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Sea change: Inside this low-maintenance island oasis


Peter and Colleen Pringle always knew they wanted to retire somewhere coastal. So, after holidaying in Phillip Island for eight years, they finally decided to swap their family home in Mount Waverley for a breezy beachside abode in Cowes. Back then, Peter says, the island had a permanent population of about 6,000 but, since 2010, an influx of young families and retirees has seen that number swell to more than 10,000.

Taking the first step

Peter and Colleen decided to take advantage of the increasingly coveted Phillip Island postcode and, a few years after making the sea change, decided it was time to build their dream home. They purchased a block of land in the then newly opened Seagrove Estate and, after searching far and wide for a design that captured their vision, stumbled across Metricon’s Chelsea 33.

“We had been looking at local builders but they couldn’t come up with a design we wanted,” Peter recalls. “Then friends of ours who had built three houses previously with Metricon suggested we look at them. We saw this design online and loved it straight away so we drove all the way to Mernda so see it in real life. We knew as soon as we walked in that it was going to be our house.”

Laidback, low maintenance living

It was the Chelsea's simple, single-storey floorplan and light-filled living spaces that captured Peter and Colleen’s attention. As retirees, they were looking for something easy and low-maintenance, but also with plenty of space to relax, entertain or accommodate guests.

Peter and Colleen share their eclectic Phillip Island abode with their fur baby, Bam, a two-year old rescue dog. Their two children also like to stay with them over the holidays, so they wanted a flexible design that would give house guests a little added privacy.

“These days the master bedroom is always up the front of the house,” Colleen says. “But we wanted a design where the master was positioned at the back of the house so that we could have zoned living at the front for when the kids come to stay.”

“Colleen also really wanted a butler’s pantry,” Peter adds, winking. “And a whole room just for her sewing.”

Another non-negotiable was that the floorplan had to cater to the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that has become so synonymous with seaside living. “We spend a lot of time outside so that flow was really important for us,” Colleen says.

They also made sure there was enough room out the back for Peter’s man cave, where his collection of diecast cars is proudly on display, as well as along the side of the house to store the boat, which he enjoys taking out on fishing expeditions.

Designing a lifestyle

Being their dream home, they didn’t want to make sacrifices so Peter and Colleen invested in upgrades and additional inclusions, such as double glazing, under-floor heating and extra roof insulation, as well aesthetic features like wall cut outs and tiles all the way to the ceiling in the bathrooms. “We wanted to splash out and really enjoy it,” Colleen says.

And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing since they moved in nearly three years ago. Year round, you’ll find Peter and Colleen enjoying breakfast on their covered outdoor patio, or tending to their verdant garden which, on this day, is in full bloom. The sweet scent of citrus floats on the air thanks to myriad lemon and orange trees, vibrant rose bushes form a neat hedge along the sun-soaked timber decking, grapevines crawl along the metal awnings that frame the master bedroom and passionfruit vines climb along the back fence, where a gate opens onto an old fire track that leads to the beach.

Community appeal

“There are a lot of retirees coming to the island so there is a really strong community feel down here,” Peter says. “We’ve seen a distinct change from Phillip Island being a sleepy little holiday place to quite a sophisticated coastal destination.”

“There are also lots of coffee shops,” Colleen adds, their favourite being The Waterboy, where they go most days for their morning caffeine hit. “It’s a great place to live.”

From the moment they made the decision to build to receiving the keys to their finished home, Peter and Colleen say the experience with Metricon was seamless. “We never had one single issue,” Peter recalls. “During the building process, we were lucky because we were living just around the corner so we were here every day, taking photos of every stage. Our site manager was reliable and our tradies were all great. I can’t think of anything that I would say Metricon should have done that better.”

For more interior design or style inspiration, visit one of our award-winning display homes, or check out our style gallery, where you can save and organise all your favourite Metricon home designs.