of value in terms of the way the building came together, the way it interacted with the environment, and the way that we had a conversation about what we were looking for in a space to live in,” says Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn and her husband Ben wanted a home that would align with their lifestyle. As two people who spend a lot of time in and around the ocean, whether they’re surfing, diving or boating, Kaitlyn and Ben wanted a space that brought the outdoors in (beach sand included).
“The house had to be able to cope with that but also be sensitive to our expectations on keeping costs down as well,” she says.
What Dragi came up with was three pods built around a central breezeway – hence the name, the Breezeway House.
Built by Jason O’Hara of Cooinda Constructions, the three pods include one for Kaitlyn and Ben, one for visitors, and one as a communal gathering space with plenty of views and access to the outdoors. The verandahs serve as a fourth area and for entertaining, comfort and of course, their two gorgeous Golden Retrievers Ekka and Connie.
“The verandahs and the breezeways that interconnect the pods are about providing spaces where you can use a really small footprint to have a place for people to gather and feel comfortable,” says Kaitlyn.
Although the ‘more is more’ approach wasn’t for Kaitlyn, comfort and style was still paramount. The result was a couple of personal touches around the home including the use of stained timber, furniture with a story, and a unique artwork as the kitchen splashback.
“That’s a Nigel Aniston from On Safari Photography,” says Kaitlyn. “Nigel is an old friend and did a lot of surf portraiture around Coolum, Mudjimba and Yaroomba. We used a third of one of his photos, because it was an image that made sense to Ben and I. It’s the image of the wave that you actually see on the water and in the environment.”
Another noteworthy feature of the Breezeway House is the the large tree in the backyard. Planted by the original owners of the house, it’s an homage to the history of the home and the area.
Kaitlyn Akers and the team who brought the Breezeway House to life has proven that you don’t need to include all the bells and whistles to produce a stunning home on a tight budget. Each and every detail has practicality, lifestyle, history and the environment in mind without the need for expensive details and an obnoxious amount of space. This is the future of housing!