Homes of the Hunter | Family luxury in Warners Bay | Photos

What do you think of when you picture your dream home?

Outdoor pool? Tick. Heated spa? Tick. Cabana with bar and fire place? Tick. Custom-built sauna? Tick. Top-of-the-range kitchen appliances? Tick. Indoor home cinema? Tick. Plenty of space for the whole family? Big tick.

With all the luxuries you could possibly want, this four-bedroom brick-and-tile dwelling in Warners Bay is a dream come true for the Finlay family.  

Shane and Michelle, along with their teenage children Sophie and Thomas, plus French bulldogs Charli and Lola, started building their two-storey home in 2013. They had a plan, but as often happens with a new build, ideas and changes pop up along the way.

“While the initial build was finished in 2014, the house wasn’t officially completed until 2017,” Shane said.

They wanted to get the dream right.

“We didn’t want builders who weren’t able to do the specialised areas,” Shane said.

So working with a range of expert architects, landscape architects, premier suppliers and contractors, they slowly but surely have achieved their visions.

With the family living areas on the ground floor and sleeping rooms on the upper level, there is plenty of space and seclusion for all, without feeling isolated.

A large Megan Weston artwork has pride of place in the central corridor, reaching the upper level void. Her work features throughout the house, with the relaxed interior decorating led by Shannon Fraser of Earth Interiors. She has selected pieces of furniture from Jardan and created a sense of freshness through use of greenery and fun textures.

What started as five bedrooms turned into four plus a games room, living room and study. The master bedroom has walk-in robe, ensuite with his-and-hers basins; while the other bedrooms have built-ins and a separate bath and toilet.

The games room accesses the upstairs verandah constructed in Merbau hardwood, taking in views across the suburb, horses grazing in the field below and over to the lake.

The ground floor is essentially one large open area, even to the outdoor alfresco dining area with barbecue. French windows along the kitchen can be opened and automated weather shields brought down on the outside of the deck to provide heat and inclusion.

The kitchen features Caesarstone benchtops, Miele appliances, including three ovens – one induction, one standard and one steam, plus warming drawers. A family dining area and lounge adjoin, with wraparound windows looking out the pool area to allow natural light in and a link between the indoor and outdoor.

The ground floor features a laundry, powder room and wine room. But the real knockout here is the cinema with bar. Shane didn’t want to settle for less than the best, so approached WaveTrain Cinemas to create a concept for the room.

“It features eight recliner chairs and four extra stools at a bar for dining,” he said.

The room is sound-proofed and speakers are in the walls for a truly surround-sound experience. The room has no natural air flow, so special air-conditioning was installed under the stairs to cool or heat ambiently. 

The family has shared the use of the cinema for charity events and it’s a magic spot for a party or to watch a major event. A bar room adjoining features a massive fridge with aquarium, games and beer taps. 

The wows keep coming when you step outside. The outdoor area, consisting of pool, spa, cabana, deck and sauna, was completed by Robinson Group Builders. Inviting and playful, elegant and artistic, the area has won Robinson Group a prestigious HIA Outdoor Project of the Year 2017 award.

The in-ground pool can be heated and there is a spa. A cabana built of New Guinea Rosewood and polished concrete floors provides an all-season space. 

With a natural garden setting, clear glass pool balustrades and spotted gum pool fencing, the area offers resort living at home.

There is also a self-contained sauna designed by Australian Sauna and Steam Rooms. Its exterior features corrugated Rosewood, while premium grade Western Red Cedar is used inside.

Have a home that could feature in Weekender? Email