A ‘Magic’ Tiny Beach House In Unspoiled Walkerville

Jeremy Wortsman first visited Walkerville — a small coastal village in Victoria’s south-west Gippsland located about two and half hours from Melbourne — in 2019. The managing director of The Jacky Winter Group was immediately taken with the relatively untouched landscape, and its endearing claim to fame – Walkerville beach is the real life beach that inspired the beloved children’s book ‘Magic Beach‘ by Alison Lester! Jeremy soon found himself scouring the local property listings, and it wasn’t long before he came across the opportunity to purchase a perfectly placed block of land, overlooking that very beach.

‘I tend to get attracted to projects and places that other people would write off as being too difficult or risky, so that definitely helped matters along!’ says Jeremy. ‘The block itself was completely vegetated and there wasn’t even any access by foot or car, so it was a pretty big leap of faith.’

Now named ‘Jacky Winter Waters‘, this unique beach retreat isn’t Jeremy’s first foray into creating bespoke accomodation, but it is the first property he’s built from scratch. To realise this ambitious project, he pulled in a dream team of passionate collaborators including Imogen Pullar Architecture, MVH Constructions, and Mcnuttndorff Landscapes. 

The small footprint of the house was driven by the project budget, the existing landscape, and the bushfire requirements of the site. Architects Imogen Pullar and Nayan Puri explain, ‘At the beginning we weren’t even sure that a house could be built on the site due to the bushfire attack level. With the assistance of Anthony Matthews at Nexus Planning, we established a small footprint where a building could be located that would need to be built to BAL-40 rating. Unfortunately this was the steepest part of the site…There also couldn’t be certain metals due to the house being within 100 metres of breaking surf.’  

The architects discovered James Hardie Axon cladding after extensive research, which simultaneously presented the opportunity for a painted facade by artists April Phillips, Beci Orpin, Carla McRae, and David Booth. ‘From the street level, I love how one of the characters is peeking out from the bush to say hello to those walking on the beach or street. It’s just the best feeling to see someone crack a smile when they see it,’ says Jeremy. ‘I absolutely love that it creates a bit of an unexpected moment, yet is also very complementary to the environment and blends into its surrounds.’ 

The home’s footprint is a mere 30 square metres – this includes a 14 square metre mezzanine bedroom, and an additional 57 square metre deck for outdoor living. Whilst this is a tiny, single bedroom dwelling, it punches well above its weight! All the interior spaces are design for adaptability – the furniture is multi-functional, and there’s no shortage of clever storage solutions, and pack-away beds.

The property’s only notably extravagant feature is the oversized raked bedroom window on the mezzanine, with its breathtaking view over treetops directly to the water beyond. A million dollar view – from the most humble little abode.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been in place like Walkerville before. When you are there, it really feels like you are in another country entirely, but also totally familiar,’ says Jeremy. ‘It’s a very special part of the world, and while I know this term gets thrown around a lot, it does feel like a very well-kept secret!’ 

Jeremy was blessed to have the support of many of his neighbours to help realise this project. He recognises the property’s neighbours, David and Andrew, who referred many local trades for the project; and Steve and Margaret, for their endless enthusiasm. ‘Their entire family have been in Walkerville for generations and without their support and encouragement, I don’t think this place would exist… It means the world to us that we’ve had such kind and patient folks on both sides helping us along.’ 

Book your stay at Jacky Winter Waters via Jacky Winter Places