Coastal Living for Less with Scottish Interior Sensation Colin and Justin

Australia is really the lucky country when it comes to our luscious landscapes and seaside lifestyles, so it’s no wonder our obsession with coastal design is one of the most popular interior looks on our DIY to-do list. We caught up with Colin and Justin when they came to RESCU HQ for an exclusive interview (coming soon!) to reveal their ultimate home design secrets on making your cosy abode into a coastal castle.

As much as we enjoy lavishing our client homes with indulgent spend whenever budget permits, we also enjoy dramatic results when our paymasters wallets are somewhat restrained. As we often maintain, it’s not how much money we spend, but how we spend it that makes the biggest difference and, for many reasons (upon which we’ll shortly extrapolate), today’s before and after is perfect testament to this premise. Pre-transformation, the dowdy bedroom bore all the appeal of the cabin in Wolf Creek, and we’re sure you recall the horror quotient of that particular movie.


The grim space desperately needed our input and we, of course, were happy to help. Before settling at our drawing boards, however, we listened intently to the wishes of our clients, a lovely young couple who aspired to an eminently lighter and fresher life. Being that they didn’t have access to a cottage, they hoped we could somehow imbue their ramshackle city home with a little rustic flair. And so it came to pass that, with a little auspicious planning, careful shopping and an eye trained firmly on budget, we pulled off another minor miracle.

So why stripes? Well, aside from the fact we love ’em, stripes have almost universal appeal. To some they conjure up images of bright, jaunty deck chairs set out on warm sunny beaches. To others they typify the sartorial restraint of business suits; all professional reserve and orderly decorum. To kids, stripes suggest candy and fun.

Whenever we compose our schemes, there’s generally a stripe somewhere; in a bold wallpaper, for example, as a subtle detail in an elegant floor rug or a simple whisper in a single toss pillow launched onto an accent chair as a final embellishment.


Style explanations aside, let’s look again at the economics of this scheme. We didn’t remove any walls. We laid a natural sea grass floor instead of expensive lumber. We bought a “gently used” bed frame. And we farmed linens from the affordable fields of Ikea. Oh yes, and we used paint; lots of it.

We caught up with Colin and Justin when they came to RESCU HQ for an exclusive interview (coming soon!) to reveal their ultimate home design secrets on making your cosy abode into a coastal castle. Here’s their six top tips on transforming your home from drab to fab:

Make Good the Bad

Come on guys; slow down. Don’t throw yourselves at a job unless you’re 100 per cent ready to tackle the undertaking with gusto; it makes far more sense to wait until budget and time are perfectly in tandem. Stopping and starting, mid project, makes little sense to us. Before moving ahead we fix every problem and we make good all surfaces. Be under no illusion; in the world of C&J, even the simplest jobs are afforded the most critical scrutiny.

In this instance, our team carefully removed the dated wood wall paneling and then the textured finish from the ceiling. This done, new drywall and two coats of brilliant white paint were applied to provide a clean palette upon which to impose our brand new look.

Get the Layout Right

Beds generally look best when positioned centre stage rather than stuffed in a corner like our clients previous box spring. Opting for “centre stage” provides immediate focus and enough space to flank it with nightstands and lamps. Positioning a comfy sofa and a gnarly table in the solarium delineate it as a tempting seating nook, beset with lashings of hotel-like comfort. If your space is tighter, scale down to a loveseat or perhaps a comfy chaise longue. The Ektorp three seater featured here is from Ikea branches across Australia.

Low Cost High Style

We purchased a pine four poster from a second hand store – pine, as a genus, is much more affordable than oak or mahogany and, as such, the naughty, sorry, knotty $250 bed frame made a perfect starting point.  To provide exciting new identity, we sanded the frame to remove the factory sprayed lacquer before re-colouring it with two coats of white satin finish. The next stage in our reinvention was the addition of yellow banding in selected areas. To achieve this look we used masking tape and a small foam roller. Ah! Cool summery looks without breaking the bank.

Stripe It Out

Having discovered inexpensive yellow bedding in Ikea (it was this, in fact, that inspired our striped bed), we embarked upon a simple project. Buying a total of three sets, we kept one to dress the bed and took the others to a seamstress who used them to create Roman blinds, measured neatly into the window apertures. If you scan our back catalogue, you’ll observe that we don’t generally match window coverings to bed coverings; however, as the simple striped pattern is sufficiently low key, and because the sets were so affordable (much cheaper than buying stock fabric from elsewhere), we decreed it a sensible route.

Feel It

Textures like coir, sea grass and jute immediately impart a whiff of Ralph Lauren beach-style atmosphere, especially when teamed with signature stripes to bolster the look. What’s more, their beautiful style notes add an extra tactile dimension.  For further inspiration, browse the celebrated RL Magazine online at Prepare to swoon and lust . . .

 Add Coastal Motifs

As is often the case, it’s at final layering stage that projects start to properly “breathe.” When detailing this scheme, for example, we spelled out our decorative objectives with simple artwork, shell pictures (matted in yellow to match the bedding), driftwood sculptures and a chunky wooden table, all of which provide a nod to everything coastal.

Hopefully you’ll be inspired by our zesty project but, if yellow’s not your bag, don’t panic; here are some simple alternatives. Perhaps our coastal vibe might better float your boat were you to substitute our sunny tone for baby blue? Or perhaps soft washy green? If you fancy amplifying drama, it would be similarly easy; replace our yellow specification with red. To complete the look, add a few shots of cobalt blue via toss pillows and throws and, hey presto! Ralph Lauren eat your heart out. Design flexibility, huh? Leave it to us.

Catch Colin & Justin on Channel 10’s The Living Room during March as they transform Australia’s ‘daggiest’ homes into simple palaces of perfection… 

Follow Colin and Justin on Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook, or catch them at the Reed Gift Fairs, Sydney and Life Instyle, Sydney 2015.  

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