First published on 28 May 2012.
I was lured to the northern beaches by the promise of prettier, more private beaches than their eastern suburbs counterparts, and, of course, the promise of weathered beach shacks that go with them. I knew this image was slightly idealistic – beachfront mansions now appear to be more common than their holiday house ancestors. T struck it lucky, though, and found a heritage-listed beachfront beauty in Freshwater now known for serving up Italian cuisine as Pilu.
Freshwater's cute village leads to a small, beautiful beachfront, and it is covered with attractive, historic buildings thanks to the suburb’s long history – it began development in the late nineteenth century. Many of the suburb’s prime landholdings however, are now occupied by contemporary masterpieces with glass frontages perfect for scoping the view. I was looking for something different, though – an old-school beach house.
While the Pilu building is now set up as a fine dining spot, it was once a house, and it stands on one of Freshwater’s best spots, mere steps from the sand. The house’s weatherboard construction complements its location, and the pale blue and bone white shades, wooden floor boards, high, beamed ceilings and curved, soaring windows make for an ideal getaway destination.
Standing inside, walking through the property's charming gardens, and tracing the aged pathways surrounding it conjure images of long summers spent on the beach. It’s the best type of beach house, where perfection gives way to perpetually sandy floors, fans trying to beat the Sydney heat, and coastal breezes offering sweet respite.
Read more of Monica Kovacic's local architectural musings at The House Hunter.