Homes of the Hunter | Cooks Hill

Alexandra Coffey moved in to her Cooks Hill house just six months ago, and she’s quite happy with the home and the location.

She lives alone in the three-bedroom terrace. There’s one bathroom with a spa and a ‘quaint’ outhouse in the courtyard.

“It fell into my lap, if you would believe, a year ago I had my first trip in an ambulance and I befriended a paramedic and she let me take over,” Coffey says.

“It’s felt destined and fortuitous and, in a way, random, like god, life’s weird.”

Coffey was born and raised in Newcastle, but she’s spent quite a bit of time in different parts of Australia and abroad in Tokyo, Amsterdam and New York.

Cooks Hill has always been the place where Coffey spends her time when she’s in town. She’s lived in a few Cooks Hill houses, some quite moldy.

She loves the lightness and warmth in this house and that there’s no dampness at all.

When the owners renovated the 100-year-old Victorian property, they created a nook outside next to the kitchen and built a display garden with windows that bring a lot of natural light into the kitchen.

“I like being surrounded by white, it makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together,” Coffey says of the colours in the townhouse.

“I like plants, and red is a happy colour for me.”

She believes the health of plants in a home is a good sign of what’s going on energetically.

“Because I’ve travelled so much, I really like to be minimal. There are no Tupperware containers without lids; it brings me happiness,” she says. “I’ve got three egg flips at the moment; that’s superfluous.”

She describes her home as cozy, and it’s easy to see why she’s chosen to open the space to clients of her business, Grow Where You're Planted Bodywork Therapy.

She uses the downstairs bedroom as a treatment space. Her home is her business.

“Bodyworks is a holistic physical therapy,” Coffey says. “It’s looking at the whole body but focusing more on acupressure, reflexology, meridian and emotional connections to physical tension.”

She’s been operating Bodyworks for seven years.

“There’s not much I haven’t seen. I love treating people with chronic illness,” she says.

She also runs a plant-based catering service from her humble kitchen, but she doesn’t do it full time like she used to; when she lived in Amsterdam she opened a café.

“I find to when I do it full time I lose a bit of the love; for me food is just a really easy way to love people,” Coffey says.

She describes her life now as cooking, writing, working, sunset swim dates with her dad and taking her dog, Charlie, for walks.

“I love my dog, and he’s not as portable as I am, and I have phenomenal client base here,” Coffey says. 

Charlie jumped into her lap six years ago as a stray at One Penny Black.  He’s calmed by the classical music she regularly plays in her home. 

“My mum used to say I was five going on 80, I’ve always sipped on tea and listened to classical music, Coffey says.

She also loves to people-watch quietly from her plant-adorned balcony, and is quite happy with her neighbours. She thought there would be more riff-raff and night culture, with “bogans peeing on bins”, but actually she’s found it’s fairly quiet with lots of DINKs (double income no kids) and medicos. She says her street is pretty cool and without loud late-night parties.

That said, there’s plenty of opportunities for spontaneous fun at her place and in the area, and she regularly entertains her friends in the evening, most of whom are foodies.

“At the café on the corner, (Cornerhouse) I’m always bumping into people I know; it’s nice to see the mass exodus from Sydney as well,” Coffey says. “Cooks Hill is a village; here I feel like it’s going to be alright.”

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Email weekender@theherald.com.au.