Finesse Built owner Matt Beckwith had plenty to celebrate when friends gathered at the gorgeous home he shares with fiancee Kate Perham.
Finessed to perfection
Matt Beckwith and Kate Perham have just returned from Cairns, but there’s a glow to them that hasn’t just come from the Queensland sun.
After snorkelling at sunset, Matt asked the kids to take a video of him and Kate, and with the opportunity to capture it on camera, he proposed.
As guests arrive at their home, there are plenty of congratulations for Matt, founder of Finesse Built and Kate, a bowen therapist whose studio, Balance Bowen Therapy, sits above Matt’s Glenelg office.
First, it’s Marcus and Marissa Motteram, who have brought the bar along with them. Marcus, owner of city bar Hains & Co, is whipping up a Yuzu Fancy for tonight – one of the most popular drinks at the bar.
They met years ago when Marcus and Marissa were one of the first clients at Finesse Built, and they’ve since remained friends.
“We were among his founding customers and we became best mates,” Marissa says. “How often can you say that about your builder?”
It’s clear the obstacle of builder/client relations was never going to get in the way of the synergy between the fun-loving couple and Matt, who is originally from San Diego, but found himself in Australia after high school, chasing waves, and then never left.
“Adelaide has a cool, laid-back vibe,” Matt says. “It’s similar to home, just on a smaller scale.”
Matt started working for a building company, but wanted more flexibility – and time to surf – so he created Finesse.
“I was working seven days a week and had small kids. I thought ‘I can’t do this’, so I started this to choose my own destiny. It’s organically grown since then.”
Finesse Built turned 10 in 2022, in what was a huge year for the company; they were named the Master Builders South Australia Builder of the Year.
Matt and Kate’s Somerton Park home, which they moved into mid-last year, exemplifies what makes Finesse award-winning. A new build; Matt gave his team a loose brief of Palm Springs/Byron Bay vibes and sent them away. “I didn’t nit-pick and change things – I trust them.”
The result is a light, bright space that caters to their big family. Matt and Kate each have three boys between nine and 18, making it a full house, but it was designed to make the most of every inch and the open entertaining area they’re hosting in today fits all the guests with plenty of room to spare.
In the open kitchen and living space, the ceiling was raked up and windows installed at the top to make the most of the northern light.
The family tends to congregate around the breakfast bar, flowing out to the backyard when the weather is nice.
Walking from the front door to the back area, an expansive white bag-wash brick wall stretches all the way through, perfectly complementing the light timber touches in the kitchen and throughout.
“We deliberately told our brickies to do messy brickwork because it gives it a bit more character and authenticity. You really don’t need a lot on it because it’s sort of art in itself.”
The home is family-friendly, complete with a Turkish limestone floor that is forgiving, even with five kids living in the house – and two dogs.
A cushioned nook under a skylight is both a perfect place to settle in with a book and a cup of tea, and also another place for guests to relax with a glass of bubbles while chatting to people in the kitchen.
Outside, an impressive concrete benchtop was created by the team at Finesse to house the outdoor kitchen, clad in tones of muted green.
The 1.8-metre plunge spa is a great way to get outdoors in winter and adds that necessary sparkling blue element that screams Palm Springs.
But right now, all the action is back inside in the kitchen, where head chef at Lost Phoenix Farm, Bridget Corver is creating a decadent meal.
Bridget met Lost Phoenix co-founder Will Doak at Press* Food & Wine, also working with him at Orso.
She gets to work in the kitchen today, methodically stacking each tub of carefully prepared ingredients, ready to prepare the menu, which includes Smoky Bay oysters, Spencer Gulf prawns, Abrolhos Island scallops, SA southern rock lobster rolls and Fleurieu squid ceviche for entree.
For mains, there’s a whole baked sole and an overnight lamb shoulder and crispy triple cooked potatoes. To finish, it’s dark chocolate truffles and international and local cheese.
As the guests roll in, it becomes evident the boys are all suspiciously fashionable for men who say they do an annual top-up shop when it comes to their wardrobes. Upon further investigation, they’ve had a little help.
One of the guests tonight is fashion designer Mathieu Jacquet, who took the guys shopping the day before with positive results.
“I think their wives are pretty happy, and if they’re happy, I’m happy,” Mathieu says.
Mathieu, a Parisian, has found himself in Adelaide with his locally-born wife, Cassie.
The pair met on Christmas Day more than a decade ago after Matt saw a photo of Cassie on a friend’s phone and they began long distance dating – Mathieu was in Paris and Cassie, a hairdresser, was living in New York.
Mathieu moved to New York after a year together and the couple spent 10 years in New York, while Cassie built her salon, Maison Jacquet and Mathieu was designing.
With two young girls, Covid hit them hard and recounting the horrors of being surrounded by so much death and devastation brings tears to Mathieu’s eyes.
They swapped a New York apartment they were barely able to leave during Covid lockdowns, for beachside living just 50 metres from the sand.
“We left New York at a very grim time, so anything was going to be paradise,” Cassie says.
“For the first eight or nine months we were here, Covid barely existed here. We came back at the right time, even if it was hard to see it in the moment.”
Adelaide might be a world away from Paris, but Mathieu has quickly acclimatised. He’s still designing remotely – he works mostly in menswear, and specialises in denim and activewear for brands such as Calvin Klein – and he takes a handful of trips back to Paris each year.
“There is a lifestyle that is really interesting here,” Mathieu says. “It’s very California with the sun and the water.
“We had 10 years of being successful in New York, but we have kids and at some point it was time to settle down.”
Maison Jacquet recently re-launched on Partridge Street in Glenelg South, but previously, Cassie had set up shop in a space beside the Finesse office in a temporary solution while the Maison was coming back to life.
Another of the guests tonight, Michelle Attard, is to thank for the gorgeous design elements surrounding everyone tonight, from the timber dining table and olive green chairs to the must-touch soft furnishings.
Michelle, from MAD Studios, does all of Finesse’s styling and tonight, she’s brought along her husband, Craig, a firefighter.
Marcus continues to run between the party and the kitchen to shake up his in-demand drinks, but as the setting sun adds a glow to the dining area, everyone takes their seats to work their way through the menu and marvel at this patch of beachside paradise.
This article first appeared in the January 2023 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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