There comes a time when a family feels the need for room to move, for extra space to grow and satisfy lifestyle desires that have become ever more important.
Steve and Roxanne Arnold had always enjoyed living in the Hills and Hawkesbury district. They grew up there and had raised their young family in the Hills, and spent many weekends water-skiing on the Hawkesbury River. Their love of the Hawkesbury only grew from there.
It was only by chance, through trawling real estate websites searching for homes in the area, that the Arnolds stumbled across Redbank in 2014, purchased it and moved in in late Spring.
“We loved the home from the very first inspection and saw so much potential for us to live a lifestyle we could only imagine, as we were living on a smaller parcel of land,” said Roxanne. “Our first desire was to have more space for our children, and we often dreamed of having our own veggie patch, chicken coop and all the other benefits a life on a larger block could bring.”
A renovation was on the cards, because the Arnolds loved the idea of making the home their own, although it didn’t need major work.
“We started making the home our own from the first day we moved in, and started painting every wall, door, trim and architrave. We became huge fans of Porter’s chalk paint to bring new life to older pieces of furniture and the kitchen,” said Roxanne.
“It was a wonderful time of year, and within a few weeks our beautiful jacaranda was in full bloom and we spent our first Christmas in our new home. We still feel like pinching ourselves that this is our home and the place where our children will grow up.”
Their plan paid off. They now enjoy a lifestyle that has brought the family closer and added a serenity previously missing.
“We love how relaxed we find our lives now,” added Roxanne. “We cross the bridge after our working day or week and instantly feel at ease and happy that we get to spend our weekends and time together at home.
As they came to know the house they began to plan changes and extensions to it to better suit their needs. A kitchen is on the agenda, as are bathroom upgrades. While they have now established the style and layout they want they aren’t in any rush, because they have plenty of time to get it all done as they don’t envisage moving on anytime soon.
“We spent one very hot first summer in the house and decided that the first task was to install a pool.”
“Steve and I are very lucky in that our tastes are the same. There has not been much we have bought over the years that one of us didn’t like.
“We can never go past the Hamptons style; however, we are a little eclectic in our interpretation of it. We style the house by adding pieces and photos of our travels throughout Australia, so in some sense it also has a modern Australian twist. Steve and I made the coat rack with Ghan railway pegs collected on our family travels along the Oodnadatta track and a 100-year-old bullock harness sourced from the local junkyard. We love it; we hope it becomes an heirloom. We try not to be precious in our furnishings; we prefer quality and longevity in our pieces.”
Where indoors meet outdoors
The Arnolds have paid special attention to the living areas in the house, to provide ideal areas for relaxing and spending family time.
“The living areas of our home are our favourites — a warm carpeted room with a fireplace is our central hub during the cooler months and we always seem to escape to our everyday lounge room in the warmer weather. They are relaxed and comfortable areas of our home, which is important to us.
“We also love the wraparound verandah. Its versatility knows no bounds for entertaining or just relaxing to watch sunsets. It has the added benefit of keeping the house cool and well shaded on those warm days. We couldn’t imagine the house without it,” said Roxanne.
The Arnolds have also spent a lot of time revamping the gardens.
“We were lucky in that the previous owners planted some great trees which are now at full maturity, and this has allowed us to expand and plant our garden beds.”
“Tending to the gardens is a family task,” said Roxanne. “The kids look after the chickens and the vegie patches, and Steve finds it relaxing to tend the gardens and can be found on the ride-on mower most weekends. We are forever adding new plants and have focused on creating zones. We recently added new fruit trees including pear, apple and pomegranate trees, and a citrus garden which includes lime, lemon, mandarin and orange trees.
“There is something really rewarding in harvesting your own fruit and vegies, and the kids are always so proud of the produce that has come from the gardens.”
Making a home on the Hawkesbury
The Arnolds want to make sure their children feel that the home is theirs too.
“We hope to create a place where at any age, when they go out to discover the world, our home has that feeling that they always wish to return to,” said Roxanne.
“We love the idyllic location of the Hawkesbury. It has the modern conveniences of life within three minutes; there are so many great quality small businesses in the area we rarely find the need to not shop locally.
“There is always something to do, the river caters to our family hobbies, and the kids’ sport and school events keep us busy. There is something special about living here. Where else can you have these conveniences while cattle graze at your back fence? To us that is pretty special.
“At this stage in our lives it is our dream home. We believe that the definition of a dream home can and does change over time with the seasons of your life.
“We do see another lifestyle for us in the years to come, but right now, raising our young family here is bliss.”