Spectacular sanctuary

Homeowners Anne and Paul’s stunning new home on the Central Coast was built with more than their family of four in mind.

Anne and Paul’s dream home started as a reno project (“let’s just add on a bedroom”) but ultimately turned into a new build that merely retained a small section of the original brickwork. Originally from the UK, they had moved to the Central Coast 18 years ago and had been living in Saratoga for several years before buying their current home near the water. It was built in the 1980s and the location was perfect, but the house didn’t quite fit the bill for themselves and their two children Holly and Scott. “We ended up building Ben Hur,” laughs Anne, who admits it was not their intention. “One of our neighbours even calls it ‘Little Taj Mahal’.” When planning began, Anne and Paul’s children were teenagers: “We wanted them to have their own spaces and entrance so they could come and go as they pleased,” says Paul.

“We asked them what they wanted, and Holly said, ‘a view and access to the pool’. Scott wasn’t fussed about anything really, he adds. We knew they would leave home eventually, but we wanted them to have somewhere to come back to.”

“And of course, we wanted a parents’ retreat,” laughs Anne who had some rather special requirements of her own. She is chairing the Central Coast branch of WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.), Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, and she confesses she usually has “animals everywhere.”

“I am the coordinator for the macropods (kangaroos and wallabies) and regularly have one in the hotbox in my office. And depending on the time of year, there might be a possum here and there and a few bats. We also needed to include a playpen in the office and a separate enclosure in the garden.”

The builder of this impressive abode was Michael Thurston from B&K Developments, who Anne and Paul found via a friend. They were impressed with Michael from the moment they interviewed him: “Throughout the whole project Michael was excellent,” comments Paul.

“If there was a problem, he would be upfront about it, but also explained what needed to be done and got on with it. The whole team was phenomenal.” While Anne and Paul managed the project and interior design, they said having Michael’s tremendous experience was “incredible. He never tried to influence us but always gave us really good advice.”

Michael adds: ”there were a number of challenges to overcome with this extensive alteration and addition, along with numerous decisions on details and finishes. Close collaboration and regular communication was required to achieve an end product we are very proud of.”

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Luke Brodin

Read more in the Winter issue of Hunter&Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.