Another Special Guest: A Beach Cottage

By Kate Riley June 22, 2010

Hello everyone, I have another special guest visiting this week, Sarah of A Beach Cottage.  I found Sarah last year, and I have been following her for many months.  I adore Sarah’s beach style, her stunning photography, and magazine worthy mantel and tablescapes.  You’ll love reading about her life story and how she and her family picked up and moved from the busy city life of London across the globe to the beaches of Australia.  I’m sure there are many who would love to do the same !

Please enjoy this conversation with my friend from down under, Sarah of A Beach Cottage

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, how you ended up moving from England to Sydney!

 sarah vintage bottles

I am Sarah, owner of a tumbledown old cottage on the beaches of Sydney, Australia. mother of three, wife to one, seaside taxi-driver.  

We moved to Sydney for a sea-change and a new life in the sun, we had gotten fed up of the commuter life in London where much time was spent on the motorway and the weekdays had become a grind.

We wanted a warm climate and a healthy outdoor lifestyle for our children – moving to Sydney and a new life on the beaches has given us that and much more. 



Q:  How would you describe your decorating style?  

My decorating style has been described as, among other things, ‘coastal chic’ though I often think of it as ‘vintage beach’  . . . it came about as I decorated this old cottage with a vintage feel similar to the English country look I had previously loved. 

Because of the warm Australian sun and bright colours everywhere outside, the old chintzy look and big old bright roses didn’t really work, and I found I wanted a cool and calm sanctuary at the end of the day. 

sarah white pitcher rustic console

So I combined the things I love from the cottage look with a more coastal vibe . . . bare floorboards, coir rugs, vintage furniture with an old faded patina and of course the odd nautical stripe.

 Q:  You and I share a passion for fixing up old things, and often painting them white.  What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve revamped to suit your style?

I have revamped almost everything we own from things I have found at flea markets and garage-saling or on the side of the road.  I just love how that gives me a unique and personal home with things with a history rather than a flat-packed version of the local homewares store.

One of my favourite pieces is an old coffee table found on the side of the road and now in our family room.  It was just what I was looking for as it was weathered and worn with bangs and dings to the top…I cleaned it up and re-vamped it with my tried and tested zap of hand-mixed beachy white, not only does it fit right in but it suits the kids -  they can do whatever they like to it, no worries !

sarah coffee table

I also have an old cupboard shipped over from England, and one of the first things I ever revamped and a huge old sea trunk shipped out here by refugees from Hungary just after the war and found by me at a garage sale.  I use these to display vintage finds and they provide ever-changing little corners of my home that I love.

Q:  As a busy mom of three, how do you find time to write a successful blog and balance the responsibilities of motherhood ?  

sarah vintage bottles up close Ooh that is a big question! 

I think first and foremost I enjoy my blog and it has become part of me and us as a family which naturally makes the balance easier – my children are often involved in my projects and we share the fun…

My blog gives me a special place for me to fulfill my passion for old vintage finds, neglected furniture and making the best of our cottage right now and I think my kids know and appreciate that. 

When I started the blog I was a little bit disillusioned with our first Australian home, I was burnt-out from the real renovations and wondering if it would ever be the home with that old beach house ambiance I had dreamed of. 

Through blogging about it I began to see this old place with very different eyes, focused on its potential and the reasons we had bought it – the wood floors, the big old fig tree out the back, the old sash windows. . .bathed in sunshine and near the sea. . .and from then on it’s been a party of white paint and vintage furniture!

I balance my blog with my kids mainly by blogging most of the time when they are at school, though I often do the actual writing at the end of the day, sitting on the sofa with my laptop or out on the deck when all is calm and quiet.  And because all of my kiddos are pretty active with sport I would say that from 3pm till 8pm I am on mummy duties interspersed with the odd email here and there.


sarah oar rack

I also think my blog shows the good parts, in fact the very best parts so the balance isn’t in reality perfect in real life… like every other mother to do my thing and be a mum some other things fall by the wayside…I am constantly faced with piles of laundry, a lived in home complete with kiddos mess and washing up…it certainly isn’t always perfect in Beach Cottage land!

Q:  What are some of your favorite things, and what makes you most happy ?

Some of my favourite things are the things I find on my treasure hunting adventures. . .I have an incessant passion currently for old glass bottles and constantly find myself yearning for them at any given time.   I also absolutely love vintage suitcases, there is just something about having them dotted around the place. . .hinting of travelers from days gone by.  Old ladders and oars are high up there on my list of things I collect too at the moment and the tall, weathered wooden ladder propped up in my Sitting Room, found while thrifting, makes me smile.

sarah table and flowers

At the moment living on the beaches of Sydney makes me most happy and I have to pinch myself sometimes and count my lucky starts that I am doing what I am doing now . . . being there for my kids, dabbling with white paint, searching for vintage finds and making new friends and discovering new avenues through my blog.


swirl snip

Thank you Sarah for visiting today !  Don’t you love Sarah’s mix of vintage finds, fresh beachy whites, and natural elements?   Proof that the simplest things in life are best !  

Pop on over to visit Sarah at her Beach Cottage in Australia sometime soon – I’m sure you’ll be a fast follower too.


  1. Im having the same problem with the links…

    I love love love the pics and would love to check out the blog!!!

  2. Beautiful :) I love the last picture also. You have such a beautiful and inviting home. Thanks for sharing. Now off to meet Sarah at A Beach Cottage :)

  3. Kate- thanks so much for doing these features and introducing us to more fantistic bloggers. Yours is (and likely) will be my favorite so I often wonder who some of your favorites are too.

    PS – on another note- is there a search option somewhere on your site to look up old postings? I often find myself thinking of old things you’ve posted and sometimes have a hard time locating them… like today I finally ended up just googling “mirror mate and centsational girl” to get that posting!

  4. I loved her blog. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing. It is always fun to make new friends. Have a great week. Love & blessings from NC!

  5. Beautiful pictures. She displays things wonderfully. So clean, crisp and timeless.

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