When the travel plans for the lovely and inspirational creators behind @saltyluxe, Sarah and partner Chesh, were put on hold in the pandemic lockdown, they combined their creative juices with this rare time in one place and transformed their Byron Bay home.
Sarah and Chesh set out to create a home that is a true reflection of themselves. Each piece of furniture, each book, each knick-knack and picture tell their story.
The result is breezy and balanced - our favourite kind of design - a design that is as happy as practical.
Here Sarah and Chesh share their inspiring renovation journey to create their beautiful home in the very authentic and personable way we have come to know @saltyluxe.
Their extraordinary home transformation and decoration will fill you with happiness, enjoy this visual journey. ✨
Our Renovation Journey & How We Transformed Our Home
Many years ago Chesh and I bought our first home - a 1980s beach shack in the iconic surf town of Byron Bay, Australia. The house was in original condition and in major need of a facelift! We have never renovated before and yet we quickly found ourselves designing, managing trades, and on the tools as well. We had a very tight timeframe to finish such a major project and although we faced countless challenges, we also had a lot of fun!
The result reflects us, our true souls. An infusion of our most cherished travel memories and all the beautiful places we have stayed along the way. We took much of our inspiration from time spent in Morocco, Mexico, Zanzibar and California. We always travel the world, but we wanted to bring our favourite creative influences into our own home.
Our backyard was our biggest transformation. When we bought the home there was an old greenhouse in the yard and our outdoor space could be best described as a weed-infested jungle. There was very little natural light - we had trees resting on the house, blocking sunlight and no designated space to enjoy nature.
Our vision for the backyard was simple. Introduce light, refresh old with new, and create thoughtful spaces for maximum wow factor.
As a framework, we used predominantly textured concrete surfaces and timber to achieve our coastal-hacienda style. It was important to us that the backyard had a Mexican / Spanish feel and that all spaces flowed into each other. Our colour scheme was clean and simple, with whites and neutral tones providing the canvas for uncomplicated elements of greenery and raw pieces of furniture.
We wanted to make this our most used space in the house to best enjoy the sunshine and year-round warm weather of Byron Bay. We started by replacing the old rock garden with a white rendered wall and recessed seating area (textured by local company Raw Design). Behind the wall, we designed a simple garden, including multiple species of cacti and a date palm tree (sourced via Backyard Plant Co) - keeping with our hacienda theme, as well as solitaire palm trees to remain true to our tropical location in Byron Bay.
We chose to use Uniqwa Collections for all our outdoor furniture, and thanks to the open design we were able to create three new spaces with Uniqwa’s natural, sustainable, and unique pieces.
To complement our built-in white recessed bench and to create the perfect casual seating area, we chose Masekela Lounger, Magaashi Coffee Table and the stunning handwoven umbrella, Rondarvel Umbrella all from Uniqwa. We also used Moroccan cactus silk cushions and textural pieces from Blush and Ochre to soften the edges of the rendered surfaces.
The next area we created was for outdoor dining / entertaining, with Uniqwa’s reclaimed teak Hamali Block Dining Table as the hero element. We actually designed our outdoor dining space with this exact table in mind, as once I saw it, nothing could compare. We wanted something oversize, raw and to make a statement, which we definitely achieved in this piece. We positioned the table through the alfresco doors of the living room and framed it with the two palm trees. The timber keeps in with the Hacienda theme and pairs beautifully with the Tula Dining Chair.
The last backyard space is the fire pit. Created with rust-coloured steel edging around a circular stone bedding, the white resin Santorini Chairs create a fun retro vibe. We can’t wait to drink wine around the fire with our family and friends!
Entry, Living & Dining
The living and dining space was originally a very dark space, Walls separated it from the North-facing sunroom, so it could never seem to enjoy any natural ambient light. So, the obvious decision was to remove these separating walls to create one open room. We also knocked out brickwork to convert our old dining room window to double alfresco doors that open straight onto the backyard. The last elements to brighten the space were replacing the old navy carpet with oak flooring and painting the entire space white (window frames, walls, ceiling), ready for a complete facelift. We used Dulux’s White on White.
We continued to choose Uniqwa pieces throughout the entire home, including entry, living and dining. What really drew me to their furniture was uniqueness, but what truly made me fall in love was their commitment to sustainability, recycling and repurposing. I didn’t want to simply purchase pieces I would have for a short time; I wanted the pieces to last a lifetime.
Our entryway hits that mark with the use of natural woods for the Kusina Console, Karoo Mirror (salvaged from Indonesian farming ploughs), and eucalyptus styling poles (that we also use as curtain rods for our draping linen curtains). The Spanish hacienda feels shine via the arched mirror, white rendered terracotta pot and vintage Moroccan runner (by Blush and Ochre). Such a beautiful entrance to set the tone for the entire house.
The living room is so inviting and cosy, largely due to the ultra-plush, modular Uniqwa Hendrix Sofa in oatmeal linen slip covers. We love pairing this with the Uniqwa hand-carved timber tables; the Bantu Side Table and Tamale Tables as well as another vintage Moroccan rug and cactus silk cushions by Blush and Ochre. And the Okavango Pendant Light cluster throws off stunning light and shadows for an intimate feel.
Our new dining space continues the theme with the Maluku Dining Table, use of rattan Songwhe Dining Chairs and Kibuyu Pendant Light as a feature pendant light. We made our own plastered floating shelves for styling and as you look out to the sun-drenched backyard, the space is perfectly completed by a stunning statement Euphorbia cactus in a terracotta pot.
Garage turned studio
Possibly the most challenging part of the renovation was the conversion of our single car garage to a studio space. For this space we needed a lot of support from professional trades to build new walls, windows, doors, and an in-built kitchenette. With some careful planning, thoughtful design and strategic furniture choices, we were able to create a bright and airy living space that comfortably fits a queen-sized bed (with Uniqwa woven Masekela Bedhead and I Love Linen bed linen), handmade Amandla Dining Table and Malawi Tub Dining Chairs, and Matanza Sofas.
With the use of whites and neutral tones, the natural timber elements contrast the space beautifully. The bold reclaimed Hanale Mirror is a stunning piece, and the hand-woven Malolo Pendant Lights add more earthy texture to the room. For additional styling, we went with Blush and Ochre Moroccan vintage rugs and cushions to give a pop of colour.
Before renovation, this space was a cramped laundry with separate toilet, in very original 1980s condition. By removing an internal wall, we re-imaged it entirely, designing a shared bathroom / laundry that could be used by studio guests for separate living, or later if we converted this to the master suite of the house, a master bathroom.
The design aesthetic was very much hacienda styling in the bathroom. We had a clear vision in mind from the beginning and we went to work creating the bathroom of our dreams. The main elements we used to achieve our desired look were white micro-cement (for textural walls and seamless modern benches), concrete surfaces and Moroccan clay tiles.
The micro cement finish was applied to the walls, ceiling, shower and custom vanity/laundry benches to give a completely seamless and waterproof finish. We loved the idea of having un-tiled shower walls and instead having a very tactile Spanish render throughout that was tinted to complement our neutral colour palette. This very specialised product is provided by French supplier Marius Aurenti and was applied by our expert plasterer at Raw Design.
The bathroom style was completed with Moroccan handmade tiles from Jatana Interiors. Each tile is unique in shape and colour, creating a very natural, imperfect and earthy flooring finish which I love. The diagonal herringbone tiling pattern is stunning and we loved how it turned out.
Another key feature of the space is the tumbled brass fixtures of the shower, vanity and laundry. This finish is achieved by literally tumbling raw brass to give a unique, worn appearance. We chose Sussex Taps for our fixtures as we love their designs and approach to sustainability. Keeping with the use of brass, we reached out to Salt x Steel Designs to create our handmade custom arched vanity mirror with brass trimming. The shape perfectly complements the style of the space and custom sizing meant we got exactly what we wanted.
Finishing touches were made by Uniqwa Collections pieces, including the Cancun Laundry Basket and Akoni Side Table in resin.
The main aim for our front yard renovation was to create a bright and welcoming entrance to our home. We did this by painting our brickwork white and removing our overgrown garden bed (and birdbath!) to create an immersive stone garden landscape with cactus plantings. The design was inspired by our travels to Mexico and Palm Springs. We also wanted to create a coffee spot to capture the morning sun, which we achieved with a circular painted white concrete sitting area and furnished with the decorative Ibuku Side Table and Trinidad Dining Chairs. We completed the stone garden with rusted steel edging and a combination of potted and planted cacti from Backyard Plant Co.
image courtesy @saltyluxe
@saltyluxe's Byron Bay Home