The Designer’s Life with Damien & Brent

The Designer’s Life with Damien & Brent

Sample the wares of coastal craftsmen from Toowoon Bay’s family-run cafe, to handcrafted beachside bars and craft beverage trails – design your own vibrant visit to the Coast.

Born and raised on the Central Coast, business partners Damien Furey and Brent Fitzpatrick both moved away to travel and work. Eventually they found themselves back on home soil to raise their families surrounded by that desirable, laidback coastal lifestyle. Recently they opened contemporary design practice, Fabric Architecture Studio, in Toowoon Bay, founded on the belief that architecture, on all levels, is about long-standing design that promotes social interaction. We carved out some time with one half of this savvy design duo, Damien, to reveal his favourite things about the Central Coast.

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Damien and Brent, on work site

What do you love most about the Coast?

“Apart from the beaches and space, the Central Coast is an exciting place to be at the moment with increasing opportunity. It’s growing rapidly due to its closeness to Sydney and affordability. The next generations can (and want) to live, work and be creative here, which is only going to make the Coast more vibrant.”

What design projects are you most proud of?

Since creating Fabric Architecture Studio, our team have worked on a range of projects including The Joker and Thief bar and restaurant at Terrigal, which we describe as Mad Men meets INXS vibe, to collaborating on bespoke interior items with Loughlin Furniture.

Which local building stands out to you for its impressive architecture?

We are currently working with the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, which is one of the oldest and most important buildings on the Coast. It was built in the 1880s and has an interesting history as both a courthouse and a police station.

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Loughlin Furniture, Photo by Laura Prael
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Joker and the Thief

What is your favourite local spot for coffee? 

Local café Flour & Co. at Toowoon Bay makes fantastic coffee and treats. It’s been a family run business for 32 years, with owners Tim and Grace Picot successfully creating a great community vibe around this stylish seaside pocket of the Coast. 

What’s a favourite local restaurant you love to visit? 

It has to be Hernandos Hideaway in East Gosford. This Mexican tapas restaurant is a favourite for a good quality meal – tacos, tacos, tacos!

What is your go-to outdoor experience? 

Tuggerah Lakes Cycleway is a great outdoor experience for the kids – it traces the Long Jetty foreshore and has several playgrounds along the way, plus the actual Long Jetty you can walk along and spot wildlife. Bouddi National Park is also a pretty special place to explore on the Central Coast, with a good choice of walking trails, secluded beaches and awesome views across the Pacific. 

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Flour & Co, Photo by Grace Picot
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Tuggerah Lake Shared Pathway

What is the first place you would take a visitor to the Coast?

That’s a tough one… Maybe The Coast walking track in Wyrrabalong National Park, starting from Crackneck Point Lookout (where there’s parking for a few vehicles), right along the bush trail until you reach the Forresters Beach tower. Epic views!

Describe a typical day on the Central Coast for you…

I am a keen cyclist and like to head out early for a spin on weekends. Our group loves to ride from Terrigal and enjoy the 44-kilometre loop around Brisbane Water (via Gosford, Woy Woy and Kincumber), though some would argue there’s too many hills! During summer my family love visiting Bateau Bay Beach, which is a great for the kids. In the afternoons I simply like to relax at home with a beer in the backyard, while the kids run wild with our dog.  

Do you have a hidden local secret you’d be willing to share? 

Some people may not be aware that Erina has a little hidden pocket of craft beverage makers all within short distance of one another. I love ducking into Six String Brewing for a beer, or Distillery Botanica to grab some of their coffee liqueur, Mr Black. There’s also Firescreek Winery nearby in Holgate creating an interesting mix of fruit, flower and herb wines – think Tuscany in a rainforest!

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Six String Brewing Co, Photo by Jacs Powell
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View from Crackneck Lookout, Photo by Kendell Marjanovic