Big sky paradise
Building this incredible and unique home on one of the highest points in Port Stephens was both a challenge and a privilege for one Hunter couple.
Melissa and Martin moved from Tasmania to Port Stephens in 2007. Having found their dream location they spent the next 11 years searching for the perfect site to build a dream home. “We always preferred an elevated site rather than the waterfront and we just had to have views of the Yacaaba and Tomaree Headlands,” says Martin. “This was the only piece of land we could find that delivered on every count. At 118 metres above sea level we are on one of the highest hills in Port Stephens.”
Sitting on top of the world, many homeowners might have been tempted to build a domineering trophy home, commensurate with the commanding location. However, Melissa and Martin’s brief for their architect Michael MacCormick was that they “didn’t want a glittering tiara, but rather a perfect, polished diamond.”
“It’s such a privilege to have a block of land like this,” Melissa interjects. “We really felt the home we built should respect the land and do it justice.
“When Michael came here for the first time, he got out of his car, looked up and said, ‘man, that is a big sky’. We wanted the house to reflect that feeling, that sense of living in the sky,” Martin adds.
“Michael was meticulous in his attention to detail. He would ask us things like ‘do you eat breakfast inside or outside? Do you have cups of tea in bed? Do you like to watch television?’ He used all that information to design a home that is perfectly suited to our lifestyle, who we are and what we love.
“I usually get up first and make a drink and I don’t want the sound of the coffee maker to wake Melissa. That’s why there are two doors between our bedroom and the kitchen. Michael even made sure that on the longest and shortest days of the year, sunrise and sunset are aligning exactly with the north easterly orientation of the house.”
For your eyes only
With just two bedrooms, two living areas, an extensive home office, a swimming pool and, above all, breathtaking 360-degree views, the home extends across three levels with the street facing façade deliberately concealing some of its uniqueness and splendour.
It is a fitting feature for a home that derives its spectacular beauty not from in-your-face glitz and glamour but from a pared back, sophisticated sense of style and elegance. These are homeowners who didn’t need or want to make a bold statement to the world. They were keen to dial back the spectacle, to let the magnificent location, the views and the carefully chosen finishes, textures and custom details tell a story of authentic, natural beauty – a perfectly polished diamond that reserves its brightest sparkles for its owners.
The couple love “floating around in the dark” and felt that wall sconces were more than enough. They didn’t want downlights in the ceiling.
It’s a home that has been custom-designed and built from the granite slab under the chemical free, freshwater pool to the next generation solar power system, with every tiny detail innovative and well-considered.
Read more in the Autumn issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.
Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Joshua Hogan and Clifford Wakeman