Newcastle couple Andrew and Melisa moved into their "forever home" in Merewether in 2013. They loved it from day one, and now they've made some changes, enhancing it even more for themselves and their three boys.
The house was built in 1969 by architect Bernie Adcock. It was the first house built in the subdivision. He designed it in the Sydney School style of architecture as a home for his partner and their four children. He did make changes while living there.
The house overlooks Merewether Golf Course and, originally, far fewer trees were on the property.
Melisa, a nurse, and Andrew, a civil engineer, looked for six months before Melisa found the house. She thought it was perfect for their family and bought it on the spot, without Andrew.
"We always liked that '70s type of architecture. It had really amazing original features," she says.
The couple decided to renovate after an unexpected incident in 2014.
"We'd been here a month. Melisa parked the Nissan Xterra and didn't put the handbrake on properly and it rolled through the carport," Andrew says.
It was a big job to fix. They started just wanting a new garage and slowly the concept grew.
A friend recommended Shane Blue, of Bourne Blue Architecture. They liked his work and asked him to design a new garage and master bedroom.
"Our brief to Shane was that we didn't want to put a modern addition onto an old house. We wanted it to blend," Melisa says.
"Andrew worked really hard to continue original things, like the copper guttering and downpipe throughout the house."
"Shane tried to talk me out of it. It was a nightmare," Andrew says.
They worked to stay true to Adcock's style.
"We have a nice relationship with Bernie. We've always kept in contact and showed him what was going on," Melisa says of the original architect.
They appreciate the original kitchen and brickwork in the downstairs part of the house. They also love the changes and attention to detail, particularly in the bathrooms.
Shane added another floor to the house and designed their master bedroom. He did all the cabinetry, the laundry and the office.
What was once a laundry and a tiny single bedroom out back is now a spacious breezy partially-covered deck looking over trees and the golf course.
They have interesting lights, skylights, mirrors and brightly-coloured, eye-catching paintings.
Everyone comments on the timber battens that line the home's entryway.
"It works nicely with the landscape. I think it softens the home," Melissa says.
They had help from a carpenter and builder. Melisa's father helped as well. He and Andrew painted the house inside and out and the cladded ceiling. Her dad sanded all the beams and pieces of timber.
They brought in quarry tiles from the '60s and '70s that Melisa's father pulled up from their old laundry. The '50s-60s style mirrors were from Andrew's family home. They were big, heavy and sharp.
During the basement excavation, Andrew saved the rock wall and they used that to form part of the landscaping.
Mark Tisdell, of MUD Landscape Design, created a design for the front and side area of the property. He made sure the design was family friendly while also complementing the architecture.
A lot of thought and effort went into making the retaining wall look simple and effortless.
"The retaining walls at the bottom of the space near the house are quite high. We used careful plant selection to soften the walls with spill over planting of dichondra repent 'Silver Falls' among others," Mark says.
"Weaving the walkway down the slope through the trees was actually a bit of a challenge to ensure it wasn't too steep and that the spaces in-between made sense, were of a good proportion and complemented the architecture."
Overall, the renovations took 18 months. Melisa and Andrew lived on-site during the process and even brought home their second son while the work was happening.
They put in work and time, and now they couldn't be happier with Shane's vision and the results.
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