House of the Week | Merewether

An iconic location prompted the purchase of this stunning Merewether property.

The practicalities of day-to-day living got the ball rolling on a total renovation.

“When we bought it, we saw it come up, it was always one of those properties, it was an icon property to us,” owner Jane McIntosh says.

“We didn’t really think that we would get it and we did.”

The location on Kilgour Avenue, on the edge of the Bathers Way walk between Bar Beach and Dixon Park Beach, with a cliff-top vantage point, earns it the iconic status.

“The location, you can’t get much better in Newcastle,” McIntosh says.

The home, when purchased about three years ago, had only a single-car garage, which McIntosh couldn’t fit her vehicle in to.

“We thought if we can’t get our cars in, we’ve got to do something about it,” she says.

After seeking advice from Webber Architects, the vision for expansion grew much larger.

“We ended up totally renovating everything,” McIntosh says.

Webber Architects’ design not only provided added space, it opened up the home to capitalise on its stunning views and modernised the entire look and feel of the property.

Arches throughout the house and columns outside were removed, while walled-off spaces were opened up to the coastal views.

“We wanted to keep the actual facade and modernise it,” McIntosh says.

“We got rid of all the columns that were outside, but still kept that iconic look that it had. We wanted it very open, modern.”

A sense of location was a must inside too.

“We wanted a wow look,” McIntosh says.

The upstairs is now an open area boasting 180-degree views of the beach.

Balconies were added to other parts of the house to capture the city outlook.

McIntosh’s son, builder Brendan Johnston, completed the renovation of the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home.

Highlights include the open-plan living space upstairs and a media room, wine cellar and a man cave for McIntosh’s husband downstairs.

The man cave is a favoured place for novelties and entertaining.

Chief among the gimmicks is a water closet with a urinal and wall-mounted games console.

“That was the first one to be installed in Australia,” McIntosh says.

“They only just came out from the UK.”

The games change according to sporting events - when the World Cup was on, the console featured a soccer game.

Another mod con that is one of her husband’s favourites is a garbage chute that runs from the upstairs kitchen to the garage below, depositing waste in the rubbish and recycling bins.

McIntosh has added touches of luxury and elegance to the renovated house too.

“I watched The Block religiously,” she says.

The reality TV renovation show was where McIntosh discovered the Apaiser bath she so loves in the master bedroom ensuite.

This and other bathroom fittings, such as tapware, were sourced from Rogerseller.

McIntosh spent a lot of time at the Housing Industry Association Home Inspirations centre at Mayfield West, and discovered her ideal bathroom set up there.

She worked with Mirror Ceramics on the tiling, including a mosaic feature wall in the bathroom.

Special Lights, based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, devised a lighting plan for the home.

It sourced a white pendant light over the kitchen’s island bench that McIntosh had seen in a book.

McIntosh, keen on bar stools for the bench that weren’t too heavy, sourced the ideal set from Space Furniture in Sydney’s Alexandria.

Rutherford-based Prestige Design Joinery created an impressive walk-in wardrobe, which includes custom spaces for shoes and ties, as well as the home’s kitchen and bathrooms.

Further custom highlights are displayed in the bedrooms.

One features a mural of a girl, spotted online, sourced through a store in Sydney and made in Italy to the dimensions of the room’s feature wall.

An ocean-inspired mural in the other bedroom was painted over two nights by a Newcastle artist.

While McIntosh loves her kitchen, with it’s “amazing” window splashback and as a place to entertain (“I like having a dinner party when I get around to it,” she says), the master suite is the standout.

“I love our main bedroom, the ensuite, I love the fireplace, I love the Apaiser bath, I love the tiles,” she says.

“It’s my sanctuary.”