Alex and Matt Wegner and their two daughters, Millie and Ivy, have lived in Newcastle for the past three years, but moved just months ago to their unique weatherboard, two-storey, three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Tighes Hill.
This is their third house in Tighes Hill.
The house is a combination of recycled sandstock brick (originally from convicts) and recycled timber. The wood with the blue marks came from old churches. Upstairs in the mezzanine level are the milled handrails from Nobby’s beach. It also has used Port Kembla steel beams.
“Our other house is just around the corner,” Alex says. “We had a look at the house and when I walked in I was like ‘oh my god; I really like this house.’ I suggested to mum we put a granny flat in the back.”
They loved the house so much, but they didn’t think they could afford it. Then they found out it was passed in at an auction, and they could indeed afford it. Now they do plan to build a granny flat for Alex’s mother, Diana Hutchings.
“In winter you get so much light in this room, it’s warm without needing the fire,” Alex says.
Along with the stunning natural light, the bright blues stand out beautifully in the kitchen and bathroom and also in the furniture.
The slanted ceiling in the back of the house and high windows allows sun the cascade into the lounge room and mezzanine level.
The industrial materials combined with high ceilings create an interesting feel of both church and workshop.
They have no shortage of local art. Tony Langford did the kitchen painting, a door with three faces. They also have works by Shelley Cornish (mother of actor Abbie Cornish) and Michelle Brody. The mezzanine level is where Alex has her office.
“It has great views; great lighting in winter,” Alex says. “It’s good because it’s so warm. All the floor is all deep luscious wood.”
Alex is a trained graphic designer and illustrator, and she’s currently working as a graphic recorder. Her business is called Sketch It Live.
Her job involves standing at a whiteboard interpreting visually what is being said in the room, in real time. She usually comes in to help people during meetings, workshops and conferences. She helps people stay engaged by drawing the discussion on a white board.
Matt’s a builder and has always worked on renovating houses. He’s also looks after the kids regularly.
Before they moved to Tighes Hill, the family lived and travelled to a few different places.
They lived for four years in Bungendore, when Alex worked in graphic design for the Defence Force, and Matt renovated the place and looked after the kids.
Before that, they lived in Sydney. They decided to settle in Newcastle partially due to its proximity to Sydney where their parents lived.
They even took the kids on a nine-month adventure 22,000 km around Australia. They went up the east coast, through Uluru and down to Adelaide.
“We always loved Newcastle, been here for a few trips in between,” Matt says.
He adds that he couldn’t be happier with their current abode.
“We had to pinch ourselves,” he says.
As the family continues to make plans to accommodate the granny flat, the needs of their growing kids and their pooch, Letty, there’s plenty of opportunities for them to use their creative skills.
It’s good to see a family of talented travellers putting down roots locally.