The Balnarring beach house of PR specialist Kate Dinon and family. Artwork by Eleanor Louise Butt. Wall sconce by Anna Charlesworth. Pendant lights by Volker Haug. Bar stools by Gubi via Criteria. Photo – Rhiannon Taylor. Khaki cushions from Cultiver. The striking MC Escher-esque tiles are from Eco Tile Factory. Styling – Chelsea Hing.
‘Alex and I have always talked about doing a family gap year, maybe this is it!’ quips Kate Dinon. Recently, Kate and her family have made the move down to their home on the Mornington Peninsula during this time of social distancing. It was a something they’d already been considering doing on a permanent basis, ‘so this feels like a very good test run’, Kate says.
In 2015, Kate and husband Alex Ksugas were looking for a holiday home in the Balnarring area, and found themselves feeling a little dejected on one drive home after an unsuccessful scouting trip. On a whim, the estate agent suggested stopping off at a home that was soon to be listed, but wasn’t yet on the market. ‘Of course it was perfect for us’ Kate enthuses. ‘I didn’t even go inside – I saw her beauty immediately.’
As much as Kate loved the property, the home now bears little resemblance to the house the family initially purchased. Kate highlights, ‘you wouldn’t know it was the same house – in fact, many neighbours have said so!’ She turned to good friend and collaborator Chelsea Hing to mastermind the renovation – a process which involved cladding the original 70s Besser blocks with timber weatherboards, painting the exterior a crisp white, and relocating windows. The entire interior was also gutted and reconfigured, including relocating the kitchen and living room to the upstairs. Finally, custom joinery was installed to fully complete the transformation.
Kate is a passionate collector of Australian art and design, and her art collection holds a very special place in her heart. She highlights works by Miranda Skoczek, Eleanor Louise Butt and Del Kathryn Barton as ‘favourite favourites.’ Other treasured pieces include the sleek brass custom bookshelves in the library and playroom. These eye-catching displays were crafted by TDF ‘favourite favourite’ Gordon Johnson (!), and perform as an ever-shifting backdrop of current reads. Since we last checked in with Kate, she’s also found the artwork of her dreams: a Reko Rennie commission in ‘the most brilliant pink you’ve ever seen’, that Kate counts as her pride and joy!
Now that they’re here full time, Kate and Alex have been able to make some long-awaited changes to the place they now call home. ‘We have finally been able to “do” the garden – meaning our home is now as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside’ she says, working with an amazing local garden designer Jo Ferguson and gardener Corey and his team from Natural Outlook.
Enlisting the help of the couple’s close friend, interior designer Chelsea Hing, Kate and Alex have also opened up the back of the house and installed bi-fold doors, a big deck and a pergola – all built by David Johnson, who worked on the original upgrade of the house.
This is a home where detail is key. Kate’s eye-catching choice of bold colour and pattern, alongside a confident, eclectic collection of art, furniture and objects, have coalesced into a very special place for her young family.