Much-loved family memories often have a way of working their magic when finding a forever home. Stephanie, Paul and their daughters Grace, Isabelle and Stella were living in Sydney when some Perth-based relatives told them a house in a favourite suburb was on the market.
“We both grew up in Perth and knew that one day we would come back,” explains Stephanie. “We weren’t in a hurry, but when the house became available we knew the location would give our children the outdoors, close-to-the-beach lifestyle we loved about our childhoods.”
The couple bought the property in 2011 and rented it out, but were soon on the move, to Hong Kong. “It made it easier to go, knowing we had a base in Perth we could come back to,” says Stephanie.
Four years on, she used the Northern Hemisphere summer break to base herself in Perth and meet with architects for what would become a new build.
Armed with a functional brief – a modern home that gave everyone their own space, but also the opportunity to be together; an outdoor area connecting with the indoors; and a lawn and pool – Stephanie appreciated the family-oriented approach of local architect John Lewis.
“John has three daughters of similar ages to ours and has a background in construction,” she says. “He was also comfortable in working with us while we stayed in Hong Kong and he was in charge.” John’s design oriented the house to the northern boundary, to capture the morning sun.
The ground floor is dedicated to family living, encompassing an open-plan living, dining and kitchen space opening to the outdoor pavilion, pool and backyard. Upstairs are three children’s bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as an adult’s retreat.
As the house neared completion, Stephanie and the girls returned to Perth permanently, with Paul going back and forwards. One of her first decisions concerned lighting and soft furnishings, prompting her to engage interior designer Emma Hann.
“Stephanie has a slightly more traditional approach than Paul and wanted to inject warmth into the modern aesthetic,” says Emma. “Neither was afraid of colour, which made the process fun and opened up a range of possibilities.”
The greatest use of colour is in the ground-floor formal living space, which is the highlight of an exquisite home that the family relishes every day. “We use every room,” says Stephanie.
“It’s easy to entertain or feel cosy when we are alone. Best of all, we are close to family and giving our kids the Australian childhood we both had and loved.”
“The green accent enhances the connection of the living area to the outdoors.” ~ Emma, interior designer
“We use every room in the house, and it works perfectly for everyone in our family.” ~ Stephanie
“Before you start, understand every square centimetre of your plans. There will be areas open to interpretation, so work with people who will help you navigate them and engage in rational, logical discussion.” ~ Stephanie
“Work with people you trust, whose work you like, but who can deliver. Also, spend money where it will make the biggest impact.” ~ Stephanie