House of the Week | Cooks Hill | Photos

In Juliana Martin’s house, even the dog speaks three languages.

She’s originally from Brazil and her husband’s from El Salvador.

The pair have raised their two boys in different parts of Australia. They met in Miami and have since lived in Newcastle, Sydney, Western Australia and have since returned to Newcastle.

Enter her terrace in Cooks Hill and citrus smells and fresh flowers are the first thing you notice after you’re greeted by their friendly dog, Beatle.

Her three-storey dwelling is modern, and she reckons it couldn’t have been built more than 15 years ago. She loves her location where she can easily have beers at the Oriental and coffee from Welsh Blacks.

“This community in Cooks Hill is amazing, you feel like you are a part,” Juliana says. “They call your name at the coffee shop.”  

Juliana owns an interior design studio in Newcastle and, naturally, she’s very particular about her home. She’s clean, hates clutter and likes symmetry.

She doesn’t like a lot of furniture. She’d rather have the space to bring friends over to what she describes as their “crazy Latin house.”

“So we travel a lot, it’s my hobby to travel everywhere, so everywhere I go I bring something (back)”

“I think (my furniture) is more Scandinavian style, it’s very clean. Because we are Latin we have so many people here 30 or 40. It’s small, but I feel it’s comfortable to have friends over for a barbecue, party, whatever.”

They’ve been renting their place since 2015. The house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Downstairs are two lounging areas, with a kitchen and dining in between, and a sunny patio out the back. Her sons, aged six and nine, share a bedroom.

Across the hall, Juliana and her husband’s bedroom overlooks a balcony.

Large glazed doors with wispy white curtains open into the neighbourhood. Then there’s a guest bedroom on the third floor.

“For Australians who grew up in a house, they think it’s small, but for me, who grew up in an apartment, this is perfect. We are together all the time; we hang out all the time with the kids. It’s nice, you feel connected. You feel more like a family,” Juliana says.

She loves black and white (so much so that she says it’s a problem), but aesthetically it suits her house just fine. She has expensive taste in furniture, but also likes to hunt for bargains that she can alter to suit. Balance is important, she says.

“With a good eye, you can find (furniture) on eBay or Gumtree and then you just change the fabric. Then you find the mix and no one can tell what’s expensive. If you have good eyes you can find some treasures,” she says.

There’s lots of great natural light in the area, but she does keep the blinds drawn quite a bit and appreciates the frozen glass in the kitchen since they live in such a high-traffic area. It’s loud but she doesn’t care; it makes her feel alive. She’s from São Paulo, so she loves the noise.

The pieces that decorate the house are from all parts of the globe.

“So it’s books candles, some little pieces from Brazil, Canada and Miami I have been carrying everywhere,” she says. “Several pieces of Guatemalan art are from Central America.

She has photos from San Francisco when she went with her family and art from Hong Kong. A red bowl is from Florence, a painting is from a friend in Chicago and two French posters hang on the wall in the stairwell.

She has works from two local artists she loves, David Middlebrook and Brett McMahon.

A Renato Elkis photograph reminds her of her home country. It’s a picture of a person’s hands in Brazil.

It’s from the north in a place called Salvador with African influence. She says it’s Mae de santo style and all Brazilians know it.

“The more you travel the more you learn. I think travelling for my job is very important. The more you travel, you see architecture and culture and ideas it makes you more open,” she says of her work and her home.

Her space offers a refreshing peak into the lifestyle of city dwellers. From her travel to her origins and her family, Juliana’s life has clearly shaped her work, home and play.

Have a home that could feature in Weekender? We’d love to see it. Email weekender@theherald.com.au.