Interior designer Claire Larritt-Evans of Larritt-Evans and her partner Scott Larritt, owner and creative director of Swear Words, had been searching for a property in Rye for four years before purchasing a site (over the phone!) in 2021.
‘We spend a lot of time in the Rye back beaches and love its understated, quiet and humble vibe’, says Claire. ‘It’s easy to access from Melbourne and close to all things we love about the Peninsula — Red Hill wineries, mountain biking, fishing and hot springs.’
The couple engaged The Sociable Weaver to design a sustainable, healthy home connected to the surrounding environment.
‘For this home, it was always about slowing down and connecting to nature,’ explains Claire. ‘There are stars and sounds here that don’t exist in Melbourne. It’s about slowing down and listening to the sounds of the birds and the ocean, leaning into the peace and quiet.’
Striking a balance of being detailed and elevated, while also feeling approachable and relaxed was also important to Claire.
The resulting interior spaces are calm and restful with a restrained palette of gentle greens, warm whites, light timber tones and texture. This understated palette switches to fully-drenched colour application when you enter the main bedroom, painted in a muted grey-green that connects the space to the trees and landscaping outside.
‘The landscaping was the most challenging part of the project,’ says Claire. ‘Scott and I did all of it ourselves, although this was not the original plan, as we had used our landscaping budget on the build.’
Aiming to emulate the planting they see on their walks in the National Park at 16th Beach, Claire and Scott sourced everything from the local nursery five minutes down the road and spent their weekends creating the coastal-inspired garden.
Originally considering a sea-change, Claire and Scott first intended this house to become their family home, but after a change of circumstances, they decided to pivot and transform the home into short stay accommodation instead. ‘We just love the house and the area so much, we want to share it with others.’ says Claire.
There’s certainly a lot to love. ‘If it’s cold it’s all about fire, slow cooking outdoors around the firepit or having a glass of wine by the open fire in the lounge,’ explains Claire. ‘If it’s warm, all the doors are open and we’re eating fresh seafood outside. We visit the walking tracks, beaches, wineries, mountain bike tracks and farm gates on every visit. There’s something for everyone in every season.’
The home, dubbed ‘Nerissa’, even has its very own playlist curated especially to encourage those calm days and cosy nights Claire loves so much.