pambula beach house, pambula beach, new south wales

Penny and Pete wrote to me about their project. A long letter from left field. They had seen a postcard advertising the excellent architect’s talk series David Sequeira organised at Canberra’s NGA. It showed an image of my Haslingden House and they pinned it on their fridge! Their interest was piqued because they were on the hunt for an architect for a great sloping site they had just purchased overlooking Pambula Beach on New South Wales far south coast. But to be honest, the long letter kind of scared me off. I don’t think they were very happy with my reply so they rolled up on my Merimbula doorstep unannounced one evening. 18 years later we still laugh about this early introduction. And together over the years we’ve twice added to the house. It feels very comfortable and very finished now. At last Pen got a decent bathroom and Pete got the bath with a view he’d craved for a lifetime. There’s a ‘book’ in the drama involved in getting council approval for this little house. To cut a long story short, fate intervened when the entire Bega Valley Shire Council were sacked and an administrator was put in place. I approached the administrator with the long, boring and unbelievable story of why the council staff wouldn’t approve my design. The design completely satisfied all of the development control plans but the council planners just didn’t like it. The administrator realising council would be wasting their time and money at the Land and Environment Court, totally supported us and granted approval there and then on the spot. From that day on this little house has been the source of great wonder and fun, heartache and happiness. Be careful and considerate with letters you receive from strangers. You never know what magical mysteries those words may unfold!