Built from the heart

Fiona and Richard went on a decade long, inspirational journey to create their stunning forever home overlooking the beach where their relationship began.

Dudley beach is where it all started for Fiona and Richard, more than two decades ago. “This place is very special for us, and being able to live here one day, has always been a dream of ours.”

Richard is a keen surfer and the couple share a love of the ocean. They enjoy the relaxed community vibe in Dudley and appreciate the nurturing environment of the local public school. But more than anything, they wanted to eventually live near the place where their relationship began to flourish.

They started their family in a little house in Charlestown. “We turned it into a real home and we loved it. But it was never going to be our forever home,” they said.

Over the years, Richard kept track of homes in Dudley that might fit their requirements and by 2013 they had found a property that ticked all the boxes.

“Another house on the same street had initially caught my attention,” Richard explained.

“But by the time Fiona went to have a look, a for-sale sign had gone up on this property and it was perfect for us. The other house would have been out of our price range, but it had some beautiful design features and helped us gather ideas and inspiration for a future renovation.

“For several years, we just lived in the existing home. We knew that it held the potential for something really special. So, we saved and saved, and got a feel for the place: where the sun was, how it set and how it felt during the different seasons.

“We also collected shells, pebbles and driftwood from the beach for our colour scheme. We just kept on researching what we wanted, and we did a lot of brainstorming.”

The couple still has the handwritten mind maps they drew up almost a decade ago, describing the features and must-haves of their dream home.

“We had quite a bit of fun, developing our vision for a home that would represent our love of the beach, of each other and our beautiful family,” Fiona shared.

Read more like this in our Autumn Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Teresa Muse Photography