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A Refined and Welcoming Australian Home by the Ocean

by Lauren Chorpening

Tours don’t get much happier, brighter or more lush and green than it did in the Smack Bang studio tour. The historical building paired with approachable, modern design felt alive and inspiring. Smack Bang’s owner, Tess Robinson, hasn’t just created a stunning work environment for herself and her team — her remarkable house has also been outfitted with beautiful furniture, artwork and minimal obstructions to the immaculate views.

Tess Robinson and her partner, Byron Smith, Founder of Urban Growers, moved into this 1950s bungalow eight months ago. This seaside home in Sydney, Australia’s Bronte is a dream come true. Everything from the location, to the light, to the detached guesthouse makes this house the gem that it is and it has changed the way Tess and Byron live. “The location was quite honestly too good to be true. Our home is situated right on the Bronte cliffs overlooking Sydney’s magical Eastern coastline. Waking up with the Pacific Ocean at our doorstep every morning has changed my life and the way I begin my day,” Tess says. The home was only enhanced by the careful selection of furniture and decorative items brought in by Tess and Byron.

While they’ve only been in their rental for eight months, the couple has thoughtfully decorated and designed each room of their home. “We wanted to create a relaxed, welcoming and liveable space while staying true to the home’s 50s-retro heritage. Our home is full of an eclectic mix of treasures we have collected on our travels along the way,” Tess says. “It is also jam-packed with beautiful plants and an abundance of foliage.” Tess and Byron’s designers’ eyes have gone a long way in this home. The original character of the house has been sweetly honored while reflecting the chill, modern aesthetic Tess and Byron share. This home has it all — including a cute family to love it well. –Lauren

Photography by Ashley Natasha Jones

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The windows, greenery (inside and out) and natural color palette make Tess and Byron's living room feel like an extension of the backyard.
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The furniture in the 1950s Californian style bungalow suits the architecture while still appearing modern and bright.
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The dining area is part of the main living area. Warm wood tones and greenery bring life into the room.
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"We love collecting pieces for our adventures, rather than hitting the shops and stocking up. There are still a number of amazing pieces I've got sitting in my cart from Etsy sellers and boutique stores, but I guess the key is figuring out what will last throughout trends and fads," Tess says.
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From the main living space, the home branches off to the kitchen and then bedrooms down the hall.
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"The most challenging part of our home is the kitchen - we would love to have a new gas oven," Tess says. " As much as we love our old retro kitchen, it is a little hard to perfect the Sunday roasts!"
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The spare bedroom in the main house is a sleek take on bohemian design.
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Each piece that has found its way into their home is well-loved and was thoughtfully considered before purchase. Being this selective has allowed Tess and Byron to decorate their home seamlessly.
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Tess and Byron's master bedroom is a bright, inviting and restful space. Natural wood tones, white, and green plants make up the color palette in this room.
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The fun architectural details like the windows in the master bedroom are the types of elements that Tess and Byron love to embrace. Their end-of-the-bed baskets nod at the retro qualities of the space.
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The mid-century modern credenza adds storage and surface to the fairly minimal room.
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"I am most thankful for the beautiful people in our lives that fill our home. There is certainly no shortage of love and laughter! Our home is full of adventure, creativity and chaos and I wouldn't have it any other way," Tess says.
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"It is very important to both Byron and I to incorporate natural greenery into our work and living spaces whenever we can," Tess says.
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"Our home is blue. The exterior is painted in the most beautiful, bright - yet surprisingly calming - sky blue. It's an absolute dream," Tess says.
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Tess and Byron's view from their patio is idyllic.
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Tess and Byron enjoying their perfect view of Sydney and the Pacific Ocean.
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One of Tess and Byron's favorite things about their home is the separate guesthouse that they have turned into an Airbnb.
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The large room is divided up into sections to give guests all the amenities possible within four walls.
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The living area is decorated with a minimalist approach to bohemian-coastal style.
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The small kitchenette makes this guest house a true studio apartment. The inside and outside of this little getaway are done so perfectly. Their guests will never want to leave.
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Tess's love for vintage, unique pieces isn't just contained in her main home.
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"Our home is a 1950s retro abode with beautiful views of the ocean, great natural light and an abundance of greenery," Tess says.
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Airbnb guests and friends of Tess and Byron get to enjoy their own piece of the oasis right outside the guesthouse door.
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Tess and Byron's floor plan.

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