Life up at the Bay is pretty idyllic, and this stunning new build at Corlette does nothing but reinforce that notion.
Picture perfect from every angle, the render and cladded home belongs to Richard and Rachel O'Brien, who had purchased the block of land in 2012, but were not actually planning to move into this part of the world until they retired. However, when unexpected circumstances presented a fork in the road, their forever home got brought forward and they set to work designing and building the home of their dreams.
"When the opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it, and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made," Richard says. "We had built and lived in six homes before beginning this project, and we had a really good idea of how we wanted our forever home to look like and we even knew who we wanted to build it."
The builder they approached was Graeme Bakker from Bakker Homes for his extensive experience in new custom builds in the Port Stephens area. His familiarity with the location meant he had a solid understanding of land, costs and the best materials.
The O'Briens worked on their own ideas and designs. They took them to Bakker and he worked with them to bring it to life.
"Our vision was to create a beautiful home that takes full advantage of the stunning Bay views without being obstructed by another build; filling the home with lots of natural sunlight and giving it a warm coastal feel," Richard says.
The north facing views over the Bay were courtesy of a steep sloping block, but they used it to full advantage to make the home a showpiece for coastal living. Open-plan living, multi-storeys and clever uses for voids have optimised the functionality of space and provided extra room to move.
"The steep slope wasn't easy to build on, but we designed so the back of the house is at ground level while capturing the views of the Bay from the front," Bakker says. "We also worked on the block orientation of the house to make the most of the ocean views, and ensure abundant daylight comes in from three sides of the home."
The centrepiece of the four-bedroom home is the open-plan living-kitchen-dining area on the main level, which connects to a broad balcony overlooking the water.
"We love the impressive look that we have from our balcony," Richard says. "We often see dolphins when we are having a barbie there." And it is the perfect location for relaxing and soaking it all in, or for entertaining. Polished concrete flooring is sleek and cool and easy to clean; the warm Blackbutt timber of the floorboards inside also features throughout the home: on the staircase, to the striking solid posts of the balcony - it connects to the natural surrounds and creates a synergy between the internal and external.
"Due to the costal location, it was important to utilise low-maintenance materials," Graeme said. "To address this, we selected materials that required no major ongoing maintenance which complemented the floor-to-ceiling glass and allowed for beautiful light and airflow."
There are few blinds throughout the communal areas of the house to maximise the natural light and highlight the views. Even the office on the lower floor has been given a glass door to allow light in and appreciation of the view.
The O'Briens have seamlessly blended practicality with luxury. A user-friendly kitchen with sleek cabinetry from Kitchen Culture boasts a double oven, a butler's pantry and an integrated grocery lift from the garage to the pantry. Sonos is connected throughout the house. Ducted air-conditioning and a gas fireplace keep the climate perfect all-year-round. Bedrooms are cool and calm. Well-appointed bathrooms are sleek and elegant.
On the lower level, an impressive theatre room has been installed by Quicklec Electrical for movie nights that can't be beaten. With Foxtel, Blu-ray DVD and a projector for films all integrated, plus electronic reclining chairs and a fully darkened, insulated room, this is a real treat for movie buffs.
Nominated for a Master Builders Award, it showcases what thought and experience can bring to life.
"We are extremely impressed with our new home. We love how the open-plan layout, the windows, materials and colours combine to create a perfect coastal feel," the O'Briens say.