Eco-conscious couple Jamie and Ingrid Kwong have breathed new life into an old fisherman’s shack by transforming the dilapidated structure into a cozy, environmentally-friendly getaway. Located on Pittwater’s Mackerel Beach in New South Wales, Australia, The Little Black Shack is a restorative retreat that offers complete immersion in nature with minimal site impact. The house was reconstructed by hand with recycled materials and lovingly furnished with secondhand items.
Local fishermen originally hand-built the shack around the 1930s. The couple, who lived nearby, had admired the shack for over 20 years and finally jumped at the chance to buy the property when it was put up for sale in 2013. The building was in poor condition with termite-damaged wood, but the couple was undeterred in fixing up the shack and spent the next 18 months with family and an eco-minded builder to completely restore the shack by hand.
“Our aim is to give our guests a relaxing and restorative experience in our sustainable little patch of paradise by giving them everything they need, whilst taking very little from the environment,” the couple explained. “By the end of their stay, our guests tend to take a lot less for granted too. If you want real stars, wildlife, peace, quiet and a place to connect with and appreciate nature and each other, you might want to jump on the old wooden ferry ‘Myra’ and cross Pittwater to Mackerel Beach.”
The Little Black Shack was rebuilt with recycled and repurposed materials as part of the owners’ desire to reduce their impact on the environment. Instead of air conditioning, the property relies on natural ventilation and passive heating supplemented with a hand-built, sandstone open fireplace. The paints used throughout the home are all-natural, water-based and VOC-free. Rainwater is also harvested and reused; during times of drought, a desalination system is used to turn salt water into purified fresh water. The couple hopes to take the Little Black Shack completely off the grid in the future. The idyllic retreat is available for rent; for a closer look inside, follow their Instagram.
Images by Luisa Brimble