Homes of the Hunter | Hamilton South home features art from Newcastle and around the globe

Walking into Jan and Frank Bynon’s house in Hamilton South is like entering an art gallery dedicated to local artists James Drinkwater, Lottie Consalvo, Aaron Kinnane and Rod Bathgate, among others.

It’s not just these artists, either. A vibrant red nude painting by Bromley greets visitors upon entering.

The couple have artwork from cherished friends, but also special pieces they’ve picked up on their travels across the globe, from Cambodia to China to Hawaii.

Jan has art in her house made by an artist who is currently featured in the Smithsonian, and she has a lacquered lotus flower in Frank’s media room made by a local woman.  

She has a miniature Destiny sculpture that artist Julie Squires donated for a Hunter Medical Research Institute fundraising ball.

Jan’s niece introduced her to the Hunter Medical Research Institute and she has become passionate about its work, as a good friend died of breast cancer.

The artwork and sculptures are all symbolic and make her feel amazing every day.

She said Drinkwater, who was selected as one of the greatest modern painters of all time, gave her one of his pieces.   

“It was in the Art Gallery of NSW; he bought it around as a present,” Jan says.

Also in the media room is a treasured abstract painting by Lottie Consalvo. For both Jan and Lottie, the painting holds great meaning, representing both women’s sisters.

The roomy house has high ceilings. The open interior gives a great view to the artwork on the first floor.

Just as compelling is the rectangular pool seen through the large glass windows.

Beside the pool is the backyard which has a tennis court and a pergola next to an outdoor kitchen that blends nicely with the indoor kitchen.

Even without the art on the wall, the space and the architecture would still give the home a gallery vibe.

The pair built the home 11 years ago. Before that, they were living in the house next door. Previously they lived in Bar Beach, and once they arrived in Hamilton South they loved their neighbours so much they decided to stay. They bought the land and original house, knocked that house down and rebuilt their dream home with the help of architect Helen Stronach.

Jan and Helen worked on the home together, and they took design features from places they’d already lived.

An important element to the home is that it’s a welcoming place for parties and fundraising. Jan said they were big party people.

“The tables and chairs get moved out, and this is the dance floor. We’ve had parties with just all girls and a band and raised $3000 to give to charities. We have a bit of fun and raise money at the same time,” Jan says.

The doors are wider than a normal house so you can fit a wheelchair through, and there’s a lift. They built it that way for Jan’s parents who were both in wheelchairs. Jan wanted to be able to bring them to her place whenever they were unwell and make sure that they could easily navigate the home with or without her.

“Now they’re both sadly gone, so it’s now become more a of a children’s area. They are the joy of my life.” Jan says.

The pair have three children, six grandchildren and there are two more on the way.

Her granddaughter, Frankie, was visiting on the day of the interview, and Frankie said her favourite thing about the house was the pool and tennis courts. She also likes that there’s lots of room for her to play.

Jan says Frank enjoys doing the trees, mowing the lawns, cleaning the tennis court and, of course, spending time in his media room, “the cave.”

Jan can be found at the kitchen table doing the word searches or crosswords. Either that or sitting outside with a glass of wine.

About 10 years ago the Herald wrote a piece about this house shortly after it was built. Despite the previous feature in the paper, the Herald approached Jan and she agreed to let us do a follow-up story.

Have a home that could feature in Weekender? We’d love to see it.

Email weekender@theherald.com.au.