Among the hotchpotch of old and new homes along Cottesloe’s prime beachside Marine Parade lurks one familiar house that has barely changed in a century.
With its glorious views and humble exterior, Bonavista is known to most Cottesloe locals as just “that beach bungalow on the corner.”
Perth homewares designer Anna Chandler and her husband Michael are its proud new owners.
“I’ve loved this house for years, never thinking one day I’d be living in it,” beams Anna, taking The Starfish on a guided tour.
“I love the genteel decrepitude of this room,” she ushers us into the lounge area. Looking out the window, we’re treated to unadulterated views of the Indian Ocean – though thankfully that eyesore of a sculpture loathed by many passers-by is just a little too far to the left.
Thanks to Anna’s beautiful tables and rugs from Morocco, Rajahstan, and other exotic lands, the home’s shabby interior is already looking much more alluring.
Since they moved in six weeks ago, “Everyone’s been asking us, what are you going to turn it in to? The answer is, we want it to stay how it is. Of course, we’ll make a few alternations but we’re certainly not going to knock it down!”. We’re really happy to retain the Cottesloe beach shack look!”
Anna’s first priority, apart from de-ratting the place, has been to tend to the garden. That’s when she’s not busy running her homewares business, Gypsiana (she recently moved her showroom from Osborne Park to O’Connor) or playing the ukulele (yes, she ‘s one of that merry bunch you see seated outside the Blue Duck strumming away on weekends).
“I’ve got so many ideas but we’re just going to take it slowly. Get a feel for the light, the view, and all the little ways a house changes through the seasons,” says Anna.
Built in 1907 by a Beverley farmer Alfred Isaac Hughes, it changed hands a few times over the decades.
“In the 70s, it was occupied by a Brady Bunch – seven kids when two divorced parents got together,” says Anna, who found out plenty about the house after doing research at The Grove Library.
She’s already crafted a new sign to hang on the gate out of driftwood saying Bonavista – the home’s original name – “It’s meant to be Italian for ‘beautiful view and it’s spelled wrongly but we’re keeping it the way it’s always been!” says Anna.
Starfish Photographs: Peter Rigby