Interior designer Kate Cooper’s savvy renovation has reimagined this ’70s Sunshine Beach home as a contemporary Airbnb haven.

Photography Rikki Lancaster / Words Pip Miller


When opportunity knocked in the form of a 1970s beach house, interior designer Kate Cooper answered, transforming the home at Queensland’s Sunshine Beach into a covetable holiday oasis.

From the outset, Kate could see that the home’s good bones and plum location – only one street from the beach – had all the right ingredients for an Airbnb. It had been relatively well maintained but was in need of some creative attention.


“I loved the beach house style with raked ceilings and exposed rafters,” Kate recalls. “The existing layout worked well too, apart from the lack of laundry in the main house and the configuration of the bathroom.”

The initial scope of works included the addition of a laundry, a new kitchen, a more spacious bathroom, feature lights and fresh paint. “But,” says Kate, “once we started on the project we realised that we wanted to do so much more to this cute beach cottage.”

When a number of unexpected challenges popped up, requiring that they replace the deck, remove asbestos and change the guttering, they powered on regardless. And when Kate’s original plan to bleach the existing mixed hardwood floor didn’t work out, they opted for an oak engineered timber floor instead – “an extra expense,” says Kate, “but totally worth it, as it gives such a great feel when you walk in the door.”

Other changes during the four-month renovation included new architraves, higher profile skirting, and replacing internal doors and hardware.


“Our bathroom barn-door slider is not only great to look at – it also allowed the bathroom to have much-needed space that a swing door just didn’t allow.”

Kate’s budget was guided by the design brief. “I wanted to create a boutique holiday home. Although it’s a small house, the detail and design elements meant that we had to spend extra money to get the desired finish.”


She says that designing with Airbnb in mind involved considering first impressions and homely touches. “I wanted the beach house to be different as soon as people walk through the front door – we chose a blue Dutch door with amazing brass lighting either side.”

A well-equipped kitchen was also crucial for this home away from home. Along with all the necessary utensils and appliances, Kate installed a “stylish and space-saving” Fisher & Paykel studio pack – a small cooktop with oven and integrated dishwasher below it.

Other design decisions revolved around the practical needs of holidaymakers. The home’s light-coloured flooring and rugs hide beach sand, and the indoor/outdoor fabric covering the sofa and bench seat were chosen for durability. “I also created open robes, so guests have somewhere to sit their suitcase, hang up any clothes and access them easily throughout their stay,” explains Kate.

With no detail overlooked, this cleverly transformed beachside gem is now offering Airbnb guests a stylish, comfortable space to relax and enjoy the Sunshine Coast’s idyllic lifestyle.


Love this home? You can stay at Maison, Sunshine Beach. Check out the Airbnb listing by clicking here.


Want to see this home in print? You’ll find the full home tour in our Renovation edition, available through newsagents and our online shop. Click here to buy.