A family of five have completely renovated and rejuvenated their little home in Floraville.
Shanelle teaches Japanese at a nearby high school and was born and bred in Newcastle. She’s currently living just eight minutes away from where she grew up.
She bought a little white weatherboard gable-roofed house in 1999. Since then, she and her family have made it a spacious and comfortable place for themselves their pug Archie.
Originally it was a smaller house, a 1960s home with an 80s update. Now it’s bigger, though it still looks deceivingly small from the front.
“(When I moved in) it had laminated panel walls; the kitchen was still the original kitchen, and it had white carpet and frilly, lace curtains. It was in good condition; it was a very well-loved house,” Shanelle says.
Before she found the house, she had it in her mind to buy a flat block with a double garage, and instead she found a house on the hill with no garage. She viewed the house on an overcast day and, despite her previous stipulations, decided it was the one for her. It was a well-kept house in a quiet area, tucked away on a dead-end street. Later, when she returned to have her first walk through as the owner, she looked out and realised she could see the stunning Redhead coastline out the window.
Since then her family has grown substantially. With three kids, Corbin, Samara and Xander, Shanelle and partner Wayne have been strategic about space. They had Samara in 2006, and in the same year they took on the first extension. They added a lounge room, a study, and a deck to get a better view.
In November 2011, after deciding not to buy a bigger house, they started an extensive renovation, changing big and small details. They extended through the high ceiling and changed the cladding and windows.
“With the second one, we gutted the middle level of the house; we moved the front door,” Shanelle says.
Wayne acknowledges that it was risky to make such massive changes but, seven years later, everyone seems right at home.
“In the old house you would enter straight into the dining room,” Shanelle says.
“I had this vision; I didn’t like people coming to the front door and seeing what you were doing. I wanted to create a foyer. We moved the front door and created the space with the stairs.”
The kitchen is now a big feature of the home and more open plan. One of the windows is also an opaque splashback, bringing in the sunlight, but not revealing the outside where, in that particular spot, there isn’t much to see.
In 2011 they also built the upstairs deck off their bedroom as a place to appreciate the view and also to retreat. With their previous extension they secured a better view, so this time they wanted good access to it.
They like minimalism but also quirky furniture. They prefer the house to be open and bright with clean lines, but it’s important also to display their style.
Because of Shanelle’s love of Japanese culture and the fact that she teaches it and studied there, Japan (and the rest of Asia) have had a huge influence on the home’s interior design.
They have lots of homewares and art from China, Hong Kong and India, gathered from their many trips to Asia.
It’s an enlightened space. Wayne’s big Buddha greets everyone at the front door, and different versions of Buddha adorn the house.
She loves the Japanese curtains called Noren that hang on many of the doors.
“I like the pictures on them. It’s like a piece of artwork, and it also gives privacy in the rooms,” she says.
The curtains are nicely complemented with the handmade wooden Japanese Kokeshi dolls that she’s brought back with her during various Japan trips. They have more than 100, ranging from Winnie the Pooh and Spider Man to the more traditional styles.
The house has grown with the family. Their renovations have not only made the house more luxurious and comfortable but created a space for them to express themselves and appreciate art. Little did Shanelle know, almost 20 years ago, that this little house on the hill would continue to evolve into the perfect home.
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