Angela Stewart has called her Victorian weatherboard cottage in Fremantle’s river locale home since the 1980s. She relocated here after a 15-year stint in the South West of Western Australia, after which she was torn between living in the Perth Hills and beside the water. However, it was the rawness of this North Freo precinct, which sits between river and ocean, which finally drew Angela and her family into its streets. These days Angela lives in her much loved home with Rupi her Jack Terrier, hosting regular extended visits from her grown up children and grandchildren.
There’s talk the house once belonged to an early North Fremantle mayor. While unverified, it’s easy to imagine him standing on the front verandah and look to the Swan River. Today, however, the house sits in a densely populated street of original worker’s cottages and new homes.
While the home is tightly nestled between other homes, stepping into Angela’s house imparts an instant feeling of space and calm. ‘My first ever impression of the house was a sense of peace. I sense it still,’ says Angela. ‘However, I also love the close proximity to neighbours, and how the street is alive with people passing and children playing.’
Recent renovations have provided Angela with a similar balance. The result is a bright, practical space to entertain family, friends and ‘four adorable noisy grandchildren’, alongside a quiet retreat for solitude, painting, reading and taking time out with Rupi.
Angela has been careful to keep renovations and additions to her home consistent with the home’s original footprint. She’s added a living room at the rear of the property, and last year enlisted designer Lorelle King to renovate the kitchen, bathroom and add a new studio.
The home serves not only as a living and entertaining space, but also as an ever-changing showcase of Angela’s collection of contemporary artwork and antique furniture. Her growing art collection is made up of works by friends and local artists known to her, such as Giles Hohnen, Theo Koning, Trevor Vickers, Frank Morris and Susan Flavell. Alongside these, of course, are Angela’s own paintings. ‘I focus on the artwork in my home more than the furniture’ says Angela.
‘This home is all about my being close to my neighbours, children and grandchildren, the river, the sea, Fremantle, my friends and the natural light,’ says Angela. ‘I love being in my home.’