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HOME SALLY CROXTON

SURPRISE PACKAGE A once understated lakeside home now screams ‘‘Look at me’’.

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here’s a host of intriguing surprises about this Eleebana house. Drive down the street and the property is on one side with Lake Macquarie sparkling at the end of the road. So it is a revelation to arrive at the modern glass and timberpanelled front door and look in past the gleaming dark-tiled open-plan living and kitchen area and see the water again. The street is on a sharp bend in Lake Macquarie and the house occupies a quiet, waterfront block. Its superb design maximises the scenic vista out past the pool with its natural-looking rock waterfall, across the lake to a bush-lined stretch of reserve. The next surprise is the home’s age. It is only after talking to James, who owns the house

with his wife Karen, that I discover the smart rendered property with a Colorbond roof is not the new build it BEFORE: The original 1970s-style facade. appears from the street. They They decided to get professional advice then have lived there for 10 years, with their three opted to go with the major changes proposed sons, aged 7, 10 and 12, in what was originally for both inside and out. The design and a 1970s-style brick and tile house. documentation was done by Seymour Lawler James says it was the decision to have a new Architects and architectural consultation kitchen that acted as the catalyst for the during the building works was by Mark Lawler complete transformation of the split-level Architects with Stephen Coon as project property. architect. The builder was Steve Martin, whose “The kitchen wasn’t in the best spot so we keen eye for detail ensured a high standard of had to improve it,” he says. “Our en suite work. occupied the north-east aspect of the home Stephen says the original street facade which was probably where the kitchen should presented a “bizarre roof form”. He says the have been.”

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FAVOURITE FEATURE This mustard-coloured wall with alcoves and an orange leather lounge in the cosy living room were chosen by the owners and provide bright splashes of colour to an otherwise monochrome palette.

CLEAN SLATE: Dark tiling is practical

and stylish.

new front roof simplifies the form and allows other elements to become the main visual feature, such as the new natural stone front fence (by stonemason John Wilson) which is not just a decorative feature but also serves to hide the low-slung washing line from the street. Inside, the top level was virtually gutted and reworked to maximise the water views, with Glas-STAX doors opening onto the back deck (there is a new sheltered front deck, too, with a barbecue). The stacking doors provide a seamless transition from inside to outside without interference from columns or fixed glass panels. James says: “The kitchen had to move to the

PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE, FLASHBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

bedroom so we had to find a spot for our bedroom. There was a sauna and spa in the house that were never used and occupied a view over the water so we moved our master bedroom there.” The bedroom has an en suite which shares the glorious water views through its timber bifold window doors. Both rooms are now ideally located – the kitchen has gone from the dark centre of the house to the north-east end overlooking the street and has an opaque glass splashback window that lets in the northern light and a generous four-metre-long CaesarStone island bench that can fit a dozen people around it. The Nadin-West kitchen won the kitchen of the

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year award in 2010 for kitchens under $30,000. James says dark floor tiling was chosen throughout this open-plan area because the dark slate that was there before had proved so practical. Their boys had shared a bedroom, which they enjoyed, but by using void areas in the previous design another two bedrooms have been created on the ground level with more rooms on the level below for use when needed as well as two separate double garages. “You start doing these things and wonder whether it’s worth it,” James says. Now they are enjoying the results and happily confirm that it was worth it.

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Suprise Package  

Featuring of additions and alterations to an existing waterfront home designed by Mark Lawler Architects