Kristy + Ben

When Mel from Gather Collective invites us to one of her client/employee’s houses we run! Always. 

This stunning retreat-like home is nestled in the hills of Warners Bay with picturesque views overlooking beautiful Lake Macquarie. One minute we were driving through suburbia and the next, it felt like we were on a retreat in the hinterland of Byron Bay.  

Set on 10 acres of land this remarkable dwelling includes a stunning plunge pool, tennis court, views for days, three ponies and 14 toffee coloured goats! 

Welcome to the stunning home of Kristy, Ben, Bailey and Ellie. 
The Hawkins Family, of Hawkins Transport, originally purchased the land in the early 1900’s and the property, named Kanangra stayed in that family until Kristy and Ben bought it from them in 2012.

The original Kanangra homestead was incredibly grand featuring its own ballroom if you can believe!  

After purchasing the property in 2012 Ben and Kristy set about completely redesigning the place and undertaking major renovation work. Still exceptionally grand, each room has been practically and lovingly converted to suit the everyday lifestyle of a young family, with the ballroom now transformed into the master bedroom and second living area.

With so much grass and a busy family schedule, the logical solution was of course to get goats! What started as a small herd of four has now expanded to 14! The children love them so much they have affectionately named each one. 

Welcome to Kanangra!


IMAGES: Katie Wade 

STYLING: Melissa Webster

Megan Morton

At the end of 2014 I travelled to India with an incredible group of women. If you have been to India, you will know what I am talking about when I say something magical happens there, something that can’t be described.  

At the time I was a part-time language teacher and interior designer. Soon after I returned, I sat down to create my vision board for the following year. It identified my personal and family goals, along with my ultimate dream and vision – to create my own property styling business. I also included two of my all-time muses, Australian stylist extraordinaire, Megan Morton, and the inspirational Oprah Winfrey.  Initially, I was thinking I would head to the nearest library to borrow and re-read all of their books, and any other material I could find, to help me discover how I could create and realise my vision.

I hadn't even finished cutting and pasting (literally glue sticks and magazines) when the “just call her” voice made me jump out of my chair, take action and call Megan’s office. Incredibly, she was enjoying a family holiday in India! I immediately sent her an email, she promptly responded, I screamed with joy, and we soon scheduled a time to meet when she returned to Australia. 

During what became a pivotal and life changing conversation, we waffled and exchanged our shared experiences from India. Most importantly, we embarked on a beautiful and supportive personal and professional connection. The inspiration for #Houseperv actually began when Megan turned to me during one of first meetings and said “Lou, we have to go “perv” on my friend’s home!” Brilliant.

Now, three years on, we are featuring this incredible lady and what I believe is one of the most beautiful homes ever perved. True to the essence of Megan’s signature style, every corner of her home is inviting and speaks to the best of creature comforts. There isn't a nook you don't want to explore. With the beautiful Maybelle Imasa labelled jars and Robert Malhebre artwork in the laundry, even doing the washing looks inviting!

A few years ago Megan and husband Giles sold their big home in the suburbs and moved their three children to a smaller space in the city. Initially their friends thought they were mad, but it seems small living on beautiful Redleaf Beach, Double Bay, is what dreams are made of. 

Come take a peek and enjoy!

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An Evening with Megan Morton

Megan brings The School to Newcastle for one night only! Come join us! 







Kate Fenning

We have been wanting to #houseperv Kate Fenning for so long. So long!

I have been keenly following this creative soul on Insty with the rest of the scandi-interior-loving-styling-world since she started her business, Yorkelee Prints, in 2015. Who doesn't want to download rap and buy ripped jeans and cool prints when we see her posts? It’s smart, brave and refreshing to be yourself on social media and something Kate does to perfection. Not surprisingly, with such stylish and real posts, Kate very quickly collected 110k Instagram followers who now represent about 98% of her buyers. Smart. 

Kate is a graphic designer and after being at home fulltime with her two young sons was wondering how she would re-enter the workforce and return to the 9-5 grind. At the same time, her friends kept asking to buy the artistic prints she made for her boys, Yorke and Morrissey. Armed with a big leap of faith, Mac, and printer in the front room, Yorkelee Prints opened for business.

Two years later Kate still runs her operation from home with an upgraded printer that now impressively pumps out more than 30 orders (multiple prints) a day. When we arrive, we see the huge trade tool lockbox that Kate diligently prepares for Australia Post to pick up each day.

It was drizzly winter weather when we House Perved Kate’s home and, being on the outskirts of Canberra with a big farm across the road, it did feel very Danish. Surprisingly, the natural surrounds are not where Kate gets her inspiration. In her words she has always been a “monochrome minimalistic girl”.

This beautiful home was built in 2009 after Kate’s architect friend sketched the design on a Napkin – and here it is! 


Come take a peek – enjoy!

We have mirror images of the places we have lived.  Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Canberra - seriously beautiful parts of the world! What do you love about living in our capital? 
Living in Canberra is easy. Canberra roads, lack of traffic, education system, cultural institutions and defined four seasons make this place pretty dang good. Especially for young families.

A lover of interiors and fashion. Tell us your favourite got-to places for both?
Ahhhh so many! I do a lot of shopping online, it’s just faster.
Interiors; I’m a big fan of Ikea and Freedom.  Some of my fave online homewares stores are Immy and Indi, Simple Form and Design Stuff.

Fashion; Here in Canberra I love Rebel Muse in Braddon, I’m obsessed! Otherwise The Iconic, ASOS, Zara and some of my fave brands at the moment would have to be PE Nation, Camilla & Marc, Dylan Kain.

When it’s not work, how do you spend your downtime?
Hangin’ with my boys, training at the gym, watching the Ice Hockey here in Canberra and spending time catching up with friends.

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Lucy + Matt


This week at #houseperv we’re welcomed into the very special, and destined-to-be,Hunter Valley family home of Matt, Lucy and their four young boys.

Matthew is the owner of Ergoflex, an online memory foam mattress business and Lucy is a former primary school teacher and stay-at-home-mum. Together they have four sons, Oliver (6) and Harry (5), with 8 month old twins Alfie and Angus completing the family.
The first time Lucy saw the house was on a visit to Branxton with her sister-in-law, who was looking for a potential investment property. The house was in need of serious renovation but she immediately had a vision to restore the house to the family home it once was.

Lucy remembers being heavily pregnant with Harry during the time of the first open house viewing, which she attended on her own as Matt was away with work commitments. The next day, her waters broke. Lucy fondly remembers the phone conversation with Matt...

“Why are you whispering? Is Oliver asleep?” Matt asked.

“No, I’m actually in hospital – my waters broke. Don’t worry, nothing is happening! Go see the house!”

Filled with romantic visions, Lucy knew in her heart that this house was not an investment property – it was their future family home. Matt agreed, and so it came to be that during Lucy’s time in hospital for the arrival of their second son, they won the bid for this gorgeous property.  

Given the residence had always stayed in the same family for over 100 years, the couple decided to write a personal letter to the former owners assuring them it would be restored to its former glory. 

Matt and Lucy then worked closely with Newcastle architects Martin and Vanessa Hedges to create their dream family home and we agree, it is as impressive as it is welcoming. When the huge renovation job was finished, Matt and Lucy invited the original owners back to visit and personally see the wonderful transformation. 

This remarkable residence has since caught the eye of Home Beautiful Magazine Australia in which it has been recently featured. 

Happy House Perv!



Matt and Lucy, talk us through your renovation?
The original house required cosmetic updating and paint and plaster restoration. We kept all the original features and added built in cabinetry for additional storage. We also added some larger windows on the north side to add more natural light. The original kitchen became the family bathroom, and the enclosed veranda down the north side of the house became a playroom. We then added an extension which houses an open plan kitchen, butler’s pantry, living room and laundry.  The roof was placed and all plumbing and electrical updated.

You have spent most of your married life in Sydney. With four young boys, we bet living in the Hunter Valley is a dream. What do you love about living in Branxton?
It was a huge change for us after living in inner city Sydney. The convenience and café culture we were used to isn’t replicated in a county town. Yet, the space, and large home we can offer our boys here far outweighs the negative aspects. We are far more relaxed as parents due to the peaceful environment and friendly neighbourhood here. The biggest advantage we have found since moving to Branxton is the amount of outside play in which our boys engage in. Having fruit trees and a vegetable garden helps develop their connection with nature not to mention the close proximity to family.

Four sons under the age of six! Seriously… how do you do it?!
With lots of love and laughter (and strict bedtimes!)

Alyce + Matt

It would be easy to think we were bringing #HousePerv to you from somewhere in Scandinavia or Byron Bay this week. Nope! We are in beautiful Carrington – or “Carrodise” as the locals like to call it. 

This stunning terrace is the home of the wonderful Dr Alyce Barnes, her husband Matt, and gorgeous daughter Saylor. Matt and Alyce purchased the circa 1910 dwelling in 2008 and, very wisely, rented elsewhere while they embarked on a complete renovation project before moving in and making it their family home.

The charming original shape and structure of the terrace remains and, thanks to a collective eagle eye for design and detail and with help from local architectural firm Curious Practice, the couple has completely renovated the facade and interior giving it a modern look and feel. It’s a brilliant example of how to marry the old and the new.

Originally, the downstairs area was three different spaces. Mattand Alyce’s decision to open it up takes the eye on a tour from entry, starting at the stunning original fire place to the brand new marble-tiled kitchen, and out the back to the lush green garden.

So apart from Scandinavia, Matt and Alyce drew inspiration from their favourite hotels at their go-to holiday hotspot, Byron Bay. While the décor and furnishings may draw from places afar, it is still so beautifully Newcastle.  

I don’t like rules, as I only ever break them, but as a general guideline we don’t feature homes For Sale on #HousePerv because our particular pervs are all about loving where you live. I’m making an exception this time as I have been wanting to feature this home for yonkers, and these guys have certainly loved living here!

Some lucky peeps will make this their new home, or turn it into an awesome B&B for us all to enjoy! 

But for now, Happy House Perv!


What is your favourite thing about living here?
A: I absolutely love our bathroom. It’s such a calming space filled with so much natural light and the glass louvers allow a sense of being amongst the palms and the garden, which is pretty relaxing! 

M: It’s a killer location! You can walk almost anywhere and cruise into Newy's best cafes, eateries and beaches. It’s been really cool to renovate our terrace and enjoy living in the open plan space as a couple and, over the past year, with our daughter Saylor. 

Dr. Alyce, we love what you do. Can you tell us a little about your roll at the Uni?
I feel so lucky to be working in a job that I absolutely love! I completed my PhD at the University of Newcastle and focused on improving the physical activity levels of girls and their mothers. I then started work as a co-investigator on the world first program DADEE (Dads and Daughters Exercising and Empowered) which aims to enhance girls’ social-emotional wellbeing, improve girls’ sport skills and increase physical activity levels of dads and daughters. It’s such privilege to work alongside some of the world’s leading parenting and health experts and be a part of a team that has such a profound impact on children and families, their self-efficacy, health and wellbeing. I am so proud to see so many empowered girls and their dads attend the DADEE program and become advocates for gender equality. That’s a big part of the DADEE program - empowering girls and their dads to become gender advocates. I really enjoy educating girls and their families about the ways they can be critical thinkers and build skills to become empowered for life.

Matt, real estate is hot in Newcastle at the moment. Can you give us an insider tip on anything?.
Homes in the Throsby villages such as Carrington, Wickham, Islington, Maryville and Tighes Hill are smoking at the moment. There is a real buzz around the city with new developments and infrastructure underway including the new Wickham transport interchange which is having a significant impact on values in the precinct. These areas in particular have become gentrified over the past few years, creating eclectic communities with a hive of positive activity.

You guys having stunning interior style.  Where are your favourite places to shop?
Pappa Sven of course! We love Willows too!




Peta Purcell

What better way for #houseperv to celebrate Mother’s Day than at the home of Peta Purcell, one of the creators behind the wonderful new, local fashion label, Mother + Joey. Yeps, beautifully designed and Australian made clothes for mammas and their kids!

Setting up house in the countryside was always on the cards for Hunter-born and bred couple, Peta and Anthony. Between them they have owned six Land Rovers, including driving one while living in the heart of Sydney.  “There is something about them being so raw and mechanical that we love. I remember one year being the only female to win a trophy at the Land Rover Show for our restored Series II,” Peta said.

After studying and working in Newcastle, the couple moved to Sydney to gain experience and start their careers in the big smoke. But it was their honeymoon in Tasmania that sparked a catalyst for change and they decided to move back to the Hunter Valley and settle at historic Morpeth. After working in the finance industry, Anthony returned to uni and studied geology while Peta worked in marketing and PR in the tourism and higher education industries.

They quickly fell in love with the charming town, located on the banks of the Hunter River. “We used to walk past this beautiful home every day and dream about owning something like this. When it actually became ours, we couldn’t have been happier!” Pete said.

Bringing up three girls under five keeps things interesting and the house has proven to be extremely family-friendly. Situated on a large, flat double block it’s very practical. Because the home was already established,not too much work was needed to the interiors with just a coat of paint required. It’s outside, in the now beautiful garden area, where most of the effort took place.




Is it true you built the cubby house yourselves one Christmas Eve?
Yes! The cubby was made from scratch as a present for our daughter Polly. We built it from original wood panels left over from the Lord Mayor’s stable house. We stayed up late on Christmas Eve using spotlights to finish the roof while the rest of town was enjoying some festive cheer. It was kind of like The Block – we almost killed each other, haha!

Morpeth is such a beautiful and historic town. What do you love the most?
Being part of a village community is fantastic. The kids have some great friends and everyone looks out for each other and works together.

Where do you love to shop for your home?
We don’t really shop too much at commercial stores. Our house is full of old collectables gathered from various antique stores we find on road trips, or inherited from family country homes. We love all things that last, such as our big over-the- top tan lounge and all of the kids’ wooden toys. I think that’s why the mother + joey label is such an extension of my character – things that are timeless with a classic feel to them always appeal to me.

Sophie + Nic

Suburban sixties’ architecture … yet another example of my many weaknesses! This beautiful Merewether Heights house is the wonderful home of Sophie and Nic Damen. They live here together with four year old daughter Isla, baby Luca (6 months) and pup, Nina.

Sophie and Nic both grew up in Tasmania. As newlyweds, they moved from cold little Tassie to balmy Newcastle nine years ago. Sophie studied Nutrition and Nic worked as an electrician and produced surfing films.

A little more than a year ago, Nic and Sophie lived only two blocks away from where they now reside. Sophie used to take her dog for a walk around the local neighbourhood admiring the flat roofed houses with mid-century shape and design.

Recognising great potential, she vividly remembers the day this house caught her attention and she started imagining how they could renovate it. A few weeks passed and then, completely unexpectedly, it came up for sale – Soph’s negotiations with Nic started immediately. 

The following two weeks were the busiest the couple have ever experienced as they finished the renovations on their existing home, placed it on the market and sold it, and then purchased their dream 60’s style, flat roof, beachy pad.  

The past year has been focused on renovations and making it their family home and, while they still have so much they want to do, House Perv loves it! 

How would you describe your style? 
Hmm, I Iove neutrals, but my style is possibly eclectic. Slightly coastal, mid-century modern with a touch of bohemian. Ha ha! If I go into an antique store or op-shop I will look for brass objects, blue bottles and glass, and cane furniture. I also love unique ceramics. I have some sentimental Tasmanian antiques scattered around the house, along with items from my travels such as the globe that I bought in a thrift store in Santa Cruz and carted it through America! There are also maps from Cuba and crosses from here and there. I love a mix of old and new.

Soph you are having a bit of a styling related career change – tell us a little about that.
Well I do love being a nutritionist but I've started to dabble in food styling. This year I am studying Event Styling at Hunter Design School which is good fun and I’m excited where this will go. I feel it's time for me to explore and develop my love of style and design. Find me on Insty at sophielouise.styling

What do you love about living here?
We always say Newcastle has it all ... close to beaches, cafes and restaurants, a city with history, markets, and beautiful places like Glenrock Reserve and the Hunter Valley. We love our community and friends we have made in Newcastle and in the Merewether area. We also love how the city has transformed during the nine years we have lived here.

Travis Keegan

Tonight we feature an awesome Newie beach pad, proudly owned and created by Travis Keegan.

Trav purchased the 100 year old Zaara Street terrace three years ago. It is in the most perfect position with Newcastle Beach a block to the left and the harbour just down the hill to the right.

For the past two years Trav has been calling on, and hiring in, his building, architectural and tradie friends during weekends to help bring his design work to life.

The result – a complete renovation from front to back, and we think it’s pretty impressive.


I love this story because even though Trav isn't a builder or an architect, he has done oodles of the work involved. His incredible passion for design, particularly graphic design, shines through. Trav does what he loves and creates his own dreams.

In case you’re wondering, Trav works in the quarries with drill and blast and, on the weekends, he deejays - spinning soul, latin, jazz and Brazilian records. You can catch him Friday nights at The Basement on Market Street.

Happy House Perv!

It looks like a great neighbourhood Trav.  What is your favourite thing about living here?
It would have to be the close community of people and friends. There are so many amazing people who have lived here for so long with so many great stories. Also, how laid back the area is. Sometimes I feel like I'm on holidays. Secondly, the beaches – they speak for themselves. 

Tell us a bit about your aspiration for the design?
I kind of knew from the start of the build how I wanted things to look. It was just hard not knowing the process of things because I hadn’t done anything like this before. I got a few of my good mates from GAME building, JEM building, and a Certifier, who guided me the whole way from demolition to completion, plus a few of my other mates who are in various trades to help out. Without the help of these guys it definitely would not have been such a smooth process and I wouldn't have got it to where it's at today. 

With such a small space to work with, I tried to open it up as much as I could. It previously had three rooms (kitchen/dining/lounge) downstairs. We went for a more open space design, with just a kitchen and loungeroom combined. Plus, letting as much light in the various windows helped me to achieve the look I wanted. I got a lot of my inspiration from local architects (Shane Blue of Bourne Blue Architecture) and a few other Melbourne guys’ work which I love.

When is the next house party? :)  
Hahaha, tonight! I'll see you then :)