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Karaka of a Christmas
It took three years to complete the massive project and while most folk might sit back and relax, not this couple.The paint is barely dry and they are already flat out preparing to take part in the Christmas in Karaka fundraiser.
Greg and Toni are also in the throes of completing landscaping. Their five-acre block encompasses a second home, occupied by their daughter and grandchildren as well as paddocks where alpaca, sheep, ponies, goats and chickens can be spotted.
It also features an orchard, large potager garden, plus the first stage of a garden retreat which will be further complemented by lawns and plantings under construction.
But it is the interior which will be decked out in festive style for the ramble. Unlike some of the properties which will benefit from the talents of an interior designer and a florist, Toni will arrange her own yuletide decorations.
“I’m working on a ‘house of shoes’ theme with the latest footwear styles all wrapped up in festive decorations to complement existing décor,” she says.
The Charteris home already provides a dream environment thanks to a cleverly coordinated colour scheme of white, silver, black and lashings of red, which runs throughout the home.
“Neutral backgrounds make it easy to instigate any future change of interior direction,” Toni says. “For example, by removing the black and red elements, the abundance of white allows me to create a whole new look and regardless of which way I go with the Christmas theme, that neutral background makes it easy.”
With Toni clearly in control of her Christmas scheme, visitors will be in for a treat – her home, even without festive décor, is a joy to see.
Totally unexpected is the colossal foyer where a boardwalk, stunning water features, lush plants and exotic gold fish exude a sense of Eastern tranquillity.
A right turn takes one to the master suite with outsize bedroom, stunning bathroom and a dressing room, which has to be the envy of all women who appreciate space, and lots of it.
Turn left from the foyer and the west wing includes dining, lounge, library, home theatre, two double bedrooms, two bathrooms plus a powder room and the kitchen.
The latter is, in fact, two kitchens. The scullery or working kitchen is semi-concealed and the envy of chefs who appreciate a double size oven, six gas hobs, double door fridge, sinks, butcher’s block and lots of open fronted, commercial-style drawers for ordered storage. A door to the outside makes for easy off-load of groceries from the car.
In addition, there’s Toni’s “Clayton’s kitchen” overlooking the dining room. “All the real work is done in the scullery; this second kitchen is more a place for a few last minute finishing touches.”
But perhaps the piece de resistance is the wine cellar seen through a glass floor inset to one side of the second kitchen.
Outside stage one of the garden, generally referred to as ‘the lake’, is a meld of natives and exotics plus a small man made lake, garden art to bring a smile to the face and many different birds.
Other gardens being nurtured encompass the tropical corner, a wholly native section and an English cottage garden with more to come. The covered, north-facing atrium, accessed from the house and from covered exterior walkways, will soon benefit from additional plantings and lawns too.
With its many precious artworks and light colour scheme, some people would keep little hands away but the Charteris home is both welcoming and accustomed to children.
“Our grandchildren are in and out all the time and while there’s a lot of white, its easy enough to clean,” Toni says. “After all, what’s a home without children, animals and a garden? We are very lucky to have the lot.”