Tui Cordemans’ charming weekender. Pictures (excluding portrait): Trudy Schuringa
SHE might not be on holidays permanently, but Tui Cordemans has created the next best thing: a beachside getaway that’s a quick drive from her home and where she can spend weekends and summers.
“Holidays mean so much to me because it is the time you connect with people you love,” said Ms Cordemans, who has a young daughter, Charlie, and partner Gwen. “We really have the best of both worlds.”
Ms Cordemans found the house six years ago in Mornington and admitted she didn’t have much of a must-have list; she just wanted something with lots of character.
She found exactly what she was looking for in a weatherboard bungalow that had once been a family home. While it had the charm she wanted, it also needed a lot of work and upgrades.
“You could tell it had been lived in, but it had a lot of potential,” she said. “It was a beautiful little cottage but it looks nothing like it did when we found it.”
The made-over bungalow oozes charm.
Every corner has been beautifully styled.
As an avid cook, Ms Cordemans needed a bigger kitchen, opening it up by taking over space from the laundry.
A reconfiguration meant the home went from three bedrooms to two, but she cleverly expanded the bedrooms to the rear to make them much bigger and had doors to the outside put in, as well.
“The bedrooms open up to the patio,” she explained. “I love hot weather, so when it is nice, I always open up the french doors and it has a beautiful sense of openness.”
The kitchen now has more space.
A beachy theme carries through the home.
The atmosphere is serene.
Ms Cordemans has deliberately styled her home to have a tropical beach-house feel with natural materials and muted colours, as well as plenty of pieces that are reminders of holiday life.
“I always want to feel like I’m on holidays,” she said. “Even the images on the wall are about holidays or nature. We wanted to give it a good beach and holiday feel and it was about creating nice open-style living.”
Homeowner Tui Cordemans.
The decor draws on natural materials and muted colours.
While her Mornington home is tranquil and serene to suit its surroundings, her city home in Fitzroy is quite different and fills a complete separate need.
“My home in Fitzroy is very colourful and eclectic,” Ms Cordemans said, explaining because it was in the inner city, there was a lot of action compared to Mornington.
“In the summer, I don’t like to be in the city and I love being in nature, but in the winter I prefer the city,” she said.
“But I have realised that if you are calm and relaxed and happy inside, it doesn’t matter where you live.”
A creative display.
Charlie finds a comfy spot.
Ms Cordemans’ philosophy of the importance of connecting with people you love is something she maintains both in her personal life and work.
As part owner of Koh Living (Koh is Thai for island), which is a giftware business, her goal is to connect people through meaningful gift giving.
Her range of products, which include candles, vases, napery and baskets, are showcased based on what the person receiving the gift might like.
For example, there are gifts for animal lovers, nature lovers, travel lovers and many more.
“We wanted to have products that reminded people of the things they love or the holidays they love,” Ms Cordemans said of the products that are sold online and stocked in various gift shops, as well as available at the Koh Living shop in Mornington.
“There is nothing worse than giving a gift to someone that means nothing to them,” she said. “You need to work out what they love.”
Blue and white capture a beachy look.
Postscript with Tui Cordemans
What do people comment on the most when they visit?
People usually love the feeling they get when they walk in — I think it’s the picture of leaves in the lounge room as you walk in and also the indoor plants. Having a sense of calm and nature in my home is a big part of my home and work life.
Best gift you’ve ever received?
Lately, it was a bicycle. I can carry my daughter on the back and it encourages me to slow down and smell the roses.
Favourite time of day in your home?
Definitely night-time. I love winding down.
Leafy and lovely: the living room.
What is a typical weekend like?
There is no such thing. Every weekend is so different. Recently, I was in a personal-development seminar all weekend. Another weekend, we were camping at Point Leo. On another weekend, we saw a musical in the city.
Most sentimental piece?
Some of my artwork from Mexico. I grew up there, so it is reminiscent of my childhood.
Where do you get your interior-design inspiration?
I follow some people on Instagram, but because a lot of what I have I’ve picked up during my many travels, I tend to use that as a starting point and go into the shops to finish it off. I’m obviously also inspired by the products we design at Koh Living and their sense of connectivity.
What does home mean to you?
A mental and physical retreat. I have a hectic life, so it is where I like to wind down, relax and spend time with my family.