Actor, presenter and business owner Blair McDonough shares his tips on creating the ideal home for a growing family
Blair McDonough is the first to admit that renovations can become both exciting and all-consuming – describing the joy of personalising a new home, or creating the perfect kitchen or outdoor entertaining area.
“Sometimes you just get addicted to it,” McDonough says. “I did a couple of renovations in my younger days when I was working on some sets and in some shows. You generally get a lot of down time and I like to keep busy.”
Now, however, the former Neighbours star says that the arrival of two young children (he has a three year old and one year old) has made him rethink the idea of spending weekends renovating – he’s just too tired now!
“It is incredibly difficult to do when you have young kids – so much noise and not enough time,” he says.
McDonough and his wife Kristi have recently renovated their Byron Bay home, turning it into a family-friendly space and connecting the kitchen and living areas with the garden and pool area.
“It was just a little cottage when we bought it – just a little two bedder,” he adds. “We had to make it much bigger for an expanding family and, because it’s an idealistic location, people come and visit very, very often. We had to make sure it was big enough to look after all that. “
In deciding the style for the new home, they went for a classic beach house look with natural timbers and white throughout – a perfect complement to the location.
And, with the demands of the children, the choice of Caesarstone in the kitchen was a no-brainer, he said, because of its durability.
“We have Weetbix in the morning,” he explains. “It sets like concrete if they spill it, but lucky it’s a durable surface, so you can scrape it off – it makes life much easier.”
In previous houses, the couple had chosen Snow™ for their benchtops, but this time they chose London Grey™, a softer, more subtle shade, which McDonough says was a deliberate choice in order to add relief from the stark white throughout, and introduce texture into the mix.
“It's just a nice transition between the amount of wood and the white as well,” he says.
The benchtops run from inside the kitchen out to an outside awning, creating a good flow for effortless entertaining and supervision of the pool area.
The new kitchen has a great view of the pool, designed so that as the kids grow, they can be easily supervised from the inside of the house – a must in a warm location.
“We can see the pool from the lounge room, the dining table, and the kitchen,” says McDonough. “Because if they don’t spend all summer in the pool, I will.
I can always watch them in the house from the pool or from the house to the pool. That’s the idea.”