Many houses look similar from the outside: walls, windows, doors, roof. But it’s the life that happens on the inside that truly makes it a home, and this four-bedroom family residence in East Maitland is brimming with personal touches and memories in the making.
The home was built in 2014 by the award-winning Eden Brae Homes. Simon and Alison Ramage, along with their children Matthew, 5, and Emma, 3, enjoy individual and shared spaces that reflect their personalities and foster a feeling of family and unity in this modern brick dwelling.
Special details are abundant throughout and are due to elements added by Simon, a design technology teacher with a talent for beautiful woodwork, and Alison, whose flair for design brings each room to life. The rooms are dotted with quirky prints, artworks and items that Alison has sourced from local stores, as well as online, to add smiles and sweetness to every space.
“The aim was to have a place that was happy and bright,” Alison said. “We wanted a really easy house to live in with kids.”
The house design – based on an Eden Brae Sheffield layout – is aimed at comfort without taking away opportunities for style. There are open zones, as well as quiet places for both parents and children, and with Simon’s woodwork additions and Alison’s styling, each room has a unique feel.
The central artery of the house is the corridor that leads directly to the beating heart of the home – an open lounge, kitchen, dining and study area where the family spends the bulk of its time. It was actually a tweak from the original design.
“We made a few changes, namely adding in an extra cupboard in kitchen area and shifting the hallway so the study was no longer closed in,” Alison said.
It’s allowed extra light into the centre of the house and, from the open-plan kitchen with Caesarstone island bench, it allows Alison to keep an eye on the kids in the playroom – just off the central space – or while they are on the computer in the study. Pendant lights and corner windows bring even more light into the room.
The shelves in the kitchen, along with the dining table and study bench, were built by Simon and a colleague out of stringy bark, adding an earthiness to the space. A cute sign in the kitchen displays whatever message Alison and Simon want to convey to the kids – today it’s ‘Choose Kindness’.
The little visual treats all over the home show how much thought has gone into each room. The playroom has a custom-built cubby by Simon – a cosy space for Matty and Emma to hide, and a day bed from IKEA for reading and quiet time. A feature Somewhere Over the Rainbow wall-hanging from local store Willows adds brightness. The informal lounge is also kid-friendly, featuring Ottomans instead of coffee tables so there’s no sharp surfaces and no banged heads.
The children’s bedrooms are tailored to their personality and interests. While Emma’s room has an on-trend rose gold chrome plated bed and canopy in the corner for reading and playing, there are also prints on the wall with messages for a growing girl: “Though she be but little she is fierce”. Matthew’s room is adorned with a stunning Wall Sticker Company tree and animal decal feature wall, coupled with hanging monkeys made by Simon, who also made the Tasmanian oak bookshelves and desk.
Mum and dad’s bedroom hideaway is at the front of the house, and features ensuite, walk-in robe and pops of colour, namely from a print by Newcastle artist Annie Everingham. Everingham’s works take pride of place throughout the house.
The outdoor areas are where Simon’s talents really shine. A covered area allows year-round alfresco dining, courtesy of the custom-built pizza oven and barbecue area, which Simon added after the original build was complete. Using white mahogany with charcoal concrete, the space is perfect for entertaining.
An impressive deck, also made by Simon using mahogany, sits alongside a corner fire pit. The wood seats around the pit are from Simon’s father’s property in Upper Lansdowne. Also in the yard is the cutest cubby house you’ll ever see, again built by Simon, replete with star jasmine, a mailbox and bold yellow front door. It’s a beautiful place to play.
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