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Beachside bliss for Aquabumps founder Eugene Tan

The Property Addict / Luxury Lifestyle

May 18 2016

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by Maggie Kelly There is something wonderfully inspiring about the determination in which Eugene Tan has pursued his dream life. Among the sun-baked, sandy streets of Bondi Beach, Eugene has crafted a fabulous home, a booming business, and a gorgeous family that would make even the most satisfied man turn shades of green. But this personal paradise didn't come easy. Rewind the clock to 1999, and Eugene Tan was a frustrated creative director, trying to juggle his love for the ocean with his booming career. So, like most local residents, he would find himself in the crystal waters of Bondi Beach from the crack of dawn for a hit of pre-work surf. An avid photographer from the age of nine, Eugene - or "Ë?Uge' to those in the know - would snap away at the effortless beauty of his neighbourhood. From golden-skinned surfers paddling out into the sparkling ocean, a blood-red sunrise, or staring down the barrel of a breaking wave; Eugene loved nothing more than sharing with his mates via email a glimpse of "Ë?where they'd rather be'. "It all started 17 years ago as an email to a small group of mates," explains Eugene. "I would always go the beach before I set off to my full time job in the city as a creative director of a digital agency, so I started to document it " surfers, runners, swimmers " a surf report for the day. It's all been super organic " mates sent it to mates and it grew from there." 398A8056 In fact, Eugene loved it so much, that those precious few hours in the morning ocean became his passion above everything else. He quit his job, set up his photography business "Ë?Aquabumps', and the rest, as they say, was history. These days, Aquabumps is booming. With its own gallery in Curlewis Street, Bondi, and loyal legion of online followers, Aquabumps has over 250,000 people following us collectively across the blog and social media channels - a fact that Eugene says "still spins me out!" But at the centre of his success is the grounding force of his family. Wife Debbie is the epitome of Bondi's famous "Ë?beach-chic': all bronzed limbs and tousled blonde locks, she pads around the house during our shoot with bare feet and denim cutoffs. Make-up free, Debbie radiates with health and happiness. Wait, could this woman really have two young sons? Jet (five) and Spike (two and half) are the adorable offspring of this Bondi super couple, and have inherited Mum and Dad's surfy good looks. There's no doubt Eugene has struck gold with his beautiful family, and he has his photography skills to thank - it was, after all, how he got the girl! Debbie and Eugene met 11 years ago in North Bondi, when Debbie was buying a print from the gallery. 398A8037 "We had lots of mutual friends, but had never personally met," says Debbie. "There was an instant connection but timing wasn't right for either of us. We kept bumping into each other " like a little love fairy kept bringing us together, to remind us of that initial spark!" Just over a decade on, and the sun-kissed couple have created a life together. "It feels like yesterday that we were chatting for hours as the sun filled the North Bondi Gallery - about art, life and our love of the beach." That love of the beach is carried through in the interior of their Bondi home, with the sunny, two story house oozing luxury beachside living. The outdoor are welcomed in throughout the home, with the rear of the house opening up into a dramatic outdoor living space. Like a modern-day tree-house, only two walls stand between the kitchen/dining area and their lush green backyard, peppered with tropical palm trees and ferns. The couple always love their holidays in Bali and Hawaii, where everything is open to the elements and in harmony with the surrounding nature. According to Debbie, they wanted to bring that same feeling to their home, where they could live both inside and outside seamlessly. Their stunning bedroom, for example, sits high among the trees with a enormous window looking out at the view. You could, quite easily, be holidaying in the tropics... 398A8369 "I love the sanctuary of our bedroom," says Debbie. "We often sleep with all the windows open to the night sky. From the bed you can see the tops of the palms, and canopy of green that is our garden below " and it's quiet once the kids are asleep! " 398A8374 Debbie and Eugene both were raised around the beach - from the NSW North Coast and Perth respectively - and grew up with the luxury of space, quiet, and serenity of near-deserted beaches. Whilst Bondi isn't exactly known for empty beaches, the creative couple worked hard to craft a home space that was a haven from the hustle and bustle of Sydney's favourite beach. "We now live in a very busy area and it was important to us both to have somewhere to retreat that was quiet, where we could switch off from work and the hustle of Bondi and relax." says Debbie. 398A8386 "The garden was important to me as I wanted to be close to nature " and create the feeling of tropical summer days and nights." With the outside turning on the typical Sydney glamour - blue skies, balmy weather, cool breeze - the interior effortlessly provides a relaxed living space. Natural tones and clean lines are sharpened with wood and marble finishings for a light and bright beach sanctuary. Kevin Ho from Akin worked closely with Debbie and Eugene in the design of the home, mixing their love for clean, modern lines; with the warmth and comfort of a family home. As Debbie says, "he nailed it". 398A8351 So, what makes a "Ë?family home'? "Surrounding ourselves with all the things we love: fresh flowers, memorabilia from trips, photos, the kids paintings " our bikes, scooters, surfboards, yoga mats. The things that make us happy." 398A8147 And, of course, their wonderful business, Aquabumps: a passion project that made them both so happy they decided to turn it into a career. It's a shame the saying, "Ë?follow your dreams' sounds so very trite, because that is truly the lesson learnt after a short time chatting with this beautiful, happy, and healthy Bondi family. Figure out what makes you happy, and chase it like a dog with a bone - because once you catch it? You might be lucky enough to live your dream, like Eugene Tan. 398A8203

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