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Home Stories: Lucinda and Rick De Jong

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Inside Lucinda and Rick’s McKellar abode, Ashley and Cass find a home whose small-footprint design doesn’t compromise on style.

A few minutes after we met Lucinda De Jong on the front porch of her McKellar home, she makes the following observation—“I’m not sure why but people don’t seem to invite each other to their homes as much. I hope that’s not lost though…it’s the reason I love your stories.”

I’m not sure why either, but it’s a privilege Cass and I feel every time someone welcomes us into their home and therefore their life. Lucinda and husband Rick moved to Canberra from the Central Coast about six years ago for Rick’s work and have settled into the lifestyle capital that is Canberra with ease and enjoyment.

I was trying to test Lucinda with jokes about the cold weather and owl sculptures, but she wouldn’t take the bait and instead pointed out how perfectly Canberra is positioned to enjoy the coast without giving up the advantages of our city.

Soon after arriving in Canberra, the couple looked at the house during an inspection and found themselves to be the only ones.

Why? Well, as the story goes, there were 11 students sharing the three-bedroom house—the two biggest clues being nails in the ceiling where additional partitions were created within rooms and deadlocks on all internal doors.

Its very run-down condition was immediately obvious and needless to say, it kept many prospective buyers away.

However, Lucinda and Rick with their ever-optimistic approach could easily see past all that and envisaged a family home that would be perfect for their daughter Laura to grow up in for years to come.

Lucinda and Rick are big supporters of a minimalist, small-footprint approach to design and living where you make the most of your space.

So, with that in mind, they didn’t extend the home but instead got busy removing some unnecessary doors, splitting a side kitchen room into a standalone study and, of course, getting rid of all the nails.

The rest was relatively cosmetic, especially as they wanted to keep as much of the home’s original elements intact to stay true to its inner-Belconnen-early-80s vibe—cue the red brick and the stained-glass entry door, which they love.

However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t get creative. You can probably tell from Cass’ photos that Lucinda has a strong appreciation of the French Provincial style.

However, it’s been applied with a light touch, giving the interior a country warmth without clashing with the home’s original features—if anyone can make 80s salmon ensuite bathroom tiles and round wooden cabinet doorknobs work with distressed wood bedroom side tables, it’s Lucinda.

In fact, if she needs something custom made then she doesn’t have to go far, as Rick is quite the genius with the tools—that light blue kitchen shelf was his transformation of a dodgy old desk.

I’m rather glad I got to know the couple since it’s always handy knowing someone that is handy with the tools—especially when 11 students move in.

Thinking back to Lucinda’s question about why we don’t seem to invite each other over as much, it may be because we’re all busy—or we’ve forgotten how short moments in someone else’s lives can give perspective to our own. And I’m not just saying that because now I have someone to borrow tools from.

 

 

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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.

Photography: Cass Atkinson

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