Nicole Banning & Anders Sörman-Nilsson, Great Mackerel Beach

Images by Andrew Butler

Nicole is a Womenswear Designer who worked both here in Sydney and in Paris before starting her Resortwear brand EPHEMERA nearly seven years ago.

Her partner Anders is a Global Futurist. He explains, “While my mum has no idea what I do for a living, I help prepare clients like Facebook, MINI, Lego, Apple, and Rugby New Zealand for the future. In a sense, I am kind of like a science fiction author for global brands, helping them craft transformative narratives that are future-proof.”

“Anders and I both separately saw the property online and thought it was an incredibly romantic place but also perhaps a little impractical (with a toddler in tow) so we put the dream on ice for a few months last summer. We had previously lived at Elvina Bay when Anders first moved back to Sydney from Sweden in 2016, and loved the romance of living offshore and life on Pittwater. Pittwater is a place particularly close to our hearts, having spent time at Scotland Island together when we were younger. It also reminds Anders of his home in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. Anders had been on the hunt for a ‘Swedish summer house’ on Pittwater for quite some time.”

“How we came to buy the property was fairly serendipitous. We were up at Palm Beach one weekend celebrating Anders’ birthday. One Saturday morning whilst quietly enjoying a coffee and discussing property options in the area, a local real estate agent had been eavesdropping and approached us, asking us what we were looking for. He mentioned the Cape Mackerel Cabin and Great Mackerel Beach, a Pittwater hamlet we were both familiar with. Negotiations between the owner and another party were looking favourable however the buyer was having a little trouble with their finance. We decided to hop over to Mackerel Beach the following day to view the property and if nothing else, just enjoy a day on this magic beach. We fell in love with the cabin instantly and the rest is history!”

“Mackerel Beach is a curious little hamlet. While it is tightly held, when someone does move, they usually leave their houses fully furnished (given the challenge of decorating water access only properties). Therefore the first six months has consisted of a Marie Kondo style cleanout and lots of contributions to the community recycling station. We have also carefully selected some of our favourite Slim Aarons prints from the Getty archive and Scandinavian style textiles from our favourite interior design store, Svenskt Tenn, in Stockholm.”

“Given the cabin sits at the intersection of Ku-Ring-Gai National Park and Pittwater, it operates solely on tank water, so we have made a number of upgrades to the water purity and water efficiency for the benefit of our family and guests.”

“Our Resort 2020 collection for Ephemera is named ‘The Forgotten Holiday’. It is inspired by the romance and nostalgia of a fleeting family holiday from another time. We love to interweave our work and life and we actually shot the campaign for our Resort 2020 collection at Mackerel Beach.”

“As a Designer and as a consumer I am re-educating myself so that I can make more conscious decisions both professionally and personally. I am learning about everything from dry cleaning processes (and the toxic chemicals that seep into our skin as a by product) to cotton production (and the huge environmental cost that unethical cotton crops have on our environment). It is a little bit scary about how much we don’t know about some of the processes we engage in!”

“At the moment we are repairing two mesmerising balconies with sweeping views of Palm Beach. At 168 steps, we have the most elevated views of Pittwater and Barrenjoey Headland at Mackerel, but it does come with its vertigo challenges for our builder.”

Nicole’s bed, dressed in a seaside palette of peach, stripe and stone linen by IN BED.

“When we come to Mackerel it is all about downtime with the family. We cook, we read, we go on bushwalks, we do work around the house. There is also a very tight-knit community here so whenever you go for a walk you invariably meet someone along the way for a chit chat and usually get invited into somebody’s home for a cup of tea (or something stronger).”

The Beach house bunk beds, in peach, dove grey and stone linen by IN BED.

“Our favourite feature would have to be the big sun deck with sweeping views over Pittwater. Given all bedrooms are north-east facing, the sun greets us good morning early each day, so staying in bed and watching the sunrise with a cup of tea is a soulful start to the day.”

“On the horizon, we have plans to clear the lantana on the land and etch out a path down to our waterfront. We also have dreams of a boatshed, an exotic garden, a sauna and an outdoor shower, amongst other projects!”

“Having spent more time up on the Northern Beaches this year, we have decided to make a sea change from our Surry Hills home and our Redfern design studio. We are excited to move both our businesses and our home up north to a new site in Bilgola in October, 2019. As two busy parents and entrepreneurs, we are looking forward to the increased work life integration as well as being closer to nature.”