Simone Le Mesurier, of Hunter Allied Care, and her husband, Dr Peter Spittaler, recently sold their home in Merewether for more than $7 million, breaking the record for house sales in the Hunter.
The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house sold in five days. It was built 10 years ago by Spittaler with the help of two architects: Chris Mury Architects and Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue.
The build took them two years to complete.
Le Mesurier moved in Spittaler four years ago. They've loved being in the house with their live-in butler. They also have two dogs, Buzz and Midori.
"A lot of people know this house. It's a bit younger than some of the houses around. There's only 10 houses in the street; it's pretty tightly held," Le Mesurier says.
In John Parade, Merewether, the three-storey house is a stunner, with nine-metre high ceilings, sweeping ocean views, art gallery foyer, stainless steel kitchen and a grand curving helical staircase.
The solar-powered house also has a pool and a long walled walkway that leads to the entry. The three-car garage holds Spittaler's Italian sports cars.
Most of the house is filled with artwork by David Rankin, and the lights above the pieces are specifically designed for the art. His earlier works from the 1960s are in the front foyer, and then progress in eras throughout the rest of the house.
Le Mesurier describes the house as modern and minimalist. Spittaler is very particular about his lines.
Within, several sleek long rectangular windows (they call them Ned Kelly windows) create depth and offer peeks into other rooms and of the ocean.
"It's designed so you can glimpse the art in the gallery and you can see the ocean in your shower," she says.
The house has so much detail.
"My husband owned a lot of the David Rankin before he owned the house. He's very into lines, the lines of the bench match the walls and the tiles," Le Mesurier says.
"The paintings were a big part of the design, the gallery especially, with the feel of the flat lounge."
The art, view and architecture work beautifully together, but a few pieces stand out. Eye-catching examples are the walnut kitchen table and the black elephant sculpture in the main lounge that Le Mesurier found in Tasmania. The Artemide light fittings above the kitchen table were brought back from Italy by Spittaler.
"He wanted to take it to the new place, but I said absolutely not. It goes so well with the kitchen," she says.
The house was made to frame the view. The entire house is art.
"He wanted to frame the ocean as art," Le Mesurier says of his vision.
The square window in the kitchen directs your eye to the ocean. They face south so they don't cop the brunt of storms, but Le Mesurier says the wild weather is fantastic to watch.
They've spent a lot of time on the balcony, where they've seen many whales.
Their upstairs bedroom is bright with more ocean views. The house is automated, which allows the lights and blinds to be activated when needed. The same goes for the entrance. They don't need to take a key with them during their summer morning swims.
"You just go straight to the beach," she says.
Despite the house's high profile, Le Mesurier emphasises that it's welcoming and easy to live in.
"People come in here and go 'oh wow'," she says.
"Our house is 'make yourself at home'."
They love the house. It has plenty of room for entertaining and for their adult children when they visit. But it's a lot for just three people.
Le Mesurier is happy that a local family with young children have bought the house.
"There's a really nice family who've bought it; it needs a family," she says.
"They'll be very popular at school."
The pair have loved their time in Merewether, and they'll miss the architecture and the gallery effect when they move.
In early December, they'll relocate to another stunning, slightly smaller place in Newcastle East, where they'll continue to enjoy Newcastle's inimitable beaches and ocean views.