Surrounded by bushland in Melbourne’s north-east, Peter Helliar’s beautiful family home he shares with his wife, Bridget, and their three sons, Liam, 14, Aidan, 12, and Oscar, eight, is as sunny as the man himself. Taking inspiration from the outdoors, the home’s interiors have a warm welcoming vibe with a nod to retro style, thanks to Bridget’s passion for vintage looks and finds.
The open-plan kitchen with its reconstituted stone-topped island that extends at one end to create a small table is well suited to busy family life. “Bridget’s a great cook,” says Peter. “Her biggest strength with cooking is that she can improvise with whatever she has in the kitchen. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, she’ll make something amazing.”
What do you love most about your home?
"The view and the fact that there's so much space."
What would we never see in your home?
Peter: "I would have said a cat a couple of years ago, but we have one now - our grey cat Angle - and I've grown very fond of her."
Are you a bit of a handyman?
Bridget: "Peter's not the handiest of people."
Peter: "I can't claim to be a handyman, that's true. Whenever I do anything that's slightly handy, I feel a sense of pride that's way over deserved."
Favourite way to spend a Saturday?
Peter: "Saturdays these days usually taken up with the kids' sports. We have tennis in the morning and then three games of basketball after that. If the schedule allows, we do love a lazy couple of hours on a Saturday reading the papers on the deck with copious amounts of tea."
Hugging the side of a sloping gorge, the family’s light-drenched abode, with soaring ceilings and magical views, is a world away from the glitz and glamour of the red carpet. “It’s very peaceful here,” says Peter, gazing across the home’s shimmering infinity pool to the rolling hills beyond. “We get so much wildlife on the property,” adds Bridget. “We’ve seen eagles, cockatoos and kookaburras, and we’ve even had an echidna in the garage.”
“What’s nice about the home is it transforms quickly from a family house into a party house”Peter Helliar
The couple’s home fosters creativity and has also hosted some memorable parties since the couple moved in almost a decade ago: most notably Peter’s epic 40th birthday bash. “We had about 140 guests here and the billiard table did get danced on by a few members of the Australian television industry,” says Peter, adding with a chuckle, “if the walls could talk, this house would certainly have a few stories to tell!”