Sunday Mail - home - - FRONT PAGE - Words TRUDY ORAM Pic­tures NICK CLAY­TON and SUP­PLIED

here’s a warm vibe as you walk in the Ames­bury Al­fresco de­sign by Hick­in­botham at Mt Barker’s Blue­stone devel­op­ment. I say that with a sense of re­lief, be­cause on this visit to the Hills’ land devel­op­ment, it was a chilly day de­spite the sun be­ing out and shin­ing.

It’s al­ways nice to en­ter a home and im­me­di­ately feel warm – which also says a lot about the re­verse-cy­cle heat­ing which was do­ing on ex­cel­lent job through­out the home.

But it wasn’t just the heat­ing mak­ing this large four-bed­room fam­ily home feel invit­ing; it was also the sun­shine stream­ing through tall win­dows – with sev­eral win­dows in some rooms – and the paint colour on walls, an off white/light latte from Taub­mans called Torte Half.

My colour de­scrip­tion may not tech­ni­cally be 100 per cent ac­cu­rate but the colour has a lovely warm­ing ef­fect, from the en­try through to the main liv­ing and bed­rooms.

It ap­pealed to me straight off and I made a quick note to ask Hick­in­botham for its de­tails, as I’m sure many other vis­i­tors will also like this tone.

Walk­ing into the Ames­bury Al­fresco, you’re greeted by a wide en­try hall and an open front lounge room/home theatre, where a gor­geous golden stone fire­place is the cen­tre of at­ten­tion. A gas fire in­set in the stone, built-in join­ery on ei­ther side and thick car­pet com­ple­ment this lounge which over­looks the rolling hills of the Blue­stone devel­op­ment. I can just imag­ine sit­ting here on a wet, win­try day, look­ing out to lovely views and en­joy­ing a cup of soup in front of the fire.

The Ames­bury Al­fresco dis­play is one of those homes which im­me­di­ately has a good feel. It’s ap­par­ent all the way through to the two other liv­ing spaces, the kitchen and din­ing, and out to the kids’ bed­rooms off the side wing.

Hick­in­botham’s de­sign di­rec­tor Ruth Vagnarelli says the Ames­bury Al­fresco’s warm aes­thetic has been cre­ated with the use of rich, modern tones, such as red, gold and ochre, and tex­tu­ral lay­ers in­clud­ing vel­vet.

“The use of wood fin­ishes, nat­u­ral stone, tex­tured fur­ni­ture and plush soft fur­nish­ings all cre­ate a sense of warmth in this house,” she says.

“The eye-catch­ing stone-style fire­place is the fo­cal point of the home theatre/liv­ing room and fea­tures a con­tem­po­rary easy-to-light gas fire. The stone next to the in-built en­ter­tain­ment unit, be­ing a tim­ber-style prod­uct, gives the room a beautiful warmth. With its spec­tac­u­lar fire­place, it will be the per­fect win­ter re­treat.”

The high 2.7m ceil­ings, the dec­o­ra­tive cor­nices and tex­tu­ral stone-look floor tiles used in the main liv­ing zones and hall­ways were other points I quickly noted as favourites.

Then I saw the kitchen, which is cen­tral within the large open-plan fam­ily/din­ing/al­fresco zone, and grav­i­tated to­wards its long is­land bench.

The Es­satone bench with flecks of quartz (the colour is Sand­stone Cape) add an­other tex­tured el­e­ment and com­bined with the tim­ber-look lam­i­nate on cab­i­netry – this one is Eg­ger’s Grey Beige Glad­stone Oak, it’s a stun­ning com­bi­na­tion and you just want to reach out and touch the sur­faces.

For a good flow, these ma­te­ri­als also have been used in the bath­room, en­suite and the stor­age-laden jaw-drop­ping laun­dry, and it’s a fab­u­lous re­sult.

“The white slim­line Es­sa­s­tone used for the kitchen bench­tops looks sleek and so­phis­ti­cated, but it is also a highly stain-re­sis­tant, non-por­ous ma­te­rial, en­sur­ing it will look as good in 10 years as it does now,” Ruth says. “Sim­i­larly, the use of beautiful fin­ishes in the bath­rooms and laun­dry el­e­vates es­sen­tial every­day tasks. Be­ing in these spaces will feel en­joy­able.”

Back in the sleek kitchen, a choice of drawer sizes is also shown which I liked, with ex­tra -wide shal­low and deep draw­ers, and ex­tra-high cup­boards above the splash­back, to show how you can max­imise stor­age up to the ceil­ing.

“The fan­tas­tic stor­age has be­come a pri­or­ity in the every­day home,” Ruth says. “We have also cre­ated a sense of tran­quil­lity by in­clud­ing gen­er­ous stor­age to avoid clut­ter – such as the store or what some peo­ple term the mud room, ex­pan­sive walk-in robe in the mas­ter suite as well as a built-in linen press and wardrobes in the chil­dren’s bed­room and a huge walk-in pantry off the kitchen.

“There is no ex­cuse to be messy in this laun­dry. With two walls of cup­boards, ev­ery­thing has a place and the nat­u­ral tim­ber style join­ery makes it a beautiful space.”

While the mas­ter suite at the front of the home en­joys a dou­ble-sided walk-through robe lead­ing to the el­e­gant en­suite, I was re­ally im­pressed that the three chil­dren’s bed­rooms fur­ther back in the home have triple-door built-in mir­rored wardrobes. Each bed­room is large, and it was while I was look­ing at these rooms that I re­alised how gen­er­ous this home is in its di­men­sions. There’s no skimp­ing on space any­where in this 320.62sqm de­sign, yet is doesn’t feel cav­ernous or cold, and there’s a cosy vibe through­out.

The large games room at the rear is the third liv­ing zone and it links to both the al­fresco and the rear yard via two sets of slid­ing doors. This is eas­ily the space you’d keep for par­ties, cel­e­bra­tions or for kids to hang out with friends, par­tic­u­larly as you can close the dou­ble doors.

“The flow of this house is both highly func­tional – with sep­a­rate zones for com­ing to­gether and re­treat – but also re­ally vis­ually pleas­ing. It just ‘feels’ right and that comes down to good de­sign,” Ruth says.

“The suc­cess lies in its mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties Be­ing‘i‘ n these spaces will feel en­joy­able If I had to choose one in­te­rior de­sign fea­ture it would have to be the nat­u­ral beauty of the gas stone-style fire­place.... for fam­i­lies to both come to­gether and then re­treat to their own re­lax­ation zones.

“Life is busier than ever; fam­i­lies need their homes to be places for en­ter­tain­ment, but also calm. With two sep­a­rate en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, open plan liv­ing/din­ing as well as large bed­rooms there is am­ple space for ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber to relax and un­wind.”

The Ames­bury Al­fresco dis­play home is show­cased on a corner block with a gen­tle slope, and I have to say it does this home jus­tice to see it with a bit of space round it on all sides, and from my per­spec­tive it would like great on a big block or a ru­ral one.

Of course, in­side, there’s no way you’ll want to move from that fire­place and front lounge this win­ter, and Ruth agrees.

“If I had to choose one in­te­rior de­sign fea­ture it would have to be the nat­u­ral beauty of the gas stone-style fire­place. I love spend­ing time in the home theatre and could imag­ine watch­ing a movie with the fam­ily there on a cold win­ter’s night, or en­ter­tain­ing friends,” Ruth says. “It is a re­ally beautiful, up­lift­ing space.”

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