HOW YOUNG JOHN OXLEY STARTED HIS BUILDING CAREER

Ever wondered what makes an exceptional builder?

Some of us have the rare good fortune to do something we love for a living, and for our own John Oxley, the passion to build, fix, and make things started early in life.

43 years ago, a kindly local builder, called Bob Ryan took young John under his wing and helped nurture the passion that ultimately led to the creation of Sydney Beach Homes – for which we will be ever grateful.

John has recounted aspects of this story to us from time to time, so we were delighted when he was able to find a magazine article that Bob Ryan wrote at the time, in his capacity as resident ‘handyman’ for Home Journal magazine.

Bob was building his own home at the time (in John’s street) and was surprised one morning to find 7-year-old John Oxley presenting himself for work with his own set of toy tools.

Where most builders might have laughed and sent John politely on his way, to his very great credit, Bob embraced John’s enthusiasm and invited him to stay and help – and allowed him to attend site every day of free time he had for the three years it took to complete Bob’s house. For his 8th birthday, Bob even bought John his first set of proper tools.

John learned some very early lessons in the discipline of site and personal safety, which has stayed with him for life.

Bob made such a strong impression on the young John, inspiring him to follow his dreams and do what he was born to do.

John feels very lucky to have met someone like Bob, who cared enough to take the time from his busy days to indulge his unlikely young apprentice, and wittingly or otherwise, not only fuelled John’s passion to create something special, but instilled an enduring sense of courtesy, patience, and work ethics that continue to guide our culture here at Sydney Beach Homes to this day.

We love this story of how one exceptional builder, many years ago inspired another to become equally exceptional.

Here is a copy of the original article – doesn’t John look cute in that hard hat 😀

To view full size, and read the article, just right click on the image below and select ‘open in new tab’.

Young John Oxley starts his building career age 8

April 1977 issue of Home Journal featuring 8 year old John Oxley of Sydney Beach Homes

CONTEMPORARY BEACH HOME STYLE

When is a beach home not a beach home?

Well, arguably, when it’s a shimmering monument to the ultimate in sleek  modern minimalism.

Of course, a property like this may will be a beach home in every literal sense if it is in fact a home and it’s located by the beach.

It’s interesting, that the phrase ‘beach home’ generally conjures up in our mind’s eye, everything from shabby beach-chic to Hamptons style classicism, but the trend in pristine, modernist structures has probably now overtaken the quintessential beach home style.

So how do you go about creating your minimalist haven by the sea?

The first challenge is wear and tear, from the less than forgiving coastal elements. We expect to see some worn decking and even a little distressed weatherboard paint on a classic beach house – or at least we accept it as part of the beach-life charm. Sand in the home can be tolerated, surfboards adorning the veranda is all part of the picture.

But none of this sits well in a high-gloss environment, brimming with expensive finishes.

Your builder will be able to advise you of new developments in exterior building materials that are built to withstand the harsh elements of our coastline, while maintaining desired aesthetics.

contemporary home style Sydney Beach Homes

Bringing the outside in, while keeping it out.

There’s a conundrum! When building a beach home like this, we need to pay particular attention to doors and windows, seeking out specialist materials and highly effective seals and closures.

A trademark feature of the contemporary home, especially when you have expansive ocean views is the acres of glass frontage that reveal the coastline in all its incredible beauty and bring it directly into your home.

For these situations, self-cleaning glass is a must, combined with smart glass systems, which allow you to control the amount of heat and light that comes into your home throughout the day. Read more about this in our blog on green technologies.

If you’re living by the ocean you won’t want to keep your home hermetically sealed to avoid sand getting into your living spaces, so work with your builder and architect to take prevailing winds into account when planning your major openings and external space.

Contemporary homes also tend to feature sleek, and often shiny, premium finishes, like polished marble, metals and gloss carpentry  – none of which respond well to the abrasive effect of sand and salt in the air. Happily there are many new and exciting finished to consider that look every bit as impressive, but will maintain their looks for much longer. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate any polished finishes altogether, but use them strategically, knowing they will need more care and attention to keep looking pristine.

 

You can never have enough storage

Never underestimate the amount of storage a contemporary home requires to maintain a minimalist image. Your builder and designer can help you plan heaps of concealed storage into every room to keep the clutter at bay and create that feeling of serenity a clean and clear environment brings.

If your contemporary home is by the beach, you will need to increase that storage requirement considerably and pay particular attention to the position of your storage.

External storage by every entrance is a must to encourage everyone to shed sandy shoes, towels and all manner of beach paraphanaila before they enter the house. Wet rooms at the entrances, or outdoor shower rooms are also great for making sure that only people free of salt and sand enter the house. In winter, these storage areas double up nicely as boot rooms / cloakrooms.

contemporary interior style Sydney Beach Homes

Décor

Whether your beach home is classic or contemporary in styling, the same basic décor principles apply.

Using a single colour palette throughout the home will make it feel bigger, more open and expansive, and allows rooms and spaces to flow naturally into one another. That doesn’t mean every room will look the same. If you create a palette of 6 to 8 shades, you can turn the dials up and down on different shades to suit the purpose of each room without compromising the flow of your colour scheme.

You can also bring in additional highlights of colour seasonally, with accessories to freshen your look from time to time.

Clever use of texture is also a great way of adding dimension to your home and there are some amazing three-dimensional finishes available now in tiling, wallpaper and decorative panelling.

Taking inspiration for your colours from the environment around your home works brilliantly for beach homes and really helps create synergy between your property and its location. Take photographs of your surroundings at different times of the day and use colour charts to create your palette by matching to the tones of your photos. For softer palettes use shots taken in the early morning or evening, go for mid morning for something more dazzling, or use the landscape in winter for a more muted scheme. If darker, more moody palettes are your thing, sunset shots will help you produce some amazing colour combinations.

Light and bright generally works brilliantly in beach homes, but it’s always to good to have some darker tones in there too, to use sparingly throughout, or more boldly in areas where you want to create a cosy, more intimate feel.

 

Outdoors

Your outdoor spaces and landscaping should reflect the minimalist feeling of your interior.  Gardens will need to maintain a manicured look, so be careful with planting and seek advice from your landscape gardener. An unruly mass of tumbling and abundant blooms may look amazing in a cottage garden, but will look incongruous with the sleek modernity of your building.

Again, explore available materials with your builder and landscape gardener, to create a scheme that is both beautiful and manageable.

So in conclusion, can a contemporary home ever be a true beach home? Absolutely!

Talk to us about your vision for your modern masterpiece.