Home is where the heart is
Whether it’s a modest townhouse or a sprawling mansion, there’s no place quite like home. This month, the lunching ladies open up about their thoughts on what makes a home and what it means to them, as well as what’s on their wishlist when it comes to their dream abode.
A house may be just bricks and mortar, but a home is so much more. It’s a place where we feel safe, sheltered and protected from the world, surrounded by the people we love and the things we treasure most. From our childhood home, to our first home, to our dream home, our needs and wants may change, but home is always where the heart is. Being the home issue I caught up with the ladies over a delicious lunch at Surfair Marcoola for their thoughts on what makes a home. Joining me was Alvia Turney, CEO of Act 4 Tomorrow; Grace Baker, owner of The Parenting Co; Megan Bell, owner of Fresh Holistic Health at Forest Glen, Melissa Markillie, debt reduction specialist with Think Money and photographer Tanya Chesterton Smith.
profile: What is your favourite memory about your childhood home?
megan: We lived on 10 acres at Caboolture and had sheep, a couple of baby cows we would bottle-feed, and a big macadamia tree. I have great memories of having lots of space and freedom.
grace: It was quite similar for me. I grew up on acreage with chickens and cows and other farm animals. I was an only child and my mother stayed home with me until I was eight years old. I could ride my bike for hours around the property or swim in the creek.
melissa: My experience was very different. I grew up in a unit in suburban Sydney but I absolutely loved it. It was a little community of 29 villas and in the centre was a playground for the kids and a barbecue area and a pool – it was like resort living. There were always so many kids to play with for my sister and I. So while we didn’t have a big house we always had lots of fun.
alvia: I was an only child and grew up in London. I remember we lived in a very large house. At first we had the top level, the rooms were oversized with enormous windows. When we were fortunate to move to the downstairs accommodation it included the garden and I recall it had a huge tree for climbing. It was a happy house where you could make noise and play.
tanya: I grew up in a typical suburban family home with a big back yard in Brisbane. We lived in a no-through-road which was great to play in and my childhood was all about BMX bikes and exploring.
profile: When and where did you buy your first home?
tanya: My husband Brett and I had a long distance relationship for four years, he was from the Sunshine Coast and I was in Brisbane. I was ready for a change so I moved to the Coast and we decided we would buy a house. We looked for about six months and found a place in Coolum. It was just a little brick low set simple family home. It was good timing because we bought before the boom and after five years we were able to make a good profit on it and buy the block of land we built our current house on.
megan: I was 27, with one baby and one on the way. We bought a renovator in Maroochydore and because I was pregnant, instead of me doing the work, I had a clipboard and I ordered everyone around. With the help of family and friends we renovated in two weeks. We are still there eight years later. It’s small but it’s close to everything. My husband complains daily about the size of the kitchen but one day we will get a bigger house. We are all together and that’s the main thing.
grace: When I met my husband he already had his own house and then we bought our own house when I was just 22, and was seven months pregnant. It was a renovator then and it still is five years later, which is what happens when you have children. We are looking to stay there long term for the stability for the kids, at least until they have finished school.
alvia: My husband-to-be and I bought our first home when I was 21, it was a beautiful brand new detached house and we felt very affluent because a detached home was a big deal in the UK. I do believe in property and have made good profit over the years.
melissa: I’ve attempted to buy property a few times but it has never quite worked out due to relocating to different cities. I have enjoyed lots of travel but now I am settled on the Sunshine Coast I’m looking at it seriously.
profile: How have your tastes/expectations changed?
alvia: My desire of wanting the ‘big’ home was finally satisfied after buying and selling over the years. Circumstances changed, a divorce and then I required a dual occupancy living to accommodate Mum. Happy to say we found a spectacular property in Alex.
tanya: When we bought our first home it was just a three-bedroom starter so we had a bedroom for us, an office and a baby nursery, which was perfect at the time. But with baby number two on the way and me wanting to work more from home, we decided it was time to expand. We didn’t move too far, we are still in Coolum but it was great to design the house with a family/home studio in mind. When we were building I was heavily pregnant with a toddler so I didn’t think too much about the decor. If I had my time again I would have been a bit more adventurous with my colours.
megan: We bought our house with a plan to live there for a couple of years so we did the same, with neutral colours for resale. When we renovated a couple of years ago, we put on an extension and we added a few pendant lights and extras to make it feel like more than a rental. We do love the location, but it is small and we will probably need more space as the boys grow.
profile: Do you think people judge each other by the home they live in?
alvia: In my experience I have found Australian people to be more concerned and accepting of who you are, rather than what you have.
melissa: I don’t think so but perhaps the area or suburb you live in is something some people might judge you by.
grace: No I would never judge anyone by their home. I know it’s almost impossible to keep my house tidy with two children.
profile: Describe your dream home?
alvia: I am lucky to say I live in my dream home. I wrote a wish list once and asked for a home that was metres to the beach, with no power lines obscuring a spectacular view, dual living, modern and fresh, white new kitchen, decks etc. and I am fortunate to say my dream came true. It doesn’t get any better for me.
tanya: I’m pretty happy with my home. I wouldn’t change too much really. A bit closer to the beach would be nice. My husband and children all surf so they would love to be able to grab their boards and go!
megan: I’m a long way away from the house of my dreams. A view of the ocean would be amazing. My husband would love more space, but I am more about proximity to everything. With four children we need to be close to things or I would live in my car.
grace: My husband would like to live close to the beach because he surfs, but I would like to go further out into the hills with even more space.
melissa: I live really close to the beach at the moment which is perfect but I would love to be a bit higher to have more of a view. I would love to live near Noosa, somewhere like Little Cove maybe.
Having opened its doors to the public in the early ‘70s, Surfair at Marcoola has become an iconic part of the Sunshine Coast.
My recent lunchtime visit to the hotel’s stylish beach bistro was a first for me and it didn’t disappoint.
Boasting wall-to-wall glass doors opening to the sparkling swimming pool and cocktail bar, the spacious eatery is modern, airy and fresh, perfectly showcasing the Sunshine Coast’s alfresco dining culture.
On the day of our visit, the Profile guests were treated to a delicious two-course set menu with two mouth-watering choices for entree and main course.
On the menu was Mooloolaba prawns in a coconut, lemongrass and ginger dressing with crispy salad leaves, mango and green papaya or Char-grilled Mediterranean vegetable salad with rocket and feta for entree. Both dishes were beautifully presented and tasted just as good as they looked on the plate.
For mains, we were offered a choice of jerk marinated chicken breast with quinoa, tabbouleh, zesty minted yoghurt and a balsamic reduction or traditional potato gnocchi with rocket, pine nuts, feta and fresh herbs in a creamy garlic and white wine sauce with shaved parmesan.
The servings were more than generous, but too good not to finish! Perfectly cooked, the succulent chicken was deliciously seasoned and ideally matched with the zesty salad, while the hearty gnocchi was plump and flavoursome and there was plenty of delicious sauce.
For dessert we shared a selection of decadent winter warmers including bread and butter pudding, and banana spring rolls served with a creamy vanilla ice cream – yum!
Not only is the beach bistro the perfect venue for lunch or dinner, it also has six in-house conference and function rooms, and specialises in weddings.
Great food, great service, great atmosphere, no wonder Surfair Marcoola remains an iconic venue on the Sunshine Coast.
923 David Low Way, Marcoola
Phone: 5457 2555