This contemporary coastal cottage uses AquaLife flooring


Prepare to be amazed by the textured, hard-wearing and durable AquaLife floor throughout this home on the NSW Central Coast

A home without adequate flooring is like a foot without a shoe. It looks okay for a while, but things get messy (maybe even a little mangy and smelly) quicker than you can say, “Where’s the mop and bucket?” Thankfully, keen renovators Rachael and Andrew Gowling from Lover Dreamers have good taste in footwear and even better taste in flooring providers. Enlisting Flooring Xtra to handle all their underfoot needs, Rachael and Andrew are a creative couple with veteran status in the construction industry (with this being their third build and definitely not their last). The accomplished renovators chose the Central Coast of NSW as the location for their next project: a four-bedroom single-level home where the Gowling tribe can stretch out, run around and generally live happy, hectic lives without feeling cramped. Joining them on their journey to domestic bliss was interior designer James Treble. “The home is full of textural elements and soft contrast, resulting in a relaxing space that is stylish yet completely practical for its seaside location and very liveable for a young family,” says James.

The local environment was considered when deciding on the style of structure to be erected. With the waterfront lapping the end of the street, a coastal cottage theme seemed appropriate. “We wanted to create a home that was modern but still had character and fitted in with the older cottages that remain in this little fishing village,” says Rachael, who admits she always dreamed of building a cottage-style home with a dark exterior, a dream that has become reality thanks to the use of Scyon Linea weatherboard cladding. Unlike timber, this external covering will not warp under salty seaside conditions.

Looking to downsize from the previous homes they had built together, the pair have designed a no-fuss interior where storage is king and upkeep is minimal. With two small children to consider, flooring was always going to be a crucial element of the design.

“Rachael and Andrew wanted a product that would not only look and feel good, but one that could also cope with water, so selecting the right product was an important decision,” explains James. “The AquaLife range selected in colour ‘Tamar Valley Oak’ from Flooring Xtra provides a wonderful rich texture that beautifully emulates the look of natural timber, but as it comes with an IXPE rubber backing it is completely water-resistant while offering great acoustic benefits.” Representing the latest advancements in hard flooring, the experts at Flooring Xtra describe the range as the “next generation of hybrid flooring that combines the best features of a laminate floating floor and luxury vinyl planks into one durable and cost-effective solution.” AquaLife floors deflect scratches and scuffs easily with the help of a commercial-grade wear layer reinforced with aluminium oxide. Being waterproof, they work well in all areas of the home.

In the bedrooms, the Gowlings can sink their feet into plush 100 per cent natural wool loop pile Stockholm selected in colour ‘Kalmar’ from the Urban Instinct Range exclusive to Flooring Xtra. “We wanted a strong colour and texture contrast from the hard floor surface to our soft and comfy carpet in the bedrooms,” says Rachael. James adds, “The rich loop pile provides an additional bold textural element for the floor in a very natural earthy colour palette while complementing the timber-look flooring which it flows off to create a welcoming and nurturing space.”

Dunlop EnviroTred underlay was fitted beneath the carpet. Absorbing the rough and tumble of family life, the underlay will keep the carpet in tip-top condition and cushion impacts that would otherwise damage or compromise the quality and consistency of the flooring. The high-quality underlay is 100-per-cent recyclable and constructed using 90-per cent-recycled materials, so not only is it good for the home, its full lifecycle is not harmful to the environment.

Like all grand designs, the small details are as impressive as the larger ones. In this case, everything from the matt black door hardware and locally custom-made linen cupboard handles to the barn light on the porch and the anchor knocker on the front door has been selected to complement the coastal cottage theme and inject personality into the home. Louvre windows, large corner cavity sliding doors and a pitched ceiling combine to enhance the perception of space in the living room.

But ultimately, the floors are the stars of this charming abode, and James has offered some advice to those hoping to emulate this flooring masterstroke in their own homes. “For anyone else planning on undertaking a new build experience, as well as home renovators, research is key to your success,” he comments. “Plan your spaces, consider your finishes and always talk with the experts, especially when it comes to important finishes such as your flooring. Drop into a Flooring Xtra showroom even if it’s in your initial design stages, as they can help steer you in the right direction for the flooring in your new home, ensuring you make the right decision.”

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