By Rhiannon Taylor, May 2016

Known for her intricate designs adored worldwide, designer Collette Dinnigan has built up a loyal following that see her collaborations with Aldi, Specsavers and Miele fly off the shelves. Now she has turned her hand to interiors with a recent overhaul of suites 29 and 30 at Bannisters by the Sea.

Collette Dinnigan advised on all aspects of the overhaul, from the Perrin & Row tapware in the bathroom to the antique Indian daybeds. Speaking to IN BED WITH Collette says "I think design can be functional, its just a matter of being focused and clever in the detail". And she's really achieved this balance from the use of deep sofas facing the ocean to a kitchenette for lazy lunches where functionality meets design.  

The penthouses are set against white washed walls and rich wooden floors, leaving a blank canvas for pops of blue and green. Cushions, rugs, hydrangeas, books and turkish towels all compliment each other in ocean tones perfecting a beach chic aesthetic.

The penthouses have a real sense of being on a luxury holiday without the formality of a hotel. Drawing from her extensive travels, Collette says "I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my life and I have been inspired by many different hotels and homes over the years.  Bannisters is uniquely Australian in that it enables you can bring the outdoors in.  The view is always the focus and the furnishings compliment it beautifully."

So was the tearing down walls, replacing doors, windows, balconies and completely restructuring the suites worth it? Yes. The result is two beautifully appointed penthouses reminiscent of a Hamptons beach shack.

Stepping outside, a huge verandah with multiple deck chairs faces the ocean nestled behind shrubbery. It's incredibly peaceful and there's little evidence of other guests in neighbouring rooms.

Particular attention to detail is paid in the bathroom where large Carrera marble vanities and double sinks feature, with ample room for all one's personal items. It's stunning, light filled and generously oversized in a good way.

The furnishings are curated by Collette personally, with all pieces coming from her travels in France, sourced locally or custom made. "Nothing is a reproduction" says Dinnigan. Even the art on the walls is unique, from vintage surf photography to maps and charts from Collette's family sailing adventures as a child.

The bedroom is an oasis, with quilted bedspreads and breathable cotton sheets for a comfortable sleep in the summer. Giant shutters lead directly out to the verandah for fresh air and sweeping views.

Photographic books are piled on coffee tables throughout the suite, with titles from Collette herself and interior and food focused books from Taschen and Gestalten. There's even a fig candle burning in the dining area by Collette, made in France.

The design fits in well with the rest of the Bannisters by the Sea property, which caters for guests with slow travel on the mind. Road trippers and travellers who have a love of the Shorehaven region frequent Bannisters regularly for it's luxury offerings.

The popular Rick Steins at Bannisters restaurant is a huge drawcard, with it being at capacity most nights of the week. A stunning seafood menu is prepared simply, with a focus on fresh produce. Fish of the day was served with a Mediterranean salsa and was clean on the palatte. 

Served in a gorgeous setting with sea views, the service was warm and genuine. The restaurant also doubles as a breakfast area in the morning, which is included in your stay. A simple spread of breads, bacon and eggs, fruit and cereals is satisfying before a morning surf.

Cocktails are served by the infinity pool in the evening and it's cool without being pretentious, much like the penthouses. So does Collette Dinnigan have plans to continue interior design? She tells us "I am currently working on a bespoke apartment building in Sydney called Golf House which I am very excited about.  It’s a very different aesthetic to Bannisters and it will be launched in the next few weeks so I can’t say too much!"

FEEL: Beach shack chic.
ROOM PICK: Penthouse 30 for it's blue tones.
WIFI: Yes, included.
RATES: Ocean Deluxe rooms $255 p/n including breakfast. Collette Dinnigan Penthouse Suites from $625 p/n.
IN ROOM: King bed, reading material, TV, mini bar (not included with the rate).
CHILDREN: Yes, allowed.
GETTING THERE: Mollymook is about a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney or Canberra. Parking is complimentary on-site.

I stayed as a guest of Bannisters by the Sea.