Trust the process

Virginia and Dion trusted their team of local experts and suppliers to turn the Federation-style home they had fallen in love with, into a welcoming haven equally suited to entertaining and a busy family life.

We are refugees from Sydney,” Virginia jokes. “Living in the big city was great when we were young and had two incomes but it became a challenge once we started a family.

“We moved to Newcastle ten years ago and settled in Cooks Hill before buying our house in Hamilton East in 2015. The house had been renovated a decade earlier but wasn’t fit for purpose, with the kitchen being quite small and the flow of the floorplan not working for our family.

“However, the location was fantastic, the house had great bones and we could see its potential. It was love at first sight. I’m a believer in trusting your instincts, and this was no exception. “We knew we would eventually renovate but didn’t want to rush it.”

A few years on, the family was ready, and the couple began looking for local trades and suppliers who shared their values and design preferences. “We are in a heritage-sensitive area and being respectful of that was important to us. We wanted a functional home to live in, not a showcase. With two young boys, who can be loud, boisterous and a bit grubby, plus a dog, liveability and durability were key.

“We wanted a robust house, one where you could quickly wipe down the crayon off the walls and mop up the mud on the floor if need be. And we wanted the home to grow with us and be versatile enough to accommodate the kids growing up.”

Virginia and Dion work from home regularly and needed an office space away from their busy family life.
They were happy with their home’s original footprint but wanted to improve the flow of the interior spaces to better suit their family’s needs.

Design for life

The couple chose Newcastle-based Space Design Architecture (SDA) to draw up the plans for their reno and their builder, Joel Ayton from award-winning BuildArt Projects, had been recommended by Virginia’s brother.

“We had a very strong sense that he was the right builder for us and from the outset we trusted him implicitly. He could sense that we needed help with some of the design decisions and recommended Riss and Courtney from Newcastle interior design studio Bone + Blanc.

“We realised very quickly that Bone + Blanc’s vision and values aligned with ours. If we have one regret with our renovation, it’s that we didn’t engage them even earlier in the process. We gave Riss and Court a general steer of what we wanted, and they created the entire look and feel of the house from there.
“We turned the old dining room into a bedroom, we moved the location of a bathroom and the laundry and created a versatile second living area.

“We call it the library, the kids call it the playroom, and it’s a beautiful quiet place, where you can light a fire in winter and be surrounded by books.”

Entertainer’s dream

“A key requirement of our design was a massive kitchen with a huge island bench and a kick-ass wine fridge,” laughs Virginia, who is a keen entertainer.

“The kitchen is the beating heart of our home and is at the centre of a welcoming open plan living area, perfect for entertaining and when the kids have friends over.”

To make that all happen, the builders moved back an interior wall and replaced the gently angled ceiling, creating a sense of subtle cosiness. Plenty of storage was a key requirement, along with “the biggest island bench we could get without having to join the stone.”


Joel Ayton from BuildArt Projects provided expert advice and executed this stunning renovation with flawless perfection.,

Hunter Valley Granite & Marble expertly crafted and installed the stone benchtops for the kitchen, pantry, vanities and laundry. Visit their showroom at 795 Hunter Street in Newcastle West., (02) 4023 5751

Discover more of King Living’s luxuriously comfortable sofas, armchairs, beds, dining tables and chairs at their Newcastle showroom on 85 Parry Street.

More about this beautiful home in the Winter Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Katie Wade