STICKY BEAK:Glenfield beach shack the perfect Geraldton lifestyle

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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Brian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde outside their brand new beach shack in Glenfield.
Camera IconBrian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde outside their brand new beach shack in Glenfield. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a free-spirited local couple said they would have been happy “living in a box and travelling”.

But, as it happens, Tess Lutherese Legarde and Brian Gallagher never needed to buy plane tickets to scratch their explorers’ itch. Their latest adventure is a little beach shack just 10 minutes out of town.

A lot of change for the young couple when the pandemic hit flipped their lifestyle on its head.

They found themselves cutting down their trips to airports and pubs, getting engaged, buying a block of land and building a house. During business hours, Tess is a commercial kitchen chef, and Brian is a dental prosthetist. But once they clock off, they love surfing and skating and squeezing every drop of juice from life’s mortal minutes.

The global state of play pushed them to start crafting the next chapter of their lives, but don’t expect lined pages and blue biro.

These two are mapping out their future with glitter gel pens.

Brian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde in their little blue car outside their brand new beach shack in Glenfield.
Camera IconBrian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde in their little blue car outside their brand new beach shack in Glenfield. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Tess drives a vintage teal Morris Minor and embodies both unbridled enthusiasm and cool-girl apathy. She designed her beach shack using the computer game The Sims.

For those who don’t know it, The Sims exploded in popularity at the turn of the millennium.

In it, you can build your dream home and move in customisable characters called “sims” who you can make play out a near-endless list of virtual activities.

Brian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde Sims 4 characters.
Camera IconBrian Gallagher and Tess Lutherese Legarde Sims 4 characters. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

It’s highly addictive and, for the last two decades, it has helped thousands of Millennials temporarily escape from the trials and tribulations of their lives — from primary school tiffs with a best friend to job insecurity to surviving a global pandemic.

Last year, Tess printed out a screenshot of her dream home and handed it over to local architects and builders.

The floor plan tess gave to the McAullay Builders.
Camera IconThe floor plan tess gave to the McAullay Builders. Credit: Supplied

The blueprint featured a spacious living area, a well-equipped kitchen, an entertaining deck, a swimming pool, a walk-in robe and an open- concept bathroom-bedroom.

The real-life builders made a few adjustments, which Tess said improved “feng shui”. But, for the most part, the beach shack she dreamed up on her laptop has jumped off the screen and on to their orange dirt plot near Glenfield Beach.

The open plan living room.
Camera IconThe open plan living room. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

It has a white roof, walls, and countertops, and brushed concrete flooring.

It’s a smaller home, but its open-plan style makes it feel spacious. On top of this chic minimalist canvas, the couple have planned a host of embellishments to give their space a funky character.

On the outside, the house is made of white weatherboard with white steel roofing to match.

However, the front door and other exterior accents are teal, matching Tess’ groovy car.

Celing fans waiting to be installed in the beach shack.
Camera IconCeling fans waiting to be installed in the beach shack. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Inside, highlights include an upcycled brick column, natural wooden pillars, Victorian era-inspired shower tiles, and timber ceiling fans with palm leaf-shaped blades.

The couple are also hunting for the perfect vintage longboard to hang on the wall and hope to have built a half-pipe in their backyard before their house- warming party later in the year.

“We’re going to do like a nautical fantasy theme costume party,” said Tess, adding it would be the perfect time to whip out the party mode on her Google-controlled light globes.

The patio with natural wooden beams.
Camera IconThe patio with natural wooden beams. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

“Because (the house) is white, you can put it on party mode and it will just keep changing colours. You can put the music on and it will change to the beat of the music,” she said.

While sitting on their back porch, one can catch a glimmer of the ocean hiding behind the coastal scrub. I imagine the view will be breathtaking from the top of the halfpipe — or perhaps guests can climb one of the 150 trees Brian has planted since they purchased the block. Tess planted one too.

They’re all pretty small at the moment, but the couple are looking forward to watching a forest grow on their block.

Soon to be a half pipe for skaters Tess and Brian.
Camera IconSoon to be a half pipe for skaters Tess and Brian. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Eventually, the borders will open back up, and Tess and Brian will continue their overseas shenanigans. They own a block of land in Siargao and plan to build a surf resort one day.

“It’s like a small island off the Philippines with amazing swell, diving, fishing,” Tess said.

But, no matter what, they say Geraldton and their new little surf shack will always be home.

“We have made so many friends here,” Tess said.

“A lot of my friends, I consider them family.”

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