The laid­back life­style and am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for recre­ation drew for­mer Gold Coast res­i­dents Geoff Charl­ton and Lor­raine Wal­lace to the Sil­ver­woods in Yar­ra­wonga, with the cou­ple cre­at­ing a home that will take them into re­tire­ment.

North East Living Magazine - - Contents - words Leah Tindill photos Marc Bongers

The laid­back life­style and am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for recre­ation drew for­mer Gold Coast res­i­dents Geoff Charl­ton and Lor­raine Wal­lace to Yar­ra­wonga, to build their dream home and en­joy re­tire­ment.

AN op­por­tu­nity to in­crease their life­style op­tions lured a Gold Coast cou­ple to build a new home at the Sil­ver­woods in Yar­ra­wonga.

Geoff Charl­ton and Lor­raine Wal­lace were look­ing to es­cape the city life and busy tourism area when they be­gan look­ing at blocks of land in the lake­side de­vel­op­ment area.

The house is nes­tled away from main roads and is within walk­ing dis­tance to Lake Mul­wala and Sil­ver­woods’ 18-hole Black Bull Golf Course, with views to the hori­zon that of­fer spec­tac­u­lar sun­set sights.

The dou­ble car­port of­fers am­ple space for two ve­hi­cles and a mo­tor­bike as well as other stor­age, while there is plenty of backyard space for their dog, Scully, on the 575m2 block.

In­side, the home boasts three bed­rooms, in­clud­ing a mas­ter bed­room with a spa­cious en­suite and walk-in robe, as well as a kitchen with an enor­mous walk-in pantry and but­ler’s pantry.

And it’s got a pool­room that would make Dar­ryl Ker­ri­gan - or any cas­tle fan - en­vi­ous.

Adorned with sport­ing mem­o­ra­bilia, retro-look bar chairs, a bar area and a full size pool ta­ble, it is easy to see why this is Geoff’s favourite room in the house.

“The house was orig­i­nally de­signed to have four bed­rooms but we wanted that extra space so we could en­ter­tain and play pool, all that,” Geoff said.

“The games room would have been two rooms (rum­pus and a fourth bed­room) but we wanted it to be big enough so that you wouldn’t be cramped on your pool shots.”

Geoff and Lor­raine have taken ad­van­tage of the laid­back life­style op­tions avail­able to them, with Geoff mak­ing the most of the close-by golf course and Lor­raine join­ing a lo­cal squash com­pe­ti­tion.

“I owned a Spec­savers shop, we had that for a few years and Lor­raine was a state man­ager of a menswear com­pany,” the for­mer op­ti­cal me­chanic said.

And while they love their new life­style, Geoff ad­mits that get­ting used to the cooler win­ters and dry sum­mers may take some get­ting used to.

But he said there were plenty of Vic­to­rian perks to help off­set the chal­lenges.

“I’ve never lived in the country so I find I’m still find­ing my feet a lit­tle bit,” he said.

“Lor­raine hates the cold so we’re go­ing to re­ally strug­gle in the win­ter time - she’s al­ready booked her flights to Queens­land.

“The hu­mid­ity is re­ally bad up there in sum­mer and I hated that.

“Play­ing golf in 40-de­gree heat here doesn’t bother me too much but play­ing in 35-de­gree heat with 100 per cent hu­mid­ity up there just sucked the fun out of it.

“And day­light sav­ings, we’d for­got­ten how good that was be­cause it’s dark in Queens­land at 6pm.

“I played nine holes here at 7pm one night with a mate. It was great.”

Pack­ing up 16 years of life and work on the Gold Coast proved a chal­lenge for the cou­ple, who opted to rent a fully fur­nished home in Queens­land while stor­ing their fur­ni­ture and other pos­ses­sions in Vic­to­ria for the new house. >>

“Trust comes into it be­cause we were build­ing from so far away and I trusted them im­plic­itly with the build and the de­ci­sions they were mak­ing. We got the feel­ing that if it.” any­thing hap­pened they would fix - Geoff Charl­ton

But Geoff said the build process with Frank and San­dra Mic­cio from Ho­tondo Homes Corowa was a breeze, with the house be­ing com­pleted quickly de­spite be­ing con­structed dur­ing one of the wettest win­ters in re­cent his­tory.

Work­ing from Ho­tondo’s Kirby 246 op­tion, the cou­ple opted to change the de­sign a bit to make it more their own.

The Kirby in­cludes a cov­ered out­door pa­tio area, to which Geoff and Lor­raine have added pull down mesh blinds to help com­bat the sun and the wind.

“We flipped the de­sign of the house so we get the whole sun­set through the out­door en­ter­tain­ing space,” Geoff said.

“We sit out there, have a drink and watch the sun go down, it’s re­ally beau­ti­ful.

“We had some friends come over grand fi­nal week­end - we pulled all of those blinds down and put the heater on and it was ac­tu­ally warmer in there than it was in the house.

“When we flipped the de­sign Frank was wor­ried about us get­ting all the af­ter­noon sun but I’m glad we did it be­cause when we pull the blinds down you don’t even no­tice.”

Some cos­metic changes were also made to the front of the house to give it some in­di­vid­ual flair.

“In Sil­ver­woods, part of the re­quire­ments to live here was that you had to have three dif­fer­ent tex­tures on the front of your house and they weren’t al­lowed to be alike to the house next door,” Geoff said.

“We changed the façade to add some ren­der and added the stacker stone on one pole.

“Down the side we put in a big dou­ble gate so you could put a trailer, a boat maybe, or a golf cart down there.”

The but­ler’s pantry in the kitchen was orig­i­nally an ex­ten­sion of the pantry, but Geoff and Lor­raine chose to add cab­i­nets and a bench­top for extra stor­age and work space.

“That was one of the things we wanted be­cause we had a small kitchen at the old house and Lor­raine al­ways wanted a big­ger one,” Geoff said.

Build­ing and dec­o­rat­ing a house from two states away may seem like a nearim­pos­si­ble task but Geoff said Frank and the crew made ev­ery­thing easy.

“We went with them be­cause they are a fran­chise and be­ing a fran­chisee my­self I felt I had a kinship with them,” Geoff said.

“Ba­si­cally what hap­pened was we came down in May last year and chose ev­ery­thing on that same day.

“We had pre-planned and gone to a few open homes and dis­play homes so we had a bit of an idea of what we wanted.

“A lot of what we have is sim­i­lar to the Ho­tondo dis­play home in Wan­garatta.

“Trust comes into it be­cause we were build­ing from so far away and I trusted them im­plic­itly with the build and the de­ci­sions they were mak­ing. We got the feel­ing that if any­thing hap­pened they would fix it.”

Since mov­ing in on Au­gust 22 last year, it’s been a mat­ter of mak­ing the house a home, in­clud­ing adding fenc­ing and land­scap­ing, and dec­o­rat­ing the in­te­rior.

“Once the house was up we still had to get fenc­ing up and get gar­den­ing done so that took a cou­ple of months be­cause the ground was just so wet,” Geoff said.

All that’s left now is for Geoff and Lor­raine to en­joy their new life­style.

“On the whole we’ve pretty much done ev­ery­thing we needed to do... it took around six months and now we can rest,” Geoff said.

OUT­DOOR LIVING / A cov­ered pa­tio area, com­plete with tele­vi­sion and dart board, adds an­other di­men­sion to the home.


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