It was a walk home from the hairdresser that led artist Annie Everingham to discover her future family home in Waratah, Newcastle.
‘I walked past this particular house, and instantly fell in love with it,’ she says. ‘I scurried home and told [my husband] Chris all about it and made him drive me back past to show him. He loved it too, and we both agreed that it would be a beautiful house to buy and renovate if we were ever so lucky to come across it up for sale.’
12 months (and one intense auction) later, the home was theirs!
Annie and Chris were attracted to this house for its Spanish Mission-style features including beautiful arches, ornate ceilings, and original timber floors. There’s an inherent character to the property reflective of its history and many previous owners — one of whom lives right around the corner!
‘When we moved in, our neighbours over the back fence came to introduce themselves and told us they had owned the house in the ‘80s and ‘90s… They had a printed history of all the previous owners and photos.’
Thanks to these previous owners, Annie and Chris know many historic details about their home typically lost to time. ‘It was a Spanish Mission bungalow built during the great depression in the 1930s by a talented and out of work builder, who handmade all the bricks himself,’ says Annie.
‘Newcastle is historically a working class city, and most of the homes here were predominantly miners cottages and weatherboard homes, so the style of the house is unusual for the area.’
Ater moving into the home in 2018, Annie and Chris painted all the walls and updated the outdoor areas. They demolished the existing concrete and brown brick surfaces and installed a new patio, fresh turf, and tropical plants around an existing cactus garden.
More extensive renovations commenced when the pandemic hit and the couple were expecting their first child. ‘We discovered Augie was on his way and Chris sprung into ultimate nesting mode (fast forwarding our ‘down the track’ plans), and before we knew it we had a major renovation underway and a very tight timeframe to get it all done before the baby arrived!’ says Annie.
The couple worked with building designer Murray James to redesign the entire back section of their house. What was a pokey floor plan encompassing a small ‘landlocked’ bathroom, dead space, and asbestos became a functional domain opening to the outdoors.
In the original rooms of the house, Annie re-stained the timber floors a dark Japanese brown. ‘Everyone (including the floor sander and the participants of an Instagram poll!) tried to talk me out of it, but it was a risk that paid off,’ she says. ‘It’s one of my favourite features and I think it pays homage to the grandeur and quirkiness of the house.’
‘New’ features to the front exterior match the character of the original architecture, including the antique patterned tiles on the front porch, sourced from Jatana Tiles.
The interiors are deliberately neutral to allow Annie’s ‘stuff’ to speak, including a growing collection of original artworks by local Australian artists Stanislas Piechaczek, Nicole Nelius, Prudence Caroline, Loralee Jade, and Giorgia Bel.
The most recent addition to the property is the backyard plunge pool facilitating a ‘holiday retreat’ feel. ‘We still have some landscaping to do (the pool was literally being finished the week these photographs were taken) but it’s really completed our vision,’ says Annie.
Last but not least is the home’s location in Newcastle, that Annie describes as the perfect mix of city and surf. ‘Newcastle as a city is just constantly on the up and up… There’s lots of creative people making stuff happen here.’
The family home is a serene and calming place with plenty of cosy spots to escape the everyday. Annie says, ‘It’s truly one of a kind, and we’re really proud to be a part of its story.’