Published in The Mercury's Home Magazine - July 17, 2015
Original article can be viewed by clicking here.
WHEN the Foster family decided to build their Tranmere dream home it was designed with not just the needs of mum and dad in mind, but a sister and mother too.
Stephen and Charon Foster, Charon’s mum and sister all live at their Oceana Drive home, having moved in a few weeks ago.
Or, that was the plan at least, until son Ryan and his partner Karaleigh decided to move home from the US.
Now Charon’s sister will be getting a place of her own, mum Alison Page will be moving from the virtually self-contained space downstairs to upstairs and next month Ryan and Karaleigh will take over the ground floor.
It was Charon’s idea to bring the whole family together.
She said it was a family tradition.
“My father built a unit at his house for grandma to live in, and my grandparents had my great- grandparents living with them prior to that,” she said. “Obviously we all get on really well!”
Stephen and Charon had been looking to build in Tranmere and spotted what became their block while looking at a few nearby.
“We put in an offer the same day,” Stephen said.
Selecting Wilson Homes was a no-brainer.
Wilson Homes has a history of excellence dating back to 1989.
It has won the national HIA award for Most Professional Builder twice, and six times at the state level, plus a selection of awards for its display homes, kitchens, bathrooms, marketing, townhouse developments, project homes and more.
The Fosters also have a family member who works for the firm.
The Fosters said they wouldn’t have considered anyone else.
“Importantly, they have finished the home to an amazingly high standard,” Stephen said.
“Any changes that we needed to make along the way were not a problem; the guys were very easy to talk to.
“And we had 23 variations to the design, but they delivered exactly what we wanted.”
Charon said renting and owning a few different homes helped them figure out what they really wanted for this property. They have incorporated the best bits of previous houses into the ultimate family home.
“We sat with Vern, the designer at Wilson Homes, explained what rooms we wanted and how they would connect, we discussed things like choosing brick over render because brick is so low maintenance — he was a great help,” she said.
More than a few times Charon said she felt blessed to live in such a lovely, luxurious home.
“The nicest thing is that we have built our ‘forever’ home,” she said.
Stephen said even when they first moved into their previous house he knew there were things he was not comfortable with.
“With this one, there is nothing I would do differently,” he said.
Alison said a key to the success of the build was that they see eye to eye.
“In a lot of ways we all have similar tastes,” she said.
“Our home is a conglomeration of all of our ideas and the highlights of our previous houses.”
Wilson Homes managing director Ben Wilson said a great relationship was forged between the Wilson team and the Fosters from the initial sales consult and design meetings right through to working closely with the building department to deliver the brief.
“The brief was a functional family home to suit multiple users — but with luxurious style and built around those all-important views,” he said.
“As the builder, we can proudly say we ticked the boxes on these.
“Their unique brief — to suit multiple users and affording individual space and comfort while still offering a luxurious family home — was indeed a challenge from design to delivery.
“And incorporating the all-important lift. It’s a credit to all of the trades involved.”
Ben said, as always, Tranmere by its very nature threw up challenges.
“From those predominant westerly winds to the infamous rock there were challenges, but on the flip side, the rewards offered by such a site and how the ‘right build’ harnesses these natural elements far outweighs these challenges,” he said.
Scattered around the property are many details that give it a personal touch.
While the show-stopping upstairs living room is beyond impressive — floor-to-ceiling windows, uninterrupted views, a big balcony that extends the living space, a grand kitchen and an inviting walk-in pantry — the smaller details matter.
Charon said what she loved the most about this house — apart from its light and warmth — was that it suited their family and all its particular needs beautifully.
One of her favourite rooms is a small one, the powder room.
“We repurposed mum and dad’s Huon pine bedhead and made a bench, the tiles are beautiful and our teal family’s ‘genie lamp’ takes pride of place; it influenced the home’s colour scheme,” she said.
The family wanted a lift and the design has beautifully integrated it so that the stairwell wraps around it. A nice feature is the lighting in the stairwell that is automated to come on at night when someone is travelling up or down.
Throughout the property Stephen has installed a new skylight system called Illume that creates ambience and light without needing to build a cavity to the roof.
But his favourite part of the house is actually outside.
“There were 53 truckloads of rock taken from the site, but I reused about eight truckloads in the gardens,” he said.
“We are looking forward to landscaping the property.”
Alison said while some people enjoyed a house with a view, this family home felt more like “a view with a house”.
“Sydney Harbour, eat your heart out,” Stephen said.
Ben said the impressive living space and how it connected to outside and framed the view was a highlight of the home.
“The design and finishes chosen by Charon and Stephen suit the block perfectly,” he said.
“It was a great vision by fantastic clients, and a rewarding build from all within the company that were involved in the project.”
■ With a blended family all living together under one roof, it was important to create separate living spaces.
■ They also positioned the bedrooms away from each other for added privacy whenever needed.
■ A top priority was to take advantage of those stunning views while capturing a lot of sun.