A big family with a love of the simple life have painted their little bach in the shades of the sea
Just how a family of seven can fit into a two-bedroomed bach is a wonder, but somehow interior designer Jackie Jones has made it work. She and husband Jeremy had been searching for somewhere special: it didn’t have to be big but it did need to be a holiday home where the couple’s blended family – Jeremy has two children, Sophie and Matt; Jackie has three daughters, Emily, Caitlin and Lucy – could make wonderful memories together. Last year, when they found this 16-year-old bach in Matarangi on the Coromandel peninsula, they knew it fitted the bill.
“We loved the layout with its open-plan living and, despite only having two bedrooms, it immediately felt spacious,” Jackie says. “The outside entertaining area is out the back and there is a lot of lawn for tents, too. We could see straight away that this place would work really well for our family.”
The dining area with its round table plus breakfast bar means that in winter or bad weather the family can all eat together comfortably. In good weather, they easily fit around the eight-seater outdoor table. It’s a similar story in the lounge, where everyone’s guaranteed a comfy seat thanks to a sofabed, an outdoor sofa and a pair of sea urchin-style poufs. “We can also turn the outdoor coffee table into an ottoman (a squab is housed underneath),” says Jackie.
“In summer we move the outdoor couch and coffee table onto the deck as we do most of our living outdoors anyway.” Sleeping-wise, the bach accommodates eight on beds (counting the sofabed) – and there are even mattresses for the floor if extras stay the night. When friends stay over this summer, the plan is that the kids will be in tents on the lawn while the adults sleep inside.
You won’t find any clutter in this bach either. Clean surfaces help add to the illusion of space. “Because it’s a bach and it’s small, we have been frugal with what we’ve included,” Jackie says. “Everything has a purpose and we have nothing excessive.”
This works well because the couple wanted to keep the bach’s aesthetic simple. Only a small amount of storage is needed inside. “Two large double wardrobes and a double laundry cupboard fit the bill and the kids each have a drawer for clothes. When it’s summer, all they need is togs and shorts anyway,” explains Jackie.
There is no television or wifi; being at the bach is all about being outside on bikes, shooting hoops, playing darts on the fence dartboard, or heading to the beach. A shed houses all the fun outdoor stuff: boogie boards, tents, buckets, spades and bikes, ready for any outdoor adventure the children want to dream up.
Despite being an interior designer, Jackie ‘broke the rules’ when it came to doing up the bach, arriving for the first working bee with pots of paint already purchased. “I am a firm believer in testing paint colours, but in this instance I just knew that Resene ‘Half Sea Fog’ was perfect!” she says.
Before the couple even took possession, Jackie was planning the striking dining-room feature wall. She and Jeremy painted every inch of the interior themselves over eight weekends, starting on day one. “With four coats on every wall, it was an epic task,” says Jackie. “Sometimes Jeremy would wake to find me painting at 6am – I just wanted to get it done!” As they finished an area, they’d bring in a trailerload of items to furnishit, tra nsforming the bach piece by piece.
Now, with all the hard work behind them, the couple can finally relax and let the good times roll as the family enjoys their first summer at their amazing beachside getaway.
Words by: Catherine Steel. Photography by: Helen Bankers.