Radio broadcaster, author, public speaker and mental health advocate Craig Hamilton lives with his wife Louise in New Lambton. It is the first house they ever owned.
Louise works in public health and also provides reiki treatments from home.
For the last 30 years they've lived in the house and raised their three kids. Their newest addition, Gretel "the wonder dog", turned three on Valentine's Day.
"It has a really nice energy. It's a home not a house," Louise says.
"I like that it's got individual rooms and not a great big open space. I like to go into different rooms; it gives opportunities for people to have space to go and sit. When you're at home you need a place that's a sanctuary, a place you can bunker down and reenergise. You need separate rooms to do that."
The couple (both from Singleton) were looking for a place near Newcastle that they could afford without an excessive mortgage and also start a family.
"It's a doer-upper. It's very true when people say, once you start renovating you never stop," Craig says. "In the last 12 months we did renovations here; we did fences, paths, and an extended deck. And in the last 20 years there was a family room added on the back of the house which used to be just a pergola area."
They've redone the dining room, getting rid of a fireplace and slow combustion heater. They installed air conditioning and recarpeted the place three times, had three bathroom renovations, two kitchen renovations and painted the interior three times.
A key person for the Hamiltons: interior designer Graeme Rendle. "He's the creative touch for the colours," Craig says. Rendle started with the lounge room as a light yellow and slowly made the rooms darker as one progresses through the house. He also picked the exterior colour.
The lounge room, where Louise spends a lot of time, is also her favourite. She loves her view of the French doors out onto the garden, and she likes her artwork and crystals.
"Without getting too New Age about it, anything from the earth is grounding and powerful," Craig says of the crystals. "It gives you peace when you first walk in."
A huge amethyst sits atop an old second-hand piano. Craig plays a little bit but he can't read music. Much to his family's joy, he plays too loudly and hits the keyboard too hard. He watched YouTube videos to teach himself how to play Never Tear Us Apart by INXS and he's always happy to demonstrate.
Also above their piano is a Bar Beach print by John Earle. Also in the lounge is a painting by Craig's mother.
"She was an artist and very good, but she never sold a painting," Craig says.
His office is a "shrine to myself" he jokes. He has cricket memorabilia including signed photos of Dennis Lillee, Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards. He has a signed portrait of Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman from her win in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Louise's reiki room is full of relaxing colours. She does Western medicine at work and Eastern medicine at home.
"I've been doing it for about five years off and on. I love it. It's energy healing," she says. "A lot of people have experienced the hovering of hands, but I tend to put my hands on people. I start at the head and finish at the feet. Where I go in between depends on what messages I get through intuition. At the end of the session they feel better."
With Craig's passion for mental health and her treatments, their careers are complementary.
Craig says spending time in the garden helps him slow down.
"I never used to do stuff in the garden. I hosted a gardening show for 20 years and I couldn't bear to be in the garden," Craig says.
"I had so many other things on my preferred list of things to do. I think my well-known story with mental health problems has been because I did live too fast. Gardening is the antithesis of that. You can't be fast. It's therapy. It's good. It grounds you. It keeps you in the moment."
Crystals, a reiki room, a back garden and a happy pooch: the Hamilton household is happy and healthy!