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In regions blessed with a perennially warm climate, outdoor spaces reign supreme and blending indoor-outdoor living is key. HIA member SX Constructions’ latest project dubbed the ‘Sunshine Beach House’, wows with its take on this popular lifestyle necessity, offering an oasis-like feel throughout, with a focus on capturing views towards Noosa’s pristine coastline.
A word-of-mouth referral – the ‘backbone’ of owners Steve and Simone Essex’s successful Queensland-based construction business – introduced the clients to SX Constructions. Specialising in luxury residential construction, the business was a standout choice for bringing award-winning building designer Chris Clout’s bold concepts to life.
The result is a stunning, light-filled home with a unique u-shaped courtyard that ensures the 6x3-metre pool – undoubtedly the jewel in the crown – is visible from all parts of the house.
Steve and Simone pride themselves on their small team of friendly professionals, who always work directly with the owners to realise their vision.
‘This project was a team effort between Chris Clout Design, SCG Consulting Engineers, the owners and us – not to mention the countless master tradesmen we had onsite sharing their expertise to deliver the best possible finishes for our client,’ Steve says. ‘The owners are very experienced with construction projects and dealt directly with us to communicate the finer details of their vision throughout the build.’
Confronted by a relatively small site with limited privacy along its boundaries, SX Constructions’ decades of experience was an advantage when delivering the clients’ brief for a sanctuary with ocean views.
The ambitious design included four ensuite bathrooms, an integrated kitchen/living area, a media room, gym, cellar and three-car garage, which required extensive basement excavation. Natural light cleverly infiltrates this lower level through a high rectangular window that allows a glimpse into the pool along with the sensation of being underwater.
However, it’s the spectacular u-shape outdoor living area that really brings the coastal dream to life. The north-facing courtyard and swimming pool provide a very private, ‘oasis’ feel in the heart of the home. Strategically placed louvres and large sliding doors not only capture the ocean views, but also provide ample cross ventilation opportunities so the owners can enjoy sea breezes throughout the entire home.
A welcome bonus: the design is incredibly environmentally friendly. Custom timber windows and doors with energy-efficient glass were used throughout, leaving little need for air conditioning despite the hot Queensland summers.
Each level of the three-storey home features beautifully burnished concrete floors. This demanded precision from the team, as they needed to ensure the top surface of the concrete was cared for throughout the build to avoid stains and chips in the slab.
External screens to the top level were cleverly crafted from timber-look aluminium made with DecoWood to filter light and provide privacy. Steve says aluminium was chosen over timber for its durability and low-maintenance qualities – always a particular consideration when building a coastal home.
A wonderful personal touch from the owners is the mural-style wallpaper used in the powder room. Adding a pop of colour and personality, the wallpaper was picked up by the owners during a trip to Milan.
Also of note in this space are the miniature mosaic tiles (just 11x11mm each). A commendable level of accuracy was required by SX Constructions’ tiler to ensure perfectly level grids, with zero room for variance.
Of course, a project of this scale is never without its challenges – and SX Constructions’ high levels of skill and expertise were put to the test throughout the build.
Noosa Council imposes an eight-metre height limit on most residences in the region. ‘To ensure there were no mishaps with height calculations during the build, several height surveys were conducted at key points throughout and at completion to ensure the building was compliant,’ Steve explains.
Overhead electrical wires, an all too common problem for Australian suburban builds, prevented both concrete pumps and crane deliveries from the street. The only solution was to undertake concrete pours from the driveway, complicated by the fact it is shared by three neighbouring properties.
During excavation, CFA piles were used instead of sheet metal piling because of the depth the team were required to bore down to in order to stabilise the sandy ground. Steve adds this additional stability helped to maintain the structural integrity of both adjoining properties and the shared driveway.
‘The neighbours were all very patient with us,’ he says. ‘We would give them plenty of notice of a concrete pour, so they could move their vehicles if they needed to.’
It’s precisely this responsible attitude that has earnt SX Constructions its formidable reputation and incentivises clients to recommend them time and time again. ‘We do the right thing by people and they appreciate it,’ he adds.
Nature wasn’t always compliant during the build either. The basement level was below the existing storm water system, meaning pumps were essential throughout the project. Thanks to Noosa’s famous sub-tropical downpours, the pumps were tested to their limits trying to keep the water out while the house was constructed.
The final hurdle was an all too familiar pain point of 2020: COVID-19.
‘Handover was a tricky time,’ Steve admits. ‘COVID-19 was just starting to get traction in Australia and there was a lot of uncertainty in our industry and the community in general. At the time, we didn’t know if the construction industry would get shut down.’
Determined to keep the project moving for the clients, SX Constructions did everything possible to get them settled in before the Queensland lockdown – meaning the entire process, from earthworks to completion, took just 14 months.
‘We went full steam ahead,’ he says. ‘As it turned out, construction was allowed to continue to operate in Queensland. However, we were pleased to have our clients into their new home to settle and rest during the peak of the pandemic.’
Given the site constraints, an incredibly impressive level of privacy has been created, from the second and third-floor bedrooms with amazing coastal views to the u-shaped courtyard with its swimming pool, polished concrete surrounds and timber-look decking.
Despite complex and very specific building requirements, the ‘Sunshine Beach House’ is a true testament to SX Constructions’ building expertise – and will no doubt earn them more of those well-deserved referrals in the future.