Haven on the hill

Care and craftsmanship are on display in this new home designed by SHAC Architects, taking cues from the original cottage-style house that borders the block.

A salty breeze floats in through the master bedroom as first light hits the horizon. It’s a serene way to start the day.

And one that very much delivers on the brief for this new home: to create a calm, comfortable space that makes the best of the block and the surrounding sea views on The Hill.

For lead project architect and SHAC creative director Matthew Travis, the history of the site provided strong design inspiration. The original allotment – created back in the early European settlement of Newcastle – was subdivided and the new home now sits nestled between the old house and the stone wall that bounded the original block.

“The Hill is such a fascinating kind of place to work, because it’s such an eclectic mix of architectural styles,” says Travis. “We took a lot of the cues from the existing house, which is a follows the transit,” explains Travis. “It’s an amazing inclusion that was executed with a lot of care and skill.

The build was a collaborative partnership between SHAC, Built by Eli and the owners, spanning three years from initial design discussions to its completion in 2021 (with some stops and starts along the way due to Covid).

“There was always an innate trust in what everyone was bringing to the project,” Travis says. “We would meet up every fortnight to go through what was happening, what was working and to troubleshoot ideas. I think, in each home we work on, each of the people bring their own skills and craft along to the project, and that always makes it better than just the document that we create.”

It’s a sentiment that SHAC founder and managing director Justin Hamilton

shares. “Design doesn’t just stop when you’ve drawn the last line on the plan. It’s ongoing over the build, right down to that last keyhole,” he says.

Read the full story in our Autumn Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Story by Rosie Double, photography by Alex Mcintyre Photography