Novocastrian Beth Anastasiou loves bright colours, and this love is evident in everything she does, including the style of her clothes to the ceramic donkeys in her house. From the brightly striped toilet lid in her bathroom to her colourful crystal champagne glasses, her home is welcoming and vibrant.
“I’m trying to make my house as colourful as possible. I haven’t finished with my art on the walls; I’m going to get one of [local artist] John Barnes’ pieces on the wall,” she says. “I love the artworks I already have by [local artist] David Hampton.”
She moved with her eight-year-old son, Tasman, from Tighes Hill to Garden Suburb in January, and, while it’s been an adjustment, she loves the gorgeous view of the trees, hearing the birds and how quiet and peaceful it is.
Despite the longer drive into town, she enjoys the extra space and also the view from her balcony, where she has breakfast every morning and enjoys a glass of wine on some evenings.
Succulents, other plants and fresh flowers adorn her home.
“There’s always something in a vase. I am obsessed with flowers, I even have tattoos of flowers,” Beth says.
The decision to move to the suburbs was one Beth made with her partner at the time. The two had hopes of extending the family, but plans changed. Now, mum and son have found that the house is too big for them. The four-bedroom, split-level home has two bathrooms and two living areas. Beth and Tasman live only in the upstairs space.
Beth says that once she does a few more renovations, she’ll potentially be looking for a housemate for the downstairs area (a housemate who likes drinking champagne out of crystal she jokes).
She describes her home as a mix of modern, retro and antique, and she’s not finished with it yet.
She plans to decorate her bedroom with green and blue paisley retro wallpaper. A deep blue couch in the lounge room catches your eye immediately. Beth loves designer furniture and has an abundance of homewares and a polka-dot bedspread by Karen Walker, her favourite.
Special items in her home include a striking clock with a buck’s head on it. It’s a Croatian clock that her stepmother’s parents were throwing out. They brought it with them when they migrated from Croatia. Beth saw it, fell in love with it and had to have it.
Her donkey fascination can be traced back to her grandfather. He came over from Greece, where donkeys are common. Beth came across a ceramic donkey and it resonated with her. She now has more than 40.
Another collection she hopes to display soon is her Living Dead Dolls. She has more than 60 horror dolls, which come in coffin shaped boxed and have death certificates. It’s an unexpected contrast to her infatuation with flowers and bright colours.
“There was a rotted tree stump with no prettiness at all when we moved in. I got someone to build a sandstone garden bed and he planted Australian native grasses and daisies and kangaroo paws. It makes the place feel so much better,” Beth said.
“When we got here this was all gross carpet with beige walls; we ripped all the carpet up in the living area.”
Now she’s polished the hardwood floors. She brought all of her furniture from her old house and buys lots of local art. She has cushions from the Emporium, and her favourite artworks in the house are the pieces of couples passionately kissing, by local artist Felicity Howard.
She said another important addition to the house will be a schnauzer named Colin; she and Tasman have wanted him for some time.
When she lived in Tighes Hill she had lots of parties, bonfires and get-togethers. She hasn’t had many people over to her new place yet, but she’s planning a massive housewarming party in August to properly christen the place.
The beginning of 2017 was full of change for Beth. Not only did she leave her home in Tighes Hill, she left her position at Newcastle City Council. She describes her life and house as a “work in progress”.
In their new home in the suburbs, she and her son are off to a new start full of nature and colour.
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