Homes of the Hunter | Boutique CBD abode in Newcastle’s CBD given a new lease of life | Photos | Newcastle Herald

Jamie Linger

news, local-news, Paris, Cugnetto, House, Watt St, CBD, Newcastle, apartment, renovated Keira Bourke and Nathan Corrigan bought their beautiful apartment in Newcastle’s CBD in August 2020. A renovation project they decided to pursue after COVID led them to pause their other big plans for the year. “We planned on getting […]

news, local-news, Paris, Cugnetto, House, Watt St, CBD, Newcastle, apartment, renovated

Keira Bourke and Nathan Corrigan bought their beautiful apartment in Newcastle’s CBD in August 2020. A renovation project they decided to pursue after COVID led them to pause their other big plans for the year. “We planned on getting married in April 2020 and going backpacking around the world for 12 months right as COVID hit,” Bourke says. “We’d already packed our bags, made arrangements with our workplaces, and rented our home out in preparation for our travels. “After a few months, we realised travel was off the cards indefinitely and saw the listing for the apartment.” Bourke first fell in love with the apartment in 2014, when it was last on the market. “We loved the character of the old building, especially the high ceilings and oversized windows.” The rouge-fronted, first-floor apartment is in one of the smallest apartment complexes on Watt Street, which Bourke says “gives it a really nice community feel”. The bottom level of the building houses a gym and restaurant, meaning there is always the gentle buzz of people around. The couple spent a year intensely renovating the apartment, which has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a second sitting room, and a balcony. They now live in it with their dog Otis. “We stripped the place back and replaced nearly everything,” she says. “Nathan demolished the bathrooms himself, along with ripping up the flooring and getting it prepped for the professionals to come in and lay chevron boards throughout.” Corrigan also crafted a 3.2-metre-high floor-to-ceiling bookcase, which Bourke says is her favourite piece in the apartment. “The bookcase Nathan built is a special piece,” she says. “It took a fair while to source the books to fill it. Apart from our own books – and, also, a few friends gave and lent us – they were sourced from vintage stores, book fairs, and Facebook Marketplace.” Bourke describes the interior style as “classic” adding that “Parisian style was the inspiration”. The apartment is spacious, airy, and light-filled. Thoughtfully decorated in a palette of whites, neutrals, and soft brown tones, it has a crisp and soothing feel. The space is dressed in light wood tones, contrasting textures, and durable materials such as linen and leather. Small touches – like a wooden chess set, old books, gold-framed French-hung prints and photos, and an eclectic assortment of pretty vases and vessels – bring an element of personality and homeliness. Much of the furniture is second-hand and was predominantly sourced via Facebook Marketplace from Newcastle and Sydney. Bourke says living on Newcastle’s oldest street is fascinating. “My aunty researched the history for us. I have printouts of stories, along with images from the 1800s and 1900s, that I’ve hung in frames around the house. “I have a copy of an 1886 advertisement from the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate advertising horse and carriage hire from the stables at our address too. We know it became a general practise in 1922 and a political office in the 1950s.” The couple also appreciates the ease of Newcastle East. “We love being so close to the beach, bars and cafes. It’s a great area to walk Otis and take him down to the dog beach.” Bourke and Corrigan hope to welcome guests to the Watt Street apartment part-time once lockdown ends, as well as hire it out for photoshoots. “We think it will be a great location for visitors to Newcastle to use as a base for their travels around our region.” The couple also operates two other Airbnbs in Merewether and Port Stephens and have been hosting guests for five years. “Before COVID, we used to do private room rentals. It was fantastic meeting travellers from around the world, swapping stories and learning more about other cultures.” “Sometimes we’d get home from work and find our guests had cooked up a big German meal to share with us or tell us local tips about their homelands – like the best non-touristy beaches in Croatia we should visit one day. We still stay in contact with some of the travellers we have met over the years.” Bourke says they love the flexibility renting their home out gives them to travel, as well as “living out of a suitcase between our places, rather than always being in the one spot”. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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