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This coastal-inspired family home in Sydney’s Hills District – complete with a pool, outdoor entertaining area and tropical garden – was a dream that became reality after five years of planning.

Hamptons meets the hills

For Bonnie Hindmarsh, co-founder of Three Birds Renovations, creating her dream family home was a “once-in-a-lifetime” project that would inspire a relaxed outdoor lifestyle. “We bought this house five years ago, knowing that it needed a major renovation,” says Bonnie. “We wanted to build our forever home – the one where we can raise our four boys and not grow out of.” [CB1] For beach-loving Bonnie, this meant bringing a few key coastal style elements to the five-acre block in Sydney’s Hills District.

Bonnie’s vision was for a ‘Modern Coastal Barn’ – creating a coastal lifestyle despite living 30km from the ocean. “My husband grew up on a farm in the Southern Highlands, I love the outdoors and with four boys it suited us to live on acreage,” says Bonnie. “So it’s really the perfect combo of coast and country for us.” The ‘modern’ element meant clean lines, fuss-free features and hardwearing materials.

“This project really brings together all the inspiration and knowledge I’ve gained over the years,” says Bonnie. Her reno go-tos for a dream outdoor space included HardieDeck™ – “It shows up in every house we do!” – as well as plantation shutters, French doors and a servery to create a seamless indoor/outdoor transition.


Bonnie's dream home brings together her love of the coastal and country style in a modern resort-inspired home.

The outdoor lifestyle

When designing her dream coastal home, an outdoor resort-inspired area was always going to be the top of mind for Bonnie, who wanted a home that made her feel like she was on holidays year-round. “We made the pool front and centre of the alfresco area, which is surrounded by HardieDeck,” she says. To one side of the pool Bonnie and the Three Birds created a sunken lounge area, filled with soft cushions that’s perfect for relaxing with a coffee or a cocktail while Bonnie watches her boys play in the pool. “We’ve also got an outdoor kitchen with plenty of seating at the island bench and dining table to feed the troops,” Bonnie says. Tucked away on the other side of the pool is a seated lounge area centred around an outdoor wood fire and hanging day bed, creating the perfect adults retreat for lazy summer days spent outdoors.


Bonnie wanted her dream home to have a resort-inspired feel so she felt on holidays all year round!

An outdoor oasis

Around the perimeter of the house, HardieDeck™ was used to create a boardwalk from the front verandah to the pool deck at the back. Made from premium fibre cement, this moisture-resistant decking is an ideal timber alternative for pool and spa areas. It is also a great option for families who love to spend time outdoors as it won’t splinter or become springy underfoot from exposure to the sun and heat. “We can’t wait for warmer weather to open all the doors out onto the pool deck and outdoor kitchen,” says Bonnie.[CB2] 

The garden was a big part of bringing Bonnie’s ‘modern coastal barn’ vision to life, a simple white palette providing the perfect backdrop for frangipanis and palm trees in the two internal courtyards. “These plants have always screamed coastal resort to me, so I knew I needed to be able to glimpse them from every window to feel like I’m on holiday at home,” she says.

While HardieDeck™ can be sealed in almost any colour for a customised look, Bonnie chose to keep the raw colour rather than paint it, using a durable clear sealer for a low maintenance finish. “Lucky for me the natural colour was perfect for my colour scheme,” says Bonnie. “It couldn’t be better suited to the tiles, pool surrounds and the weatherboard.”


Bonnie chose to keep the raw colour of HardieDeck rather than paint it, using a durable clear sealer for a low maintenance finish.

Built to last

Materials were chosen not only for style, but also for safety and longevity. “I love the durability and the fact that HardieDeck low maintenance, but the performance fibre-cement is perfect for the BAL40 rating of my home,” says Bonnie. “We were building in a high-risk fire zone which meant these James Hardie products totally fitted the bill. They were really the only choice for my home and were no compromise at all as they’re such amazing products.”