A backyard studio that can be used as a guest house, home office, holiday letting or perhaps, a permanent dwelling for elderly parents or an older child, is now seen as somewhat of a necessity, with many of us working from home, embracing multi-generational living or looking to make some extra income where we can.
Kyal and Kara have incorporated their own self-contained haven into their dream family home, with plans to use the studio as accommodation for friends and family that come to stay from interstate and possibly list it on Airbnb when it's not in use.
Wideline stacker doors slide right into the wall cavity, creating a seamless connection to the outdoors.
"We have a large family, many of whom live interstate, and it's so nice to have somewhere for everyone to stay, spread out and enjoy time with us and explore where we live," says Kara.
"Secondly, when we're not using the guest house, we holiday let the space," she adds. "We've done this for almost four years now. It's a great source of income, and we love hearing of families and couples coming to stay and enjoying everything our local beaches, cafes and restaurants have to offer."
An arched entryway into the bedroom creates a sense of drama.
High ceilings, a neutral colour palette, sky lights and sliding glass doors make the space feel light and open.
High ceilings, a neutral colour palette, sky lights and sliding glass doors allow for plenty of natural light, helping to make the space feel bright, breezy and open.
Custom-made cabinetry and floating timber shelf by Loughlin Furniture provide ample storage in the kitchen.
"The sliding doors as you enter the guest house stack all the way back into the wall," says Kara. Opening the door onto the deck and private courtyard instantly doubles the living area and brings the outdoors in."
"From a storage perspective, we've aimed to maximise space by running the kitchenette cabinetry all the way to the ceiling. As a 'short stay' space we've created some drawers, a bench for bags and a hanging rail for clothes."
A wall hanging by Woven Husk makes a statement in the bedroom. Round leather pendant lights in Khaki, from Bisque Traders. Organic Canvas King Pillowcase, from Pony Rider.
In place of a full wardrobe, Kyal and Kara have included drawers, a bench for bags and a hanging rail for clothes.
Although the guest house is technically a studio, an arched walkway with curtains allows guests to separate the bedroom from the living and kitchen area to create some privacy.
"We wanted to create a bedroom 'zone', but not completely close of the bedroom with a wall, says Kara. The curtains and arch provide drama and a sense of luxury."
Aurora Linen Dimout Curtains from DIY Blinds create privacy in the bedroom while accentuating the high ceilings.
The ensuite bathroom has a luxurious, hotel feel and, with the sky lights and light neutral tones creating a heightened sense of space.
"The Loughlin Oak timber vanity is such a feature as you first enter the bathroom and the plus side is, there is loads of storage inside," says Kara.
Natural light floods into the bathroom thanks to two strategically placed Velux skylights. All tiles from Beamount Tiles.
The Kyal & Kara x Loughlin Furniture Angourie Vanity and Alura Arch mirror, give the ensuite bathroom a bespoke feel, as does the Sensa by Cosentino countertop in 'Taj Mahal'.
Organic finishes, handmade décor and considered design throughout, give the studio an intimate and peaceful ambience – exactly what you want in any form of guest accommodation.
Outside, a private deck featuring a curved concrete bench seat is shaded by a mature frangipani tree that Kyal and Kara went to great lengths to preserve during the construction process.
The deck has been enclosed with vertical timber panelling to make it feel like a private oasis.
The curved concrete benchseat adds to the 'Mediterranean villa' aesthetic.
"The rendered benchseat amplifies the seating area and helps create the 'Mediterranean villa' style vibes that we were after," says Kyal.
With the beach just a stone's throw away, Kyal and Kara have created an idyllic seaside escape in their own backyard.
An outdoor shower is essential when you're this close to the beach.
Kyal and Kara's top tips for designing a guest house
How and where people access the guest house is a big one for us. With any secondary dwelling we've designed, we're always careful to ensure that the access doesn't impose on the privacy of the main house. Secondary driveway access is ideal, but if the space doesn't allow, aim to ensure there is a private walkway and/or gate.