Inspired by the refined, classic style of the Hamptons, Jenna and Paul have created their dream home in the hills near Wollongong for their growing family
When you’ve got high standards and three young boys, finding a dream home can seem like an impossible task. And that’s the experience Jenna and Paul were having as they hunted for their forever home in the Illawarra region, south of Sydney. Nothing they saw quite lived up to their vision of a family home, which was a special blend of classic style and practical layout for their growing tribe.
“We’d been looking for a stylish home where the children could have free rein,” says Jenna. “Being within a reasonable distance of Wollongong was important but we wanted to be far enough away to make coming home feel like we were out of the hustle and bustle.”
A vision of classic coastal chic
Although having a functional, family-friendly home was a top priority for the couple, they didn’t want to sacrifice on style. With the elegant homes of the Southern Highlands nearby, they found plenty of design inspiration right on their doorstep. But having fallen in love with the charming home featured in the film Something’s Gotta Give, they also looked to the chic coastal properties found in the Hamptons on the east coast of the USA for ideas.
Starting from scratch to get the right style
Two years into their search, Jenna and Paul started to think about building instead of buying as the best path to their ideal home. By chance, they came across a block for sale in Mount Kembla, a small, sleepy town on the fringes of Wollongong. At the auction the next day, they became the owners of a prime flat block at the foot of a mountain with a creek running nearby; a little slice of heaven for their family of four.
Working with local draftsperson Nadine Kay, Jenna and Paul soon had their plans ready. But after submitting to council, they were expecting their third child and needed to make changes for their future family member. Revisiting the layout also have the opportunity to seek advice from an expert in Hamptons-style design — American designer Andrew Barnyak — who suggested extra details to add an authentic touch to the final product.
Local experts in custom homes
Jenna and Paul didn’t have to look far to discover the ideal builder for their project. Kye Furlong and Joel Stewart run Lime Building Group and specialise in creating bespoke homes throughout the region. They work on all sorts of architectural creations, from contemporary coastal homes to gracious country manors in the Southern Highlands, and were already familiar with the classic features of the Hamptons style.
“From day one we felt comfortable and confident with Kye and his team,” says Jenna. “Nothing throughout our two years of working together was an issue and the craftsmanship on the house speaks for itself.”
Grand features and finishing touches
Kye’s craftsmanship was certainly called upon to achieve the many standout features that distinguish the house as an authentic Hamptons home.
“The first thing to grab your attention is the cupola on the roof, which instantly marks the home as a showpiece,” says Kye.
“The built-in gate conceals a lot of the property from the street to give a sense of seclusion. And then there’s the cobbled driveway and the arbour across the front of the garage — all these elements work together to give the impression of a grand old home that’s really a brand-new build.”
Windows, shingles and weatherboard
In some ways, this was an easier build than Kye is used to. The site is completely flat and very protected in its position at the foot of a mountain, so Kye and his team didn’t have to contend with the slope and wind you’d expect when building near the coast. But getting the Hamptons look, using materials available in Australia with the fire-rating standards required by council, was certainly a challenge.
“Shingles, slate roofing, timber sash windows — none of these was an option for us, especially as we were building in a bushfire zone with a BAL rating of 29,” says Jenna. “Kye suggested Scyon Linea, which gave us a weatherboard look that emulates the shingles of the coastal cottage-style facade.”
A class of its own
Just like other products the company uses from the James Hardie range, Scyon boards and panels offer the quality the Lime Building team can rely on.
“There’s nothing quite like the Linea board,” says Kye. “It has the weight and thickness you need for that solid timber effect, with the durability and fire resistance of cement composite. And I always know I’ll get the quality of product I need from the Scyon range. I can order it for a build now or in five years and I’ll know exactly what I’m getting.”
As a building group working on eight to 10 unique homes every year, Kye and his team also appreciate the versatility of the Scyon range. “We use the same Scyon products with different designs and get a new look each time,” he says.
A problem-solving partnership
Both Jenna and Kye agree that choosing and applying cladding and trims has been essential to delivering the classic Hamptons look while meeting fire-rating requirements. And the pair worked well together in coming up with ways to overcome one of the biggest challenges of the project — a staggering 146 windows arranged in rows around the property.
“We used 89mm Axent trim from James Hardie as an exterior architrave around our custom-designed aluminium sash windows,” says Jenna. “It really gives the appearance of the frames being timber. And as they’re painted white, the trim makes the windows pop against the soft grey of the Spanish Olive exterior paint.”
Truly a dream home
After a 12-month build and lots of research and troubleshooting, is the family happy in their new home?
“When I arrive home, just the sight of our facade fills me with warmth and joy,” says Jenna. “And people seem to love our home as much as we do! We’ve had strangers ring our gate bell to ask questions about the design and so many calls for referrals for our amazing builder. We are extremely proud of the home we have created.”
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