A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

Interior designer Léo Terrando rents this incredible Bells Beach house (on Victoria’s Surf Coast) 10 years ago, which he shares with partner Jessica Watts

Believed to have been designed by acclaimed architect Kevin Borland in 1975, the house is characterised by vaulted timber ceilings that bring warmth and a distinctly eclectic character to its otherwise beachy feel.

‘The structural timber is entirely exposed and it follows the origami shape of the house, which means that the lighting – either natural or artificial – creates so many different contrasts and shadows,’ Léo says.

Léo was taken with the property’s unique design, as well as its awe-inspiring location set back from famous Bells Beach. ‘I love the fact that the house is away from everything,’ he says. ‘Being able to see the ocean from the house as well as hearing all the birds living in the area is truly magical.’

Most updates have been cosmetic only, such as updating the lighting fixtures throughout the home. ‘The lighting is so important for me, I have brought in so many different styles and types of lights, lamps, shades, from all different designers and eras,’ Léo says.

The home has also been painted inside and out, in colours including Dulux Milton Moon (in the living and dining room) with Dulux Klute, Dulux Luck and Dulux Vivid White in the kitchen and skirtings throughout.

The house has been a challenge to furnish due to its many windows – over 50 in total! To overcome this, and to balance out the extensive timber panelling, Léo has styled the space with an eclectic mix of free-standing furniture, and large indoor plants. Most of the furniture and accessories are 1960s and ‘70s Italian pieces, and alongside these are personal items that show off the couple’s personality, such as surfboards and bold, abstract artwork. 

Overall this home feels effortlessly cool, relaxed and unpretentious – just like its Bells Beach location. Léo says, ‘Waking up to kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and echidnas… It really feels like we are living in the middle of the forest.’ Living the dream!

This article has been updated. 

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