art & soul
Moving from their Melbourne home to put down new roots in coastal northern NSW has inspired this creative couple’s bohemian retreat
Moving to the lush northern NSW coastline with their two sons had been a dream for Melbournebased artists Rosetta and John Santucci for years. Each time they visited Rosetta’s sister in Lennox Head, they felt more and more at home. The family loved their life in cosmopolitan Melbourne, but they were growing out of their tiny Footscray cottage. They drew up plans to extend, but the whole exercise proved too costly. Then the idea of moving to NSW started to feel more tangible. “It was a big decision, but I knew there was an amazing Steiner school in Byron Bay, plus John had health issues and couldn’t continue film work,” says Rosetta. “The stars were aligning to make this move happen, and it did!” Finding a home in the area that ticked all the boxes wasn’t an easy task, but once Rosetta spotted ‘the one’, she used all her powers of persuasion to make her wish come true.
Rosetta, how did you know this house was ‘the one’? It was out of our price range and I had to look past the horrible decor, but I felt compelled to see it. I loved it and, as the cliché goes, it had great bones and loads of potential – it had high ceilings, a mezzanine level and warehouse feel. After a few days I put in a cheeky offer and, after some negotiation, it was ours.
What was the first job you tackled when you moved in? Actually it was just before we moved in - we had the flooring replaced. Originally the living and kitchen floors were covered in horrible
“I tend to buy for love on impulse - but somehow it all seems to fall into place” ROSETTA SANTUCCI, HOMEOWNER
painted cork tiles, plus there was old carpet in the bedrooms and living area, so new flooring was a must. I chose ‘French Grey’ boards from Royal Oak Floors because they complement the overall feel of the house and create a moody look with the structural beams and staircase, which were already stained in a Black Japan finish.
How did the kitchen take shape? I’d been dreaming of a new kitchen and bathroom ever since we moved in, but as it didn’t happen for three years, I had plenty of time to think. My ideas changed a little over time, so I’m glad we waited. As we’d already chosen dark flooring, I wanted to continue that moody feel. I fell in love with darker cabinetry, but I didn’t want the whole kitchen to be dark, so I opted for contrasting light timber cabinets on one wall for balance. Then I had to choose the tiles.
How did you decide on the Moorish-style tiles? Choosing the encaustic ‘Blue Metro’ tiles from Jatana Interiors was the most enjoyable part of the renovation. I wanted a modern pattern with a slightly bohemian twist. As the wall of tiles is so dramatic, the rest of the scheme is simple. I echoed the feel in the two bathrooms, but opted for more feminine floor tiles with flower motifs to contrast with the masculine concrete-look wall tiles and black tapware.
What’s your favourite part of the house? The kitchen and dining room is the soul of the house, where we can reconnect, chat about our day and eat together. Our house in Melbourne was a tiny cottage, so this feels big. Having teenagers, there’s enough room to spread out and escape from each other, if we feel the need.