If you’ve ever had a coffee at Good Brother, sipped on a cuppa at Suspension or enjoyed an icy cold glass of something at The Edwards you may have
noticed a common design thread throughout all three. A pared back raw feel that merges new with old and contemporary with classic.
As we discovered, on our first ever #Houseperv, this all makes perfect sense once we step behind the scenes and into the home of the owners behind these
much loved Newcastle businesses. First introductions took place on the front lawn with kelpie Jess, who very eagerly ushered us into the very busy,
yet chilled out world of Steph and Chris Johnston.
After moving into the property in September 2014, a fairly heavy duty refurb was required to rid the house of some pretty dodgy renovations. Steph also
said they quickly did away with the dark pink walls and equally offensive salmon coloured floor tiles, which fortunately for them, revealed some quite
beautiful and, no-work-required, wooden floor boards.
We also couldn’t help but notice the familiar mix of new, old and authentic wares that we’ve come to know and love within each of their businesses. A trait
that Steph puts down to a perfect coming together of Chris’s modern styling and Steph’s more eclectic nature.
When asked where all their interior inspirations come from, Steph says it’s mostly from her mum.
“Mum’s definitely got her very own warm style, she has the ability to move into a house and make it her own. She definitely has a style of her own, however
Chris is pretty handy, and getting handier. He’s prepared to get stuck in and have a go and also has great style.”
“I am more eclectic and Chris is more modern, but together it works.”
Preferring not to spend loads of money on new things Steph says that you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to make a home look nice,
“I wanted our home to look like a home, not sterile, somewhere that you could sit down wherever and it doesn’t matter if you drop something especially
with two young ones.”
Which brings us to the very photogenic Matilda, or Tilly, who kinda took control over the shoot, and Margot who was equally gorgeous at just a few months
old on our visit.
A super busy family and business life leaves little time for shopping, and not being so keen to shop online, Steph said most of their furniture is sourced
from Islington. Allan and Wendy from The Verandah Shop are more than happy to keep an eye out for that one of a kind item and Elsey from Stuart and
Porter is awesome for the finer pieces such as the Captains chair. Named this because it really was a Captains chair in an old ferry.
Asked what their favourite pieces or things are in their house, Chris and Steph emphatically agree that it’s the fireplace. In what used to be a really
dead space the addition of the fireplace totally changed the feel of the whole house and its dynamic. Instead of hanging out in the TV room, the family
now tends to gravitate toward the living area where Steph said it’s so nice to just sit in front of and have a cup of tea. Often using it even on those
nights that aren’t quite cold enough to even need the fire.
Of course with all good reno’s come those rooms of the house that are on the to-do list with Chris saying the kitchen is a bit of a makeshift one. Yet
on looking we couldn’t help but fall in love with the exposed shelving, solid timber kitchen bench and the Atomic, otherwise known as the best coffee
Second to the fireplace, the Atomic is without doubt their best ever investment. Being in and around coffee on a daily basis it was a no brainer to invest
in a machine that would provide quality coffee flavour in their own home. This fine looking machine also blends in seamlessly with many of the other
hand selected and unique pieces which inject so much character into their home.
Items such as the handmade leather firewood holder from Geordie at Hide and Seeker, the naturally raw and beautiful concrete vanity basin from Wood
Melbourne, the bathroom door which was a magic roadside find and the stunning eye-catcher art piece by local artist James Drinkwater ‘The boy stands
All of which come together in a beautiful clash of muted earthy tones and homely feel.
Photos by Lizzy Hodgins.