THE first thing that caught my eye as I walked into Amanda and Tony's family home was a vibrant double canvas painting of native Australian flowers. Impossible to miss, the large-scale art work hangs opposite the front door and adds a touch of exuberance to their spacious home.
"Our house has a very modern neutral palette, but we anticipated the colour and personality would come from artwork, homewares and being lived in by our family," Amanda says.
In Patrick Street, Merewether, Amanda and Tony's four-bedroom family home is a reflection of the coastal surroundings. The couple bought the land in March 2010, knocking down the original two-bedroom cottage to build a brand new two-storey dwelling.
"We wanted to be closer to The Junction and for the kids to grow up near the beach. It was the perfect block of land and we couldn't pass it up," Amanda says.
She and Tony worked closely with architect Warren Anstiss to build an open-plan, modern home that was both environmentally friendly and economical to run.
"The ceiling and roof slopes east to west so we get the afternoon sun on the solar panels," Tony says.
Amanda explains that the windows of the house were double-glazed to keep the house cooler.
"We thought this would save us using the airconditioning all the time and lighten the electricity bill in summer. We also opted for ducted gas for heating in winter as it is more economical than electricity."
The large family home features four bedrooms, with the master containing both an en suite and walk-in wardrobe. It also includes ducted gas and airconditioning, and a spacious open-plan kitchen, living and dining area.
The stairwell is in the centre of the house, allowing plenty of natural light to enter through the side windows. Amanda and Tony share a home office, while their two young children, Chloe and Travis, aged 11 and 8, have their own homework nook on the second floor equipped with a desk, computer and brightly coloured wooden stools.
"The back of the house faces north, which is great for the afternoon breeze," Amanda says as she opens the back doors joining the living area and outdoor space, where their beagle Bronte sits patiently. She guides me on to the back deck, overlooking a large lawn, vegie garden, and pool at the far end of the block.
"We love to have people over and definitely designed the place with the purpose of entertaining. When we have families over, the kids can be out having fun in the yard or the pool and the adults can have their space in the living area or out here on the deck."
The home is certainly welcoming of guests. The kids have their own media room equipped with extra large beanbags to sit with friends.
The backyard has a barbecue, outdoor shower and dining area for those afternoons spent out by the pool.
Amanda and Tony's home sits cosily in the beachside suburb and as summer rolls in, it is the perfect space for bringing their family and friends together.
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