art & soul

Inside Out (Australia) - - Inside Homes - WORDS & STYLING CLAIR WAYMAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TANIKA BLAIR

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.

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