Sharon and Scott Reid have created an idyllic retreat where their blended families can come together in Numinbah.
When Sharon and Scott Reid first viewed the property that was to become their second home, they spent an entire day walking around the ground’s 115 acres (46.5 hectares), traversing up and down hills and around natural water features. “We were instantly taken,” Sharon and Scott say. “It was just something you could never describe. We discovered some beautiful creeks, rock pools and waterfalls. We spent a whole day walking around the property and we saw all these opportunities. Our dream family home, it was beautiful.”
The property, which is located in Numinbah in northern NSW, near the Queensland border, had good infrastructure put in place by the previous owner, but was merely acreage and a shed when the pair first acquired it five and a half years ago. “It was very much a blank canvas,” Scott says. “And that enabled us to express our artistic sides, me with building and Sharon with the arts.” So the couple snapped it up and soon contacted Victorian-based Harkaway Homes, as they had admired the building company’s display homes, and set to work modifying one of Harkaway’s existing designs to suit their location, lifestyle and tastes.
But as the property backs on to a protected World Heritage-listed area with substantial Aboriginal cultural significance, before commencing the build, they needed permission from the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Unit. “There was a path that it’s believed Indigenous people for thousands of years had followed through to Mt Warning [roughly 30 kilometres away], so we had an elder visit and walk around the land with us,” Scott explains. “He was a world of knowledge and described how it was a designated sacred site.”
Interestingly, Mt Warning, which forms part of the Tweed Range in the Northern Rivers region of NSW and is known by traditional owners as Wollumbin, was closed off to visitors just last year to respect the wishes of the original custodians of the land. Previously, it attracted more than 127,000 hikers every year.
The Reids were given the go-ahead to build and they now have a three-bedroom, three-bathroom Victorian-style home with a wraparound verandah, separate study, French doors, three-metre-high ceilings and timber flooring throughout. The home’s main paddocks are five acres (two hectares), and the property is an ideal space for when their blended family of six sons, two adult sons from Sharon’s previous marriage, three from Scott’s and 13-year-old Brandon who they had together, plus six grandchildren come to visit. “The boys often like to camp outside when they come to stay,” Sharon says. “We’ve built about five barbecue areas near waterfalls and creeks around the property and they’ll light a fire, cook outside and boil a billy; they love it,” Scott adds.
Sharon and Scott both have real-estate backgrounds, which is how they met 17 years ago — “We’ve had a lovely, crazy time for the last 17 years,” Scott laughs — so they were well-equipped to manage the build, with Sharon having acquired her owner-builder’s licence just prior. This enabled her to plan the site to exacting standards, and she spent considerable time designing the home, not only to be functional for the family and their lifestyle, but also to capture the incredible backdrop of the surrounding landscape and mountain views, and ultimately realise her vision for their dream family home. “We moved from a large two-storey house in Broadbeach Waters [on Queensland’s Gold Coast] and we wanted this one to be more intimate,” Sharon says. “We designed it to have a real flow throughout,” Scott adds. “If you walk into the kitchen area, through the French doors and onto the verandah, there are stairs and a ramp that flow onto the pavilion, with a barbecue and outdoor fireplace leading onto the pool, with the paddocks as a backdrop, hills and the mountain ranges beyond.”
The open-plan dining, living and kitchen is conducive to family living with a fireplace the central feature, as well as old-world leadlight windows in keeping with the era of the home’s design. “People often ask us if we’ve renovated an old home and I think that is the greatest compliment,” Scott says. While Scott was hands-on with the building team, Sharon took the lead with design, ensuring that the home is bathed in natural light and allows for welcoming breezes to flow throughout. “I devoted two years to the home’s design, build, the colours, gardens and furnishings to create a warm family environment, where family can stay and run free,” Sharon says. When it came to decorating, Sharon scoured antique stores for the ideal pieces, while her and son Brandon’s artworks are hung throughout the home, adding a personal touch. Her aim was to combine modern fixtures, such as the state-of-art kitchen, with Victorian elements, evident in the bathroom tiles and clawfoot tubs, to cleverly integrate the style of the home’s design with the family’s needs.
The Reids also knocked down the pre-existing shed and built a bunkhouse, complete with a games room, bedroom, bathroom, gym, steam room and art room, while a pavilion opens out onto a heated pool. “We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful natural environment, so our intention was to focus our entertaining outdoors in the pavilion and pool area,” Sharon says. “The site has been well planned to maximise views, with a beautiful outlook from all aspects.”
Out in the paddocks, there are macadamia, mango, chestnut, pawpaw and nectarine trees, among others, a vegie garden, two goats, named Oreo and Hot Fudge Sundae, and chickens, one of which, called Tandoori, conveniently lays her eggs on the deck delivering breakfast straight to the Reids’ doorstep. Sharon hopes to add alpacas and donkeys to the family’s stable of animals and the couple are aiming to expand their vegie garden to become largely self-sufficient. They are also still making discoveries in their own backyard.
“A lot of the area was covered by a weed called lantana,” Scott explains. “When we were eradicating the weeds, we opened up some beautiful areas such as creeks and waterfalls, which probably haven’t been seen for 50-60 years.” The couple estimate that they spend at least a full day a week maintaining the main paddocks, while the neighbouring property’s cattle take care of the rest, keeping the grass
at bay and providing welcome fertiliser.
And their devotion to the property has certainly paid off as it’s now a cherished meeting place, where family can come together and enjoy their surroundings and each other. “We’ve spent five hard years getting it to where it is and we’ve probably got it to 90 per cent of where we want it and we really just want to slow down and enjoy it now,” Sharon and Scott say. “It’s very special, and people often comment on what a beautiful piece of the world it is.”
Photography by John Downs