For three years now, Juelene Douglas has lived with her husband Greg in a three-bedroom house in Cooks Hill. Her lifestyle appears to be as beautiful as her house, and she even works three different interesting jobs from home, but she says her social life is her favourite thing about living in Newcastle.
With her friend and neighbour Liz, she runs a cacti business called The Prickle Shed. Cute little cacti are on display outside her house from front to back, particularly in her back studio. She’s also got lots of thriving non-succulents, giving the warm, fresh space even more of a natural vibe.
“I can’t kill a plant; and I like house plants more than cacti. Houseplants are prettier,” she says. (If that isn’t enough of a green vibe for the home, Greg’s job couldn’t be more appropriate; he is building windfarms.)
The house was recently renovated before they moved in, and she believes it was first built around 1915 or 1920. She knows two brothers built homes that were replicas of each other that shared the same wall. (She shares this wall with Liz.)
“They share a wall so it’s a split. It’s a semi; it was built as two mirror images,” Juelene says.
Since they were built, the houses have obviously been changed. (The previous owners live down the street.) The Douglases were excited when they found the house at a price they could afford; she says in Cooks Hill it’s rare to find something priced in the middle of the market.
Along with running the Prickle Shed, Juelene’s also a lawyer and interior designer. She’s been shortlisted for The Block. Her current house is her 10th renovation.
When they moved in, the house had already had an extension, along with a deck and a studio in the back ready to go, but the couple still opted to build the beautiful new bathroom and move the laundry to the new studio.
They also repainted everything.
She describes the flooring as a mixed red, a “back-in-the-war-sort-of-flooring”.
“As an interior stylist, the thing is this floor is all-encompassing; everything comes from the floor. The floor is the restraint. It’s not a minimalist floor it’s very warm and very strong,” she says.
She’s included blue hues.
“Everyone’s favourite colour is blue. The majority of people like blue and I like blue; I think it’s refreshing. It’s a really warm house, the floor is dark and red its warm tones, you should balance that with some cool colours,” she says.
Her interior design and colour consulting business is called Inside 78. She’s just moved her office inside from the studio out back to allow the cacti to have more room.
“I don’t like labelling the style,” she says of her home. “Everything just grows. That’s my mum’s typewriter and great grandad’s dictionary. You just get things that work together; the more history there is the more meaning in pieces. As long as you sit in your colour palette you’re okay.”
She enjoys the challenge of juggling all her different jobs.
The Prickle Shed was an unexpected development.
“My intention was to use my spare time to do design, but basically Liz and I had a few too many drinks and on a whim decided to do the Prickle Shed,” she says. “We were discussing what we would do out there (with this shed in her backyard). Literally after two minutes of brainstorming we said we’d grow succulents, because flowers die.”
On December 27, 2016, they had the conversation, and by Valentine’s Day they were in stores.
“It just happened,” she says.
Prior to her Newy life she was on the Central Coast. The couple used to come up to cafes in Newcastle all the time.
Since she’s been here, she feels so blessed by the people she’s met in the community; her friendships are so important to her.
Living in Cooks Hill they have barbecues and go to Lowlands with different people living on different streets in the area.
“I have a best friend two blocks down. I can’t walk around Newcastle or my street without finding a connection,” she says.
Her husband has many friends from playing cricket as well.
She said they wouldn’t live anywhere but Newcastle now. Looking at her home and life, it would appear she’s a happy Newcastle transplant.