Australian Homes

Newcastle Home · Jody Robinson

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 15th August 2012

The Newcastle home of Jody Robinson and her son Quinn, photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Antique dresser in the dining room. Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Jody’s home office, artwork by Taryn Raffan.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

We’re having a very nationally balanced week this week…! After yesterday’s post, we’re springing back up to NSW today, with another inspired creative home in the lovely city of Newcastle.

This colour-filled home in the Newcastle’s vibrant suburb of Islington is home to Creative and Performing Arts teacher Jody Robinson and her son Quinn (14), who share their house with much-loved cats Rosie and Andrew (brilliant I cant believe their cat is called Andrew) and 10 huge fish in the courtyard pond.

If, before even reading this text, you guessed this is the home of an artist, 10 points to you!  (Was it the paint splatters on the floor?).  Jody has been in visual arts education for the past 17 years, she teaches both high school art students and art teachers at the University of Newcastle.  Outside of these ‘dayjobs’, she’s nothing short of a multi-tasking creative dynamo, always inventing and executing some amazing exhibition or arts event!

‘I am always happiest when I am crazy busy with a combination of creative side projects’ says Jody. In recent years Jody has created a regional art exhibition to co-incide with Mardi Gras called ‘Connected’, established art workshops called ‘First Class’ at the Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery (now in their fourth year), and put on various large scale arts, music and performance events in and around Newcastle. In recent weeks she’s also started an arts event business called The Sound Kitchen with a talented business partner, with the intent of bringing some hybrid arts and music events to the Newcastle cultural calendar!  Occasionally inbetween all this inspired creative madness, Jody also finds time to make her own work, in the light-filled studio space at the front of her home.

‘I guess you can say I am immersed in the arts, and my home and what is in it are a direct reflection of my career, my immediate surroundings and the creative people I meet along the way’. Says Jody, adding ‘for the most part the artworks scattered throughout my home are clever friends and acquaintances or local artists’.

Jody bought her house back in 2003 in a very different state to what you see here now.  ‘It was tiny’ says Jody – ‘literally a one bedroom cottage, with a peculiar facade of original windows, well worn floor boards with a history of paint splashes, and a bathroom shell yet to be completed. But at the time I was thrilled to bits. My son was only 5 back then so a partitioned room was created using a 1950’s timber medical screen’.

As time passed Jody knew she and Quinn were beginning to outgrow the space, and so began the long search for a new place.  Jody recalls ‘when we were house hunting an agent asked my then 12 year old what he was looking in a new house and he replied ‘a bedroom door would be good’!

But the search for a new home inevitably proved fruitless – Jody had become too fond of her local neighbourhood, and when friends bought the house next door, she made the decision to stay put.  Major renovations were planned and undertaken in stages – the footprint of the home is almost tripled now, after Jody added a two level extension at the rear of the little cottage.

‘With a small block, the house is literally snuggled between two others, so the renovation was quite a feat and was not too dissimilar from a game of tetris’ says Jody!  Of course the goal was to maximise every available inch. Fortunately Jody had a fantastic builder, Michael Dent, who was able to navigate these challenges in truly imaginative ways, creating a home that feels open and spacious, defying its rather small scale.

The renovations were completed around 18 months ago.  The cottage now boasts a studio space with amazing natural light, expansive living space, and a large kitchen and dining area where stacking glass doors open onto a tranquil courtyard space.  There’s also a walk in pantry and upstairs is a large bedroom, walk in wardrobe and ensuite.  A lick of paint on the facade, a bold yellow front door and a new front fence completed the project.  ‘And my son finally got his door’ says Jody!  ‘A big red one, salvaged from a demolished hospital to fit a strangely wide room opening’.

Of course in addition to the impressive use of space, the real appeal of this brilliantly styled home is Jody’s eclectic collection of art and furniture, amassed over years working in the arts and befriending many creative people!  Jody also says that the ‘genuine majority’ of her furniture has been gathered from roadsides and from second hand shops and markets.  Her knack for hunting out these salvaged gems came in particularly handy when furnishing the polished new sections of her home, post renovation.  ‘My challenge was to give the new renovated part a soul’ says Jody.  The injection of quirky pre-loved finds ensured a sense of nostalgia in these shiny new spaces, continuing the contrast of old and new throughout.

MASSIVE thanks to Jody and Quinn for sharing their wonderful home with us today, and once again to Siobhan Curran for facilitating our Newcastle trip and uncovering so many gems (including this house!) for us to feature!

Main dining area, with many excellent gem uncovered by Jody in hard rubbish!  Original white sebel chairs, Chiswell extension table.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Main dining space.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen. Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen / dining space.  Painting by Bridie Watt (Jody’s dear friend who bought the house next door!).  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining looking to courtyard and stairwell.  Artwork on stars by young designer Eryn Falconer.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sweet little collection of clocks in lounge / TV room.  Everything look great on white timber panelling.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

In the master bedroom Jody attempted to replicate a version of her Dad’s bedroom in the 1970’s! ‘He built a box to double as the bed base and seating then carpeted over it with white shag carpet to create what I thought was the coolest room ever as a kid’ says Jody. ‘Either side of the bed had pull down lights. Whilst I skipped the shag pile carpet, the concept here is  similar. It enabled an inexpensive bed base that also doubles as seating and storage space’.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom details.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking into main bathroom. Love the postcard collage on the door! Graffiti timber collage (left) by Patrick Solvyns. Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Details  – Graffiti timber collage (left) by Patrick Solvyns. Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Quinn’s bedroom.  LOVE the deep indigo on the timber panelled walls.  I will be most surprised if no one asks what this paint colour is!  If I had a dollar for everytime someone asks me a paint colour I do not know I would be a rich woman.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The train print is by Newcastle illustrator David R. Hampton, who we featured here during our ‘TDF hearts Newcastle’ week!  (Jody says sorry this print slipped inside the frame and she hadn’t got around to fixing it yet.. But I quite like the wonky aspect Jody!).  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Rear courtyard.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

House exterior.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

House exterior.  Photographs by Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 15th August 2012

35 comments

  • Cathg1g2 2 years ago

    I love this home, its theirs completely

  • Clare 2 years ago

    I have walked past this house so many times wondering what fabousness was inside. Gorgeous!!!

  • Siobhan C 2 years ago

    A delightful use of space. Jody really is a wonder woman.

  • Louise 2 years ago

    well done, sometimes staying put is the best thing ! A gorgeous space with loads of personal style !

  • Gaz 2 years ago

    One of my favorite homes yet! Love that the new has soul with the seventies touch. When are you coming to Brisbane, Lucy?

  • That timber collage is ahh-mazing! And their floors are inspiring me to rip up my carpet already even if the floor underneath isn’t perfect, it adds so much character.

  • brismod 2 years ago

    Personality plus. Great home which does eclectic well! xx

  • melbomba 2 years ago

    love the crazy mix going on here.

  • Pippa 2 years ago

    I am besotted with the train print and the home in general, so authentic! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Sonia 2 years ago

    Every couple of weeks there will be a sydney/melbourne home that will just be a bit too perfect and intimidating …

    But then every couple of weeks TDF comes back with something earthy and so reflective of the owner’s persona (like this one) will turn up ! Thanks Lucy.

    Love the character of the floor, the timber panelling and… I-want-that-bed-base too!

  • Adriana 2 years ago

    It’s great to see some exterior shots here Lucy!

  • Jessamy 2 years ago

    Love the plants out the front!

  • sunshine & daydreams 2 years ago

    I love the relaxed lived in style of this house. The only thing missing is a photo of Andrew and Rosie. Pets really add character to a house.

  • Kylie 2 years ago

    I love this house. I love how the old still looks old, and the new, new.

  • Robbie 2 years ago

    Just love the eclectic collection of furniture, art work et al. It’s always refreshing to see items from the past lovingly revived, it just makes this a home!

  • Megan 2 years ago

    Love love love! Jody/Lucy can you tell me what kind of floor is in the kitchen and kitchen/dining room? Resin? Looks too dark to be polished concrete! Its’ absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I’d love to do in my kitchen.

  • Jody 2 years ago

    Hi Megan, thanks so much for the very kind words. The floor in the kitchen is in fact a polished concrete. It was polished to a medium shine, similar to a more industrial ‘worn’ finish with some areas showing small amounts of aggregate and imperfection as opposed to a high gloss lustre.

  • Zosia 2 years ago

    I am truly in love with this house. The interior and exterior are right up my alley. The relaxed feel to there decorating gives it such a warm and welcoming feeling. Love that you have added an exterior shot. Love the front garden and the court too. Amazing.

  • Margie 2 years ago

    wow the front facade is divine!! I LOVE that small-ness.

  • Clare 2 years ago

    Featuring NSW and Vic is not “nationally balanced!” There’s four other States and two Territories that take up a lot more land mass than those two South-East enclaves, you know!

  • Door Emporium 2 years ago

    I’m quite intrigued with Dad’s bed sheet details. The illustrations somehow tells a story and I want exactly like that in my bed too.

  • Melissa 2 years ago

    Loving this home. Especially the interior plants and succulent pot on outdoor table..

  • Amberly 2 years ago

    Some people are just so dang creative and original with design – it really amazes me. Great home, great interview.

  • Brydie 2 years ago

    Just got super excited over this house for awhole bunch of reasons but mostly because it is just so deliciosly homely and unpretentious and I can totally see your personality here Jody…

  • Donna 2 years ago

    LOVE this beautiful house! This ones going straight to my TDF favourites (equivalent to “Going straight to the pool room” – The Castle style). xx

  • jessica 2 years ago

    Hi Jody
    May I please ask where you purchased your Bed Spread from??
    It’s so lovely! =) thanks Jess

  • kirsty 2 years ago

    Really liked how this house just draws you in to a warm personality. Can you please tell me if that black & white canvass?/picture is available? just stunning.

  • Jody 2 years ago

    Dear Jessica,
    That bed spread is actually a Target purchase from a clearance sale about 2 years back.
    I had hunted around online looking for something interesting but couldn’t find the look I was after.
    An after school dash for a plain t-shirt for a drama costume for my son resulted in my stumbling across the bedspread in one of those bargain bins. Happy days.

  • Jody 2 years ago

    Dear Kirsty,
    I purchased the black and white fabric from Ikea a few years back with the original idea to recover an old 1970’s lounge. I ended up stretching it myself over a recycled frame instead.

  • Alex Coote 2 years ago

    wow! It’s amazing to see your room. After visit this any one to spend his/her life inside this room.I always try to set my room with a good decoration ,so please suggest me to how to decorate a room properly.

  • Lea Esterhuizen 2 years ago

    This is one of the most stylish homes I have ever seen: graciously worn and inviting. I wanted to ask a cheeky question: Jody, you don’t happen to have a cousin called Dave Robinson? Would you mind getting in touch if you do. Thanks, and hope that doesn’t sound too intrusive.

  • Megan 2 years ago

    Stylish and charming but most importantly warm and inviting – this home is decorated with attention to every little detail. I have looked at each picture for several minutes, and even now every time I start scrolling, I see some small accessory that I have missed.

    Thank you for giving me inspiration for my own home improvement projects!

    Megan Steel

    Visit me at: http://www.carpet-cleaners-melbourne.net.au/carpet-cleaning/

  • Wayne Ferguson 2 years ago

    This little house was bought by friends of mine purchased in the 1990,s for 42 thousand dollars, they did a lot of restoration and the colours are still the same! The new owners did a very nice rear extension!

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