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This enterprising couple turned a 90’s brick house into a stunning home

It wasn’t their first choice, but a brick house with valley views proved to be the perfect fit for this enterprising couple

Meet & greet

Nikki and Luke Hobbs (building and interiors company directors), Australian shepherd Aya, terrier Chelsea and palomino pony Rosé.

Sometimes, when one door closes, another opens, as was the case for Luke and Nikki Hobbs. Six years ago, the pair had their hearts set on a colonial weatherboard cottage, just down the road from where
they now live, but they narrowly missed out on purchasing it.

They’d hoped to live in the historic cottage due to its pretty location tucked against a mountain range and a well-known creek, but instead turned their attention to a brick, 1990s-era house on two hectares, which had been on the market for more than a year.

In a bold move, the couple made an offer, sight unseen. “We settled on this very overgrown two hectares,” Nikki recalls. “But Luke had a vision for the property when he saw it; this section of the creek is quite secluded and the valley is stunning.”

Keen surfers, Nikki and Luke had considered either a beach or country change from their busy city life. Luke had always longed to move to the country and own some cows. The location appealed due to its proximity to a popular coastal tourism hot-spot as well as the city, an hour away. Nikki’s stepfather Dave, a retired paramedic, had been posted to the area for a time, so the Hobbses were familiar with the village in the foothills of a nearby national park.

“We fell in love with this area – it’s the rural aspect, and all the wineries and produce are right on our doorstep,” says Nikki.

As owners of a building and interiors company, Luke and Nikki had the confidence to consider the location first, then transform or start over with the brick house. They initially considered tearing it down, but moved in just before Christmas in 2015. “It was horrible, but we’re used to purchasing run-down properties,” Nikki adds, who with Luke had “bought and flipped” many homes in the city.

They weren’t daunted by the prospect of another project, despite some challenges. “Because the grass was so overgrown, there was a lot of undesirable wildlife when we cleared it,” Nikki recalls.

Renovation won out over a new build and the couple spent the first few years on earthworks in preparation for their wedding at the property. The previous owners had created terraces for hydroponic tomato and strawberry production above the creek bank, and Luke and Nikki painstakingly stripped back the grass and smothering lantana that had run rampant.

In October 2017, the couple said their wedding vows on a cantilevered ceremony deck overlooking the creek, surrounded by family and friends.

Two years ago, Nikki and Luke turned their hands to the house, first gutting the interior and removing the carpet. “We prioritised necessity over aesthetic to start with and focused on electrical and flooring, then the kitchen cabinetry and paint,” Nikki says.

The former aubergine walls, skirting and cornice with maroon skirting was transformed with Dulux Natural White on the walls, and Vivid White for the trim. Aluminium windows were soon replaced with timber, and a pair of barn doors transformed the shed. The couple opted for a modern country style and applied many of their trade tips to create character in the home. They used wider, 138mm colonial skirtings throughout and laid down vinyl timber flooring.

Nikki advises that key items to spend money on include door profiles, glazing and investing in French linen bedsheets, while she suggests you can save with tile selections, using Ikea robe inserts, and landscaping with seedlings and tube stock, rather than established plants.

Since moving to the country and establishing their building and interiors company Nikki has reignited her love of styling. “My nan, Berice, had beautiful interiors and I always wanted to be an interior designer,” she says.

Marketing and project management skills gained in a former corporate career are now integral in the business as Nikki and Luke help others create their dream spaces.

“We specialise in eco-friendly, off-grid projects and this area is perfect for this type of construction,” Nikki says.

Moving to the country has opened up other opportunities: Nikki has created a homewares line that includes upholstered lounge chairs, ottomans, stone bathtubs and hand basins.

Meanwhile, Luke has realised his dream to own stock, with two cows gifted from friends, and Nikki’s childhood pony Rosé, a 38-year-old palomino spent her golden years by the creek, lovingly cared for by both Nikki and her mother Lisa, a veterinarian.

“This rural transition has been a blessing in both our personal and professional lives,” Nikki says. “We have an amazing sense of community and are so grateful to live here.”

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