About a year ago Tony and Barbara McNiff, their daughter Tegan and dog Charlie moved into their new house within Medowie’s Pacific Dunes, an 18-hole championship golf course and residential estate community.
A family of golfers, they were excited to live so close to the green, right behind the 18th hole. Before this they’d lived on a different property within the community, a house on Augusta Street.
Their current house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a spa that the couple enjoy every night. Barb and Tony have both worked in the military, Barb for 10 years, Tony for 34, and now their son, Ryan, who has since moved out, is also in the armed forces.
Because of work, the McNiffs have lived in many places including the US, so now they are looking forward to staying put in their current home for the foreseeable future.
“We’re not going anywhere now. This is where we’ll stay,” Barbara says.
“We’re at a point where we have everything (we need) and everything is comfortable,” Tony says.
The colours are very neutral in the house.
“I’ve tried to stick with matte black because it’s easier to pair with. Same as the down lights above the TV, just easier. Sometimes you can have too many different things,” Barb says.
Tegan said her favourite thing about the house is a snuggle chair in her room.
They haven’t upgraded the furniture or décor much, barring their new lounge. They have decorations and mementos from their travels.
Their elephant and rhino painting were from Hong Kong. The water colours were from when they lived in the States.
The emu painting outside the guest bedroom always sparks interest and curiosity. The story goes that the McNiffs were in a Melbourne hotel where a local artist had work displayed, including the striking emu painting.
“Our son was quite drunk and he was carrying on about how he loved it and he wanted to buy it, and his aunt went back and got it for his 21st,” Barbara says. “But it seems appropriate to be in the house now.”
The emu’s eye seem to follow anyone who looks at it. Barb didn’t want Tony to put it up originally, but now they agree it works quite well.
Tony retired in September 2014, and they’ve done a big trip every other year since then. Their big trip this year will be Europe. They’ve visited Amsterdam, Hawaii, Norway and Rome.
The canvas with the bears in the bedroom is from when they did the big loop in Banff, Canada.
In the foyer they have war memorials in the form of rocks from Anzac Cove, Villers-Bretonneux and Pozières.
They also have Inuit stone art from Canada.
They decided to move to the latest location when Pacific Dunes made the land available. Rawson homes built their house with some input from the McNiffs.
The McNiffs didn’t make huge alterations to the house but they did make a few amendments to the home’s original floor plans.
The original plan had a rumpus room, but they modified it to make more room in the garage and a small study.
Pacific Dune’s golf course and serenity were big selling points for Tony. Barb is from Sydney and Tony from Melbourne, so they welcomed the quietness of the place. Tony said he couldn’t sleep when they first moved to Pacific Dunes because he wasn’t used to the silence.
“The dunes itself has a nice community as well,” Tony says. “It’s been about 11 years now that the golf course has been open; this was the second to last parcel of land to be released.”
Along with golf course, there’s also a 25 meter pool, tennis court and club facility. A four kilometre walking track lines the perimeter and there’s a communal barbecue area. From the McNiff’s house it’s a three-minute walk to the golf club.
“It’s half an hour to bay and Newcastle, and 45 minutes to the vineyards,” Barb says of the convenient location.
With the golf, the community, the nature and the location, the McNiffs seem to have found the perfect home on the range.