Four years ago, Jacqueline Doyle and Johnny Chloride purchased a coastal oasis along Cape Woolamai, a headland at the South-Eastern tip of Victoria’s stunning Philip Island. Since then, they have renovated Cape Cabin and transformed the ‘rotting timber, leaking roof and soggy bathroom floor’ into a serene and cosy family retreat (which is also occasionally available for hire). Jacqueline and Johnny describe envy-inducing Cape Cabin as a ‘haven away from our urban reality, surrounded by nature and overflowing with details that make our hearts sing.’
The cabin is peppered with welcoming nooks for reading, playing and contemplation. Cosy interiors feature handcrafted timber furniture, including bunk beds, outdoor tables, and daybeds, all built by Jacqueline and Johnny! High vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, and handcrafted mud-brick walls give the place a rustic feel, balanced by the beachy vibe of white timber panelling.
Jacqueline’s passion for children’s products is evident in an abundance of wooden toys and games the family have collected, inherited and created. The house layout and design lends itself to play, too – we especially love the homemade carnival spinner, which helps the kids choose their next activity. This is a beach getaway where there is no excuse to be bored! ‘We love the kids being barefoot and testing and exploring their limits, it’s so different to what they can do in Melbourne’ says Jacqueline. ‘We want them to have a taste of the endless days of exploration and wonderment that we remember from our own childhoods.’
Cape Cabin can happily accommodate 12 weekend guests, and Jacqueline and Johnny enjoy the vibrancy this brings. ‘There is something a little bit magical about seeing the house come to life with the love and laughter of family and friends’ says Jacqueline. Set against the pink granite surf coasts of Philip Island, Cape Cabin cheerfully combines contemporary interiors, a space for play, and a retreat where you can fall asleep listening to the sound of waves crashing.
Jacqueline Doyle and Jonny Chloride’s holiday home in Cape Woolomai, known as Cape Cabin. . Photo – Hilary Walker.
Cape Cabin is nestled on the stunning Cape Woolamai in Philip Island, Victoria. Photo – Hilary Walker.
The home accommodates up to 12 people. Photo – Hilary Walker.
Linen teepee and timber bunting made by Jacqueline; bedside tables made from Bonnie and Neil plywood tiles; vintage school chairs + upcycled children’s table; lighting by Masson for Light; vintage pin the tail on the donkey game repurposed as artwork by Jacqueline’s grandfather, Victor, who would be 110 if alive today! ‘Victor was a talented craftsman in his own right and we are blessed to have inherited many of his handmade toys at Cape Cabin’, says Jacqueline Photo – Hilary Walker.
Upstairs landing area and loft sleeping space. Lighting by Masson for Light; giant goose lamp by Heico; vintage details sourced by Jacqueline. Photo – Hilary Walker.
The bright kitchen. Vintage blackboard rescued from an old Western Australian school by Johnny’s father; Mocca Master Coffee machine specified by Everyday Coffee; Signature hand soap and toiletries custom made for Cape Cabin by Soap Club. Photo – Hilary Walker.
‘When Cape Cabin came on the market, we were both sold before we’d even set foot inside, and had made an offer only days after it was listed,’ Jacqueline reflects. Photo – Hilary Walker.
Jacqueline and Johnny with two of their three kids, Oscar and Millie. Photo – Hilary Walker.
The downstairs lounge, with giant Papasan cushion handmade by Jacqueline using Marimekko Unikko fabric; vintage ladder belonging to Jacqueline’s grandfather; vintage gnom sourced by Jacqueline and plants specified by The Plant Society. Photo – Hilary Walker.
White wood paneling creates a sense of calm. Photo – Hilary Walker.
‘Falling asleep on a night with wild surf is wonderful – we couldn’t believe how noisy the waves are on our first few nights here!’ Photo – Hilary Walker.
Cape Cabin manages to feel at once plush, and low-key. Photo – Hilary Walker.
Rachel Castle tea towel print; Bonnie & Neil cushion; Cape Cabin puppet theatre made by Jacqueline. Photo – Hilary Walker.
Jacqueline and Johnny have built much of the furniture themselves, including bunk beds, outdoor tables, daybeds and playground. Large outdoor table made using recycled timber by Johnny. ‘It is deceptively large and weighs a tonne!’ says Jacqueline!; log stools sourced from a local arborist; Vintage enamel jam pot repurposed as a planter; Mud brick piers rebuilt by Johnny. Photo – Hilary Walker.
‘We love weekends at Cape Cabin for the time it affords us to be together and enjoy the beach. With the beach just over the road down a bush track, we frequently skip across to check the surf throughout the day,’ says Jacqueline of their coastal life. Photo – Hilary Walker.