House of the WeekHamilton South

House of the Week | Hamilton South TweetFacebook House of the week | Hamilton South Family adds their chapter to historic home’s story. Photos by Paul Dear+18Family adds their chapter to historic home’s story. Photos by Paul DearMORE GALLERIES


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappAfter years of relocating, an air force family are now first-time home owners, settling into a Hamilton South home built in the late 1920s. Louise is from Parkes and her husband, Grant, is from the Gold Coast.

Since they have been together they’ve had three children and lived in eight places, including time in Canada and five years previously in Newcastle.

“Newcastle is home for us. My husband did all his training here, I came to visit him. The first week I came I was like ‘this is it’,” Louise says.

After three months of intense renovations, the family moved in during March 2016. They’re hoping they can stay put in Newcastle for at least the next 18 months, if not longer. They bought the home three days before Grant’s deployment.

Their historic house on Smith Street was built for Newcastle Harbour Master Captain Henderson.

“Captain Henderson was here for roughly 40 years; it’s funny because the neighbors have been here all that time, and they used to do his grocery shopping,” she says.

After Captain Henderson, the next owners doubled the size of the house, extending the living area and building a garage and loft.

The house is in a heritage conservation zone, so they had to get approval to make changes to the exterior. While making changes, they wanted to retain the cornices and the solid timber doors and frames.

“You don’t want to strip out all of the beautiful art deco heritage features. It was a lot of effort working between contemporary and art deco,” Louise says.

The couplegot rid of a lot of the furniture they had accumulated since marrying almost 16 years ago, with the exception of a bar they bought when they lived in the Northern Territory and barstools that were inherited from Louise’s grandmother when she passed away 10 years ago.

They rewired the entire house, changed the paint and the floors. They redid the 1950s wardrobes, which were covered in contact paper.

“We’ve had every tradie known to man,” Louise says of the house. “My husband was away for the first half of the year; I was working managing 12 trades. I had them all on this deadline.”

She got as much done as she could while her husband was away so that they could chill out and enjoy their time together when he got back.

The house’s spacious dining, kitchen and family room is the biggest room in the house. It’s painted light blue with windows down an entire side that bring in great light.

Before, the kitchen was beige laminate with sandstone tiles on the floor.

“The kitchen took a month,” Louise says. “It’s a very technical kitchen, particularly as we’ve got quite advanced ovens. It was the surprisingly most complex thing.”

They tore down a wall, so what used to be a formal dining and sitting room is now one swanky lounge room and bar. It’s painted in rich navy blue and featuresstained glass windows and doors. It also has classic ceiling roses. The large space has a very different vibe to the sunny kitchen. Louise calls it the “grown ups’ room,” and she eventually wants to put in a fireplace.

They also have three bedrooms and the study. She said the study and bathroom still needed work. She’s taken particular care of the kids’ bedrooms. She made all the decorations for her three-year-old daughter Lara’s room.

“I’m really picky about what I want, so if I can’t find what I want I make it,” Louise says. “In Lara’s room there’s a cross stitch that I did when I was 10. To make it suit her colour scheme I took the matting out of the frame and painted it.”

Along with being crafty herself, a few shops around town helped her create her vision. The lights in her lounge room are from Papa Sven in Newcastle, and the solid timber furniture came from Wildflower Furniture in Warners Bay. She got her lounges from Plush in Newcastle. Thriving plants are all over her house, many from High Swan Dive.

They changed their home’s exterior as well. They put in an outdoor shower, paved areas, installed an electric gateand rendered the fence. Everything is new except the pool. They dug up about 10 metres of agapanthus and replanted them around the entire outside fence. Their kids now tend to the vegetables in the new garden.

Louise said Grant was incredibly supportive of all her plans.

“I kept waiting for my husband to say ‘no this is a crazy idea’, but he never did, bless his heart,” she says.

Louise said there’s more to be done, but for now she’s happy to take a break and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

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