When TV and radio personality Emma Freedman purchased an 1890s three-bedroom, two-storey Paddington terrace with husband Charlie Rundle, the couple had heard about the sale only three hours before the auction while inspecting a neighbouring suburb. The whirlwind decision comes with no regrets and it’s been their family home for the past five years.
On a leafy street, the terrace feels bright thanks to a skylit living area that’s been fully renovated to open up the rear of the home. A modern kitchen is functional and features a mirrored splashback Freedman has come to love – allowing the space to appear larger than it is. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall opens onto a private courtyard for entertaining.
The family of four spend most of their communal time in the kitchen and lounge. Here, Freedman’s love of Scandi styling meets a passion for eclectic home furnishings.
Colourful artworks are dotted throughout, including a piece by Shane Bowden, which the Lexus ambassador purchased while working on the Today show doing a live cross from Noosa, chatting to the Archibald Prize artist about his portrait of Steve Jacobs painted 10 years ago. There’s a mix of vintage posters to be found as well, from a nod to the couple’s love of skiing to a retro surfing print in the bathroom.
“I am big on colour, especially when it comes to art in the home,” Freedman says. “I like mixing original works with prints, and I love vintage and modern mixed together. We also have a white couch in the lounge – which people think is crazy with two kids under two – but it works well because it has a linen cover that we throw in the wash every few weeks. It works well to open up the space to appear airy and bright.”
A large Marrakesh rug adds an earthiness to the lounge room, and coffee table books tempt her to turn a page when she needs to switch off from life’s hustle.
The daughter of five-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Lee Freedman doesn’t mind getting in on some renovation action. She hired a sander to strip the floorboards at the front of the home, which had been lacquered in black.
“It wasn’t suitable for a family with a golden retriever and kids so I did it myself and got someone to come and lacquer them back to enjoy the original feature,” Freedman says.
The renovation completed before their purchase also features concrete floors in the kitchen and lounge.
A revamp of the laundry provides for more room to move. A backyard makeover has added greenery and seating. They’ve fitted a barbecue, a new outdoor bench and railing for al fresco dining.
“Traditional terraces are always long and thin and make for tight living – this is no exception,” Freedman says. “But we love the location and, so far, it’s working nicely for our family.”
In the main bedroom upstairs, a photographic artwork by Georgina Skinner adds a serene touch. “I love that our art choices really reflect that space; the sense of a calm, nature-filled vibe is ideal for the bedroom,” Freedman says.
The mother of two (Will, 2, and Edie, 7 months), is busy juggling a radio and TV career with raising a young family, and admits her home looks lived in, feels homely and comes with all the cliched nods to raising a family.
“It’s not a display home. We have kids’ drawings on the fridge, Lego lined on the TV cabinet, toys in the bathroom. It’s our safe and happy place. The kids like to draw, we enjoy cooking and it’s a place to unwind,” Freedman says.
Their daughter Edie’s room is also her husband’s makeshift office for now, and their son Will’s bedroom is filled with art (an original John Olsen print Freedman purchased in Melbourne), a Night Sky artwork gift from friends Emma and Tom Hawkins on the night Will was born, and a portrait of their dog (a wedding present from Emma’s mother Janelle).
“That’s a quirky wedding gift, but Will loves dogs and it made sense to put that in his bedroom,” she says.
A portrait of a horse hangs in the lounge room; but don’t be fooled, it’s not Makybe Diva. “The horse doesn’t have a name,” Freedman says. “And it’s the only horse reference in the home, probably much to people’s surprise. If I had the space, I’d have a room dedicated to sport and horse racing memorabilia, but for that, we’ll have to wait.”
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The 1020 general applicants in the Leichhardt/Marrickville Allocation Zone, including Glebe, face a wait time of five to 10 years for a studio or one-bedroom home, and more than 10 years for all other property types.
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker said the state government was “exacerbating” the housing and homelessness crisis with the sale.
“This is a publicly-owned property in good condition, right in the middle of one of the most in-demand public housing zones in the country,” he said.
“This property should have been provided to one of the hundreds of families on that list not flogged off to the highest bidder.”
Mr Parker fears public housing residents will be “banished” to the outskirts of Sydney.
A NSW Government spokeswoman said the sale of “aged assets” is funding a “significant increase in social housing supply” – about 1300 homes across the City of Sydney local government area.
She told the Herald the $2 million sale “has the potential to build about five new homes”.
“LAHC (Land and Housing Corporation) is unable to maintain this type of housing due to the higher than normal maintenance expenses and these assets should be properly restored to best standards because they are historically significant,” she said.
“LAHC is self-funded and continually reviewing its asset base to identify older social housing properties that are more expensive to maintain and no longer meet tenants’ needs, to sell and generate income that’s re-invested into building more new and better homes to support more vulnerable people in communities throughout NSW.”
She said the Millers Point Sales Program is a “glaring example” of this “asset recycling strategy”.
Within that program, 340 properties in the harbour-side enclave have sold to date, raising close to $615 million, the state government spokeswoman said.
A further 79 properties are due to be sold, with final net proceeds expected to deliver more than 1890 new properties.
Last month, Housing Minister Melinda Pavey accused the City of Sydney council of delays in the approval of new social housing projects, including on the same street as the latest sale.
A government briefing note prepared for Ms Pavey’s office said there are more than 1000 social housing dwellings awaiting approval from the council, including Waterloo South (914), Elizabeth Street in Redfern (64) and Cowper Street, Glebe (35).
“It is false and misleading to blame the city for the delay in these important social housing projects,” a council spokeswoman said at the time.
“The Cowper Street proposal was assessed within 58 days, and the city is expected to complete the planning proposal well ahead of the state government’s deadline.”
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Police have arrested and charged a man on outstanding warrants with serious domestic violence-related offences and firearms offences in the Hunter Region today.
About 5.30am today (Sunday 7 March 2021), officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were called to Truscott Street, Raymond Terrace, after reports a man was attempting to gain access to a home.
Following inquiries, the officers established the 29-year-old man was wanted on four outstanding arrest warrants for offences relating to domestic violence and firearms offences, and a revocation of parole.
By the time police arrived at the scene, the man had gained access to the home. A 26-year-old woman, who is the occupant of the property and known to the man, was also inside.
Upon seeing police, the man attempted to flee the home through a roof cavity and was stopped by officers. He was arrested and taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station.
The 29-year-old was charged with;
• Stalk/intimidate intend fear physical etc harm (domestic)
• Contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (Domestic)
• Agg B&E & commit serious indictable offence-people there
• Destroy or damage property
• Take & drive conveyance w/o consent of owner (x 2)
• Drive motor vehicle during disqualification period
• Goods in personal custody suspected being stolen (not m/v)
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Sparing no expense and built on a labour of love, the owner has transformed 8 Rowley Street into an architectural masterpiece with bespoke interiors, high-end appliances and impressive outdoor spaces.
The owner spared no expense with the renovation.
It will now be offered to buyers at auction later this month with a $2.8m price guide, which would fetch one of the highest sale prices in Camperdown.
Bresic Whitney — Glebe agent Chris Nunn said the four-bedroom property is unlike anything ever seen in the inner city suburb.
“The property is very unprecedented in Camperdown and you could count on one hand how many are like it in surrounding suburbs,” he said.
The kitchen used to be nothing special.
Today it has a massive fridge, three ovens and a dual gas/induction cooktop.
Mr Nunn said the uniqueness of the home is having a massive affect on attracting buyers to Camperdown.
“We’re getting people who would never have considered Camperdown as a place to live before seeing this home,” he said.
“Buyers are more house specific than geographic specific now and they are prepared to consider a number of areas if the house ticks the boxes.”
Before: The backyard has some grass and a shed.
Now: There is a firepit and a covered carport.
With an exceptional level of quality and attention, the four-storey property features an interplay of timber, concrete and glass. Gone are the wooden floorboards too, with the seller now opting for an industrial contemporary vibe with polished concrete floors.
The entry-level features two-bedrooms including the main, which has a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom that leads into the bedroom. Upstairs is a family room and two bedrooms that have built-in wardrobes that flow out to a classic terrace balcony.
The old front facade, which was the only thing left in tact by the owner. Even it has been vastly updated.
A homeowner will unwind and entertain in style on the lower floor, which has an open plan kitchen and living area. This space has stunning light fixtures, sunlights, as well as a wooden and concrete feature roof. The kitchen has three ovens, a dual gas/induction cooktop and a huge 900 litre fridge that the owner is including in the sale.
Mr Nunn said the attention to detail is unlike anything he has seen in a new build before.
“The owner has not cut corners and paid attention to detail that many other new builds often don’t have,” he said.
The dining area has stylish light fixtures.
“The idea he had was to give the potential buyer as much as they could want in a property.” Previously a rundown space with a small shed, the backyard now has a stylish outdoor area fitted with a wooden facade, a firepit, built-in barbecue and a double carport.
Additional components include underfloor heating, a Vintec wine fridge, solar panels and a airconditioning.
Realestate.com.au reports Camperdown has a median house sale price of $1.56m — an increase of 17.6 per cent in the year.
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Police are searching for a driver after a car crashed into a house in the Hunter region last night.
About 8.45pm (Friday 12 February 2021), a silver Nissan Maxima sedan left the road and crashed through a brick front fence, before hitting the house on Alma Street, Raymond Terrace.
Both the driver and front seat passenger of the vehicle ran from the scene prior to the arrival of police.
A couple who were inside at the time of the crash were not injured, however, the home was significantly damaged.
NSW Fire and Rescue attended to assess the house and an exclusion zone was established.
As inquiries continue, officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District are appealing to the public for information to identify the driver.
In particular, police would like to hear from anyone who might have dash cam footage of the incident or who might have been driving around Raymond Terrace at the time, to come forward.
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A man will appear in court today charged after crashing an unregistered car into a house in the Hunter region last night.
About 9.20pm (Saturday 10 October 2020), officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were patrolling in the Raymond Terrace area, following reports of a suspicious vehicle.
Police observed a silver Holden Commodore travelling on Links Road; however, it drove away in the opposite direction.
A short time later, the Holden was located crashed into a home on Scott Close, Raymond Terrace.
The crash caused extensive damage to the front concrete veranda of the home, estimated to be valued at more than $40,000.
The driver, a 23-year-old man, was arrested and taken to John Hunter Hospital for mandatory testing.
He was later taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station and charged with drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, never licensed person drive vehicle on road and use unregistered registrable class A motor vehicle on road.
The man was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Bail Court today (Sunday 11 October 2020).
Sitting once again on the Terrace Where It Happened, Charles Michel confessed he had no Plan B if leaders had failed to reach a budget deal. But he did have a nuclear option if Emmanuel Macron tried to leave Brussels without an agreement, as the French president had threatened when talks deadlocked last Saturday night, ordering staff to get his plane ready.
“I knew that it was not possible to decide on such a difficult topic in one day or two days,” the European Council president said. So the former Belgian premier told leaders he would keep them in Brussels as long as necessary.
“It was a joke, but I told them that I know the Belgian prime minister very well and I intended to ask her to close all the Belgian airports as long as we don’t have an agreement,” he said. But the message behind the joke was clear: No one leaves.
For four days and four nights, Michel kept the leaders talking, even when they were angrily criticizing each other. On daybreak Tuesday, they reached an accord on a historic €1.8 trillion package including a recovery fund to tackle the economic fallout from the coronavirus and a seven-year budget — in a single summit, one of the longest in EU history.
How much the deal can be credited to Michel’s negotiating skills is open to debate. There was plenty of grumbling about his chairmanship as the talks, originally scheduled to last just two days, dragged on through the weekend.
Threats were not the only instrument in Michel’s toolbox.
In an effort to resolve the major sticking points, Michel held multiple meetings of small groups of leaders on the terrace of the Council building, with photos tweeted out to the world. That meant other leaders were waiting around for hours, to their frustration and the annoyance of their officials.
Others close to the talks said Michel had to rely heavily on Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who were often at his side for those terrace meetings.
But ultimately Michel presided over a landmark agreement that will create a €750 billion coronavirus crisis recovery fund, for which the bloc will take on an unprecedented amount of joint debt — representing a fundamentally deeper fiscal integration than ever before.
Looking relaxed if a bit drained, in a dark sport coat but no tie, Michel described in an interview with POLITICO how he managed the 27 heads of state and government whose wishes he needed to anticipate, and whose demands he needed to meet in order to secure a unanimous agreement.
He met them one on one and in groups. He met them in the morning and at night and in those small hours when it is impossible to tell the difference, alternating at times between tea and coffee so as not to get over-caffeinated, but fueled mainly by Coca-Cola Zero.
And, of course, he met them all together, at the round table in the plenary room, and over some meals — in the Council’s Europa building, where an array of extraordinary health precautions were taken, including limits to the size of leaders’ delegations, the banning of the customary horde of journalists, the frequent use of face masks and ubiquitous bottles of hand sanitizer.
Threats were not the only instrument in Michel’s toolbox. He said he calculated carefully when it was necessary to put forward new proposals in writing, and when it made more sense to float ideas for discussion.
Michel said he also sought to impose tough discipline to keep the big plenary discussions focused on three main topics — the overall size of the recovery fund, the mix of grants versus loans, and the governance mechanism — and to segregate discussion on the controversial topic of rule of law.
At one point, the rule-of-law issue was sub-contracted out to a group that included expected participants like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán but also Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, who had developed expertise on the issue while serving as a member of the European Parliament.
At several points, the talks appeared to stall, or to be on the verge of collapse.
After a first day of deadlock, Michel on Saturday morning put forward a new written proposal, a negotiating box in EU jargon, as a way of generating momentum.
Michel with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during a meeting | European Council
And on Sunday morning after Macron’s threat to leave, Michel came back again with new architecture for a deal.
“I don’t think it was a joke,” Michel said of Macron’s threat to go. “I don’t think it was a form of bluff.”
Michel said he felt Saturday evening “was a serious moment.” He worked the phones through the night and came back with a new plan.
But on Sunday night when things got really tough, Michel held back yet another promised written revision, warning that it would be pointless unless leaders could break a stalemate over the total size of the recovery fund, and the amount of grants that would be included in it. Instead, he floated ideas in discussion but without putting anything new on paper.
One official who monitored the talks said a crucial breakthrough came that Sunday evening, when leaders were served an unceremonial “cold plate” dinner, and Michel warned them that he had hit a roadblock, with supporters of the grants program insisting on at least €400 billion, and the self-described frugal countries refusing to go beyond €350 billion.
Michel conceded that the toughest nut to crack was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, perhaps Michel’s closest friend at the table.
“He finally convened the meeting and he said ‘I cannot propose you a nego box,'” the official said, quoting Michel: “‘I have a proposal which gets the support of at least 22 countries but not from the others so I cannot propose it to you. OK, so what do we do now? Do we go on? Do I call it off?'”
A serious discussion followed including speculation about how financial markets would react to a failed summit. Finally, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, one of the frugals pushing for a low number, spoke up.
“There was a long silence, and then … it was Löfven who said, ‘I prefer that we go on and we try to find an agreement.'”
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, Council President Charles Michel and Parliament president David Sassoli | Pool photo by François Walschaerts via Getty Images
A national official confirmed that account.
A spokesman for Löfven said the Swedish prime minister wanted to reach an agreement if Sweden’s and the frugals’ priorities were taken into account. The spokesman declined to comment further on the details of the negotiations.
Michel, in the interview, would not describe the statements made by individual leaders.
“It is important for the trust between the colleagues that we keep also some secrets,” Michel said. “I recognize that we had some hard talks around the table, but never at the personal level. It was ideological. It was professional, because there are different interests.”
Rutte’s red lines
Michel conceded that the toughest nut to crack was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, perhaps Michel’s closest friend at the table.
“It is not a secret, the prime minister of the Netherlands has a very strong position around the table,” Michel said. He went to see Rutte in The Hague before the summit, but left without persuading the Dutchman to show his cards.
“This visit to The Hague was very important for me to try to see, to feel, to understand, exactly what were the real red lines of Mark Rutte,” Michel said, adding that he quickly asked to dispense with a half dozen or more advisers in the room.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen | Pool photo by Stephanie Lecocq via Getty Images
“I use a lot the technique of the tête-a-tête, in order to look into the heart, the eyes, and to feel where the red lines really are,” Michel said. In the conversation, he said, he understood that Rutte would take a strong line on the proposed governance mechanism by which disbursements of recovery money would be approved.
But beyond that, especially on the numbers, Rutte was inscrutable.
“Mark Rutte is really skillful, is a very strong negotiator. And I came back to Brussels without being certain what was the real red line regarding the amount. I had the impression that he had a margin of maneuver, but which margins exactly I was not certain,” Michel said.
But Rutte was not the only tough negotiator.
“It was much more complicated than that,” Michel said. “And you have different games at the same time, because you have different topics at the same time.”
Back in February, before the coronavirus crisis, a first European Council summit dedicated to budget negotiations failed. Many leaders blamed Michel, saying he had engaged in too many individual meetings, keeping other leaders waiting, dragging out the talks, and making virtually no progress.
Michel still has his fair share of critics, some of whom find his Belgian approach to consensus-building through small meetings maddening to say the least. One official spoke of “chaos,” complaining about long hours waiting for their boss.
In the end, was a deal reached due to Michel’s skills, French emotions, German firmness, some flash of genius by one or another leader, or a solid underlying proposal by the Commission?
“I was so happy to use the terrace,” Michel said. “I am not saying without that we would have a failure, but it was part of the atmosphere.”
Some say it was the urgency of the pandemic, and the strong unity of France and Germany — the alliance of Macron and Merkel — that forced leaders to reach an agreement, rather than anything Michel did alone.
“He really needed the continuous help of the French-German axis, which I for the first time in many years saw functioning as a duo,” a veteran EU diplomat said. “I think they did a tremendous job.”
Or perhaps it was the fortunate delivery of a piece of furniture that turned out to be central to last weekend’s deal-making. The table for his terrace arrived just a week or two before the summit, Michel said.
“I was so happy to use the terrace,” Michel said. “I am not saying without that we would have a failure, but it was part of the atmosphere.”
Michel said that he slept little more than an hour each night of the summit, preferring to take a short nap and a shower and then get back to work. “Not really sleep,” he said. “But I took one hour, one-hour-thirty each night in order to have a break.”
Michel and Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán | European Council
The Council president said that the agreement the leaders reached would be seen as a pivotal moment in the story of European integration.
“We took a historic decision for this European project,” he said.
Sitting on the terrace overlooking the European Quarter, Michel was already contemplating another European Council summit in September, to catch up on work postponed by the focus on the pandemic.
But was there a back-up in case leaders had failed to reach a deal at the summit just gone? He was asked this question repeatedly during his preparations, said Michel, an empty bottle of Coca-Cola Zero and a plate of uneaten cookies on the table in front of him. “And I said, ‘Plan A is a successful summit and the Plan B is the Plan A.’”
Charlie Duxbury in Stockholm contributed reporting.
This article is part of POLITICO’s coverage of the EU budget, tracking the development of the seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework. For a complimentary trial, email firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning Budget.