HOME: Brooks Parade, Belmont

SECRET: Retirees renovated their home to brighten up the interior take advantage of the wonderful views of the lake. PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE SECRET: Retirees renovated their home to brighten up the interior take advantage of the wonderful views of the lake. PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE
Nanjing Night Net

SECRET: Retirees renovated their home to brighten up the interior take advantage of the wonderful views of the lake. PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE

SECRET: Retirees renovated their home to brighten up the interior take advantage of the wonderful views of the lake. PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE

SECRET: Retirees renovated their home to brighten up the interior take advantage of the wonderful views of the lake. PICTURES: PHIL HEARNE

Retiring types have fairly simple criteria – for example a water view and a nice place to walk. . .

Lakeside Belmont offers both in spades, but that’s one fact the owners of this house don’t want readily known – at least not “to those Sydney people!”

Belmont born and bred, well known for their sailing links and utterly relaxed into “their space”, these retirees bought their retirement house “down on the flat” early on – 20 years ago in fact, after living on a steep block at Belmont North.

The reference to the Sydney invasion into one of the Hunter’s best-kept secrets is a common one around these parts, while “on the flat” translates more precisely into a two-storey house on Brooks Parade, with shimmering panoramic water views.

Their connection is to the area as much as it is to their house.

“You can walk to the shops, the highway is just there and we have the most amazing sunsets. I’ve sailed all my life and it’s beautiful to see the yachts coming down with their spinnakers.”

“We talked about where we would go if we have a chance to move and we both said we don’t want to live anywhere else. We like it that it is easy to get to places around town, close to the beaches and it is developing.”

Their love for their home town was reason enough to undertake a full renovation of the upstairs last year in a surprisingly short space of time.

It started with the bathroom in August which was completely renovated in an elegant white colour palate and “like Topsy, it grew!” quipped the owners.

Then came the rest of the upstairs which has been transformed from a timber-dominated theme with polished floors, chandeliers, timber venetians into a light and bright space using cool neutral whites and soft carpet underfoot.

A timber balustrade on the stairs was changed to stainless steel, a new wardrobe was installed into the old wardrobe space in the second bedroom and new windows installed in the lounge and dining rooms overlooking the lake.

The lighter, brighter interior has opened up the house to the water, and the owners say, has added another dimension to their lives, simply because they so much more enjoy the space in which they live.

An abstract of a wave called Washed Beach from Earth Quirks in Nelson Bay fills the neutral space on a wall nicely, while beach-themed colours in table lamps and shells add to the decor.

It also fits beautifully with the new kitchen installed a few years ago and a private deck which wraps around the back of the house on the first floor.

Framed by a mature tree, it offers plenty of privacy from neighbouring properties and being deciduous, doesn’t block sunlight during the winter months.

Downstairs has benefitted from the installation of a new floor covering in a bamboo-look laminate – a nice feature against a handsome timber and cotton replica yacht, that was gleaned from a weekend sojourn to Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne a few years ago. It sits at water level in the downstairs front living room with the lake as its back drop, giving the impression it is floating on the lake rather than atop a table.

The front deck has also benefited from a more modern approach.

Wrought iron ballustrades and colonial pillars have made way for glass, which enhances the views over the water and is the perfect place to idle.

“We watch the goings-on on the lake, there is always something happening – weddings, people having picnics and also because we have lived in Belmont for a long time, lots of people know us and come past for a chat.”

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