Cooks Hill

The perfect balance of industrial cool and sumptuous luxury, means that this month’s House Perv in Cooks Hill, has all the ingredients of an envy-inducing modern classic. 

Conceptualised by Lauren Connors and Joshua Elloy, designed by Steele Olney of Studio Dot and styled by Zoe Grant and Mitchell Pearce; this immaculate house is thanks to a dream-team of style and talent. 

Zoe and Mitch walk us through their home, and we also hear from Sydney-based Joshua, about his and Lauren’s original concept for the property. 


PHOTOS: Atelier Photography

Zoe and Mitch, what do you love most about living in this house? 
Z: The master bedroom is a favourite room for me, as every time I walk in I feel like I am in my own retreat, and the natural light that filters through the linen sheers is beautiful. The free-standing bath in the master ensuite is absolute heaven, and the perfect place for Mitch, who is co-captain of the Newcastle Knights, to relax with an Epsom salt bath after games. 

M: There are lots of things I love about the place! The exterior is what first got my attention, the white subway tiles are something I’ve never seen used on the exterior of a property before which I love. I also agree with Zoe as I just love the high ceilings and our bedroom. 

What do you love about the location? 
Z: We love Cooks Hill, it is our favourite suburb in Newcastle. Everything is walking distance, the beach, shops, restaurants, and our local coffee shop, Welsh Blacks. Our dog Walter also loves Cooks Hill, as every second person owns a dog and he has plenty of friends to mingle with on his daily walk! 

M: I love centennial park which is close by, as well as the Lowlands bowling club. The little pocket we live in feels like such a community and we felt at home right away. We moved here from the eastern suburbs of Sydney, so it was nice to move into a suburb in Newcastle that has so much going on. 

How did you first meet and decide to move from Sydney to Newcastle? 
Z: Mitch and I first met through mutual friends at a bar in Bondi one Sunday two years ago, and have been together ever since. When we first made the decision to move from Sydney to Newcastle, Mitch drove up by himself and had a look through this house. He called me to show me around via FaceTime, and we both decided that this was definitely the house we wanted to call ‘home’.

As an interior designer and stylist by trade, how did you go about furnishing the house? 
Z: The house has a unique industrial appearance so I decided to introduce other styles to accentuate its dramatic features and also complement and soften it up a little. The high ceilings are wonderful and I knew straight away I wanted to incorporate a tall free-standing mirror and some amazing artwork to show them off. 

How would you describe your own personal style? 
Z: My style is inspired by all sorts of different eras and places, from Art Deco to Hamptons chic and I believe that you can mix a number of styles without making your home look too eclectic. 
I personally don’t like clutter so I keep things minimal but with standout pieces; whether that be an amazing piece of art, like our Vicki Lee ‘Rose’ hung above the fireplace, or a unique lounge, coffee table or occasional chair.

What is the story behind this now beautifully finished home? 
Joshua: We purchased the lot in 2013 with the intention of demolishing and building a new home, as it was a run-down uninhabitable miner’s cottage on a small 210sqm block. The development application was a challenge as Cooks Hill is a heritage conservation area, but we got there eventually! 
When it came to designing the build, we were inspired by a number of renovated terraces in inner city Sydney and Melbourne. We then met with architect Steele Olney of Studio Dot and discussed the ‘modern industrial’ look we wanted. Steele came up with the finished design and we couldn’t be happier, especially with the beautiful materials used throughout, such as the sandstone Balmain bricks, the Tassie oak timber floors and the custom metal stairs and balustrade. 
We never had the chance to live in the house as Lauren and I work in Sydney, so Zoe and Mitch moved in last year, soon after the build was completed.

WORDS: Laura Jackel