HOME TOUR “Having Luke as the buildermeant we could have a lot of crafty and considered carpentry throughout.” – Justine Orton ‘‘ H Having spent the last decade flipping houses and custom-building residential homes, husband- and-wife team Luke and Justine Orton (of Orton Building) decided it was time to turn their attention to their family home. Using local tradies, designers and retailers that they love to work with, the couple set about building a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the beachside suburb of Merewether, just south of Newcastle City. Having fallen in love with the suburb and its beachy location, the Ortons lived in a tired-looking weatherboard cottage for two years with the goal to one day tear it down and build their dream home. Instead of demolishing the old house, they sold it for free on Gumtree and had it relocated to an inner suburb of Newcastle. Now, left with a blank canvas, Luke and Justine got to work creating what they call an urban coastal home that sits harmoniously within its suburban setting. A pitched roof with timber panelling and whitewashed exteriors set the scene for what lies within. Flooded with natural light, the soft curves and muted coastal hues create a calming oasis within the elongated design. Through the front door, a curved timber feature wall runs the length of the hallway and into the spacious open-plan living area, passing the retreat-like main bedroom and kid zone alone the way. “Having Luke as the builder meant we could have a lot of crafty and considered carpentry throughout – hidden doors, textured walls, a tiled ceiling, timber screening, curved walls, hardwood flooring and decking,” explains Justine. The home’s hub – the open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area – plays on the relaxing, earthy and textured vibe of a holiday home. Looking out over the pool area, the kitchen’s large concrete-look Caesarstone island bench doubles as a casual breakfast bar. A hidden door opens into the pantry, and the kitchen’s cabinetry has the same white base that runs across all the living areas. A stunning painting by local artist Annie Everingham hangs in the dining space. Its soft pinks and desert hues bring colour to complement the zone’s timber dining table and pendant light. Across from the dining area, a stack-bond brick fireplace defines the lounge room as light filters through the sheer curtains onto the muted colour palette. Back down the hall, the master bedroom and ensuite is the dreamy parents’ retreat that the couple had longed for. A tall raked ceiling, wool carpet and sheer curtains sit harmoniously alongside the rattan and timber styling choices. A hall lined with joinery on one side and beautiful artwork by Kiasmin on the other leads to a spa-like ensuite complete with a deep-set bathtub. The parents’ retreat may be off-limits to Luke and Justine’s two young children, but the two bedrooms separated by the main bathroom and a rumpus room are anything but. Keeping the bedrooms simple, the rooms are designed to be a calming space for the kids to read and sleep. On the other hand, the rumpus room has pops of colour, a hanging swing and toys galore, making it a fun play space for when the children aren’t outside playing in the backyard. “The outdoor entertaining area off the kitchen is my favourite part of the home. The resort vibe, not only of the house but of this area, is so lovely to come home to,” says Justine.