House Tour: The Rustic Fisherman’s Shack Turned Eco Retreat


House Tour: The Rustic Fisherman’s Shack Turned Eco Retreat
On the water's edge this old fisherman's shack has been converted to a sustainable retreat.

The Little Black Shack on Sydney’s Great Mackerel Beach is designed around rest, relaxation and sustainability.

A short ferry ride from Palm Beach, Great Mackerel is a small coastal hamlet surrounded by National park and a long stretch of sandy beach. With no cars or shops, and a small local population, it offers a slower pace of life and a place of quiet tranquillity.

The Little Black Shack compliments the stunning natural environment and pared-back way of life.

Photography by Max Doyle

The owner’s believe they can inspire people to make choices that are better for the planet if they can provide them with an amazing experience that provides everything they need whilst taking very little from the environment.

From the bed the owner’s made themselves, it’s height relative to the windows with its 100% linen from Carlotta + Gee, to the low VOC paint on the walls and preloved furniture, the Little Black Shack is a clever curation of sustainable comfort and design.

Photography by Max Doyle

Originally hand-built by fishermen around the 1930s, the original shack was made using local timber and sandstone. It was later extended to accommodate the fishermen’s families with the addition of a kitchen, sandstone bathroom and a small sandstone storage shed with a toilet.

More than 80 years of exposure to the elements and termites had taken their toll so the current owners spent 18 months of hard work recycling, repurposing, reusing and rebuilding what couldn’t be fixed.

The shack is filled with an eclectic mix of pre-loved furniture, collectables and family ‘finds’ along with pre-loved objects gathered from the owner’s travels around Australia and the world and forages along the beach.

Photography by Max Doyle

The Little Black Shack is positioned to take advantage of the water’s natural cooling and heating system. In the summer the cool water temperature and fresh sea breezes from the north east are more than enough to keep the house cool and comfortable on even the hottest of days.

In the winter, the sea also regulates the temperature and its thermal effect actually keeps the shack warmer as the water temperature rarely drops below 17 degrees celsius.

Both bedrooms are furnished with cowhide rugs, antique cupboards and chests of drawers, handmade beds and 100% organic flax linen bedding from Carlotta and Gee. the 100% linen feels great, promotes deep and relaxing sleep and is thermo-regulating. Pure linen insulates in the winter keeping you warmer.

Photography by Max Doyle

And because it’s antistatic and doesn’t cling to your body, in summer, it relieves the skin of excessive heat to keep you cooler. The big beautiful, comfortable beds are completely made from second hand timber.

The king bed had a former life as a ramp to transport materials from the beach to the site. The queen bed is made from old timber salvaged on site.


Everything that’s painted or stained at the shack has been done with Porter’s Paints – 100% Australian made, environmentally friendly, all natural and water-based.

The natural Porter’s Paints used contain zero or extremely low VOC’s and are not only better for the environment, they are also better for you, decreasing asthmatic reactions and allergic sensitisation.


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