The house was built to maximise the beach views. The original dwelling.

The new beach house.

Evan Gledhill and his wife, Maree, had a goal – to build a holiday house where they could handle the ebb and flow of visiting family. With five children, their five partners and 10 grandchildren, this would not be cheap. Fortunately, Gledhill, who previously headed a construction company, had a few thoughts on how he could build a solution.

In 2005, the couple, based primarily in the Hunter Valley, started hunting for a coastal block to buy. They looked at every beach between The Entrance in the north down as far as Pearl Beach in the south. What they found was a rundown three-bedroom shack on an elevated block in Wamberal. Price tag: $3,065,000.

”At the time, it was a good price,” Gledhill says. The original property had plumbing issues and was effectively uninhabitable, so the real work was still ahead.Digging in

Gledhill quickly realised renovating was out of the question.

”We looked at renovating but with the poor quality of the foundations and the new rules from council, it just wouldn’t have been worth it,” he says.

So he enlisted Andrew Vingilis of Corben Architects to draw up plans for a four-bedroom house, split between two pavilions, that would do justice to the beachside block.

With plans in hand, Gledhill took over. He wanted to build the house himself with the help of subcontractors but to do that he would have to be close by.

”I actually lived next door,” he says. ”The Catholic Church has an old hostel on the beach and they gave me a room in there for the year.”

As indicated by the cost breakdown, the first part of construction was the most expensive and most important aspect. Construction on a sand dune requires substantial digging in, and you can forget the traditional beach tools of a bucket and spade – Gledhill spent $176,000 driving foundations into the ground with a piledriver.

From then on, things went pretty smoothly for the building veteran, who has more than 30 years of experience under his belt.Sunny days

The end product is called ”Nautica” and it is a fusion of timber and stone that is both elegant and understated.

But as the name suggests, the house is not the star of the show. On an elevated block, the 180-degree ocean views from Forresters Beach to Terrigal Haven will grab your eye long before you notice things such as the designer kitchen, the sandstone fireplace or the 600-bottle cellar.

The finished house has allowed the couple to embrace a new lifestyle involving morning swims, walking their Labrador on the dog-friendly beach, frequenting the cafes of Terrigal and a whole lot of sitting back and looking at the view.

But logistics were also important to the couple, who wanted the house to be enjoyed by the whole family. That is why it is split into two pavilions – you can have two or more families staying in the same house, both in comfort and with a large degree of privacy.Moving on

Having had their time in the sun, the couple have decided to sell Wamberal and head back to the Hunter Valley permanently – though Gledhill is quick to point out that ”it’s not because we don’t like Wamberal; we love Wamberal”.

”Our children have moved to Sweden, Victoria and the Hunter Valley, so we don’t use the space as much,” he says.

The property is now listed for sale for more than $4.5 million through McGrath Central Coast.In a nutshell


Design and council approval: 10 months.

Construction: 12 months.

Land size 816 sq m.

Architect Andrew Vingilis – Corben Architects, 9904 1844.

Builder Owner-builder.

Green pointsDesigned to maximise natural light.Insulation and automatic aluminium louvres.Heat-pump hot-water system with two 3000-litre grey-water tanks servicing the toilets and laundry.A 20,000-litre rainwater tank for hosing and irrigation.Installation of fixed aluminium louvre blades and New Guinea rosewood shutters on the western elevation windows and a large, sail-covered area.

Favourite feature

Evan Gledhill says: ”The 180-degree views up and down the beach, they are beautiful. Also, the main thing for us was being away from the busy area of Terrigal but still within walking distance of the shops and cafes.”

Insider’s tip

Gledhill says: ”Select your architect and builder well. Check that the architect has done similar projects and that the builder has done the quality of work that you are looking for.”

What went right

The build came in on budget.

What went wrong

The market for coastal properties has readjusted since the couple’s purchase in 2005.Costs

Insurances $10,000

Architect $62,000

Civil and structural engineer $38,000

Geotechnical engineer $7000

Preliminaries $123,000

Demolition $11,000

Piling $176,000

Excavation $16,000

Concreter/ formwork/reo $198,000

Brick and blockwork $61,000

Structural steel $30,000

Metalwork $36,000

Automatic louvres $38,000

Mount White stonework $32,000

Carpentry $113,000

Joinery $98,000

Windows and doors $121,000

Door and window hardware $17,000

Roofer $108,000

Cement render $24,000

Plasterboard $92,000

Ceramic tiler $41,000

Glazier $6000

Stairs $15,000

Timber floors $31,000

Carpet $6000

Painter $49,000

Landscaping and water tanks $24,000

Plumbing and drainer $61,000

Airconditioning $46,000

Electrical $65,000

Security $6000

Total $1,761,000

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.