It's no surprise to hear that the kitchen is Diana Ketels' favourite space in the house she and her husband built near Drury 30 years ago. It's the third kitchen they've had in this house and she likes it so much she's determined to have an identical kitchen in their next home.

Completed just last year, the kitchen adjoins the family room and its standout features are a very big scullery containing twin ovens and a broad island bench with seating for five or six around it. "It's all built of really good materials and cleaning it is effortless," Diana says.

When they started designing the house all those years ago, Diana would have been perfectly happy as long as it had four bedrooms and a kitchen.

But as the process continued, she added open-plan living to the wish list, as well as a formal lounge which would provide "a quiet area to go to in times of chaos".

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It was also important to have a floorplan that could be extended if necessary, and that the house could be positioned for maximum privacy.

The piece of land they bought was chosen partly for that reason — they could see how the house could be set back from the road. "Plus, we really liked Jesmond Rd because it's pretty, private, quiet and close enough to the motorway."

It's located in the future urban area of Drury Village and is close to the new special housing area where about 2500 new homes and a new town centre are on the drawing board.

The house they built on their 1ha block is classic country-style, clad in brick with timber detailing, with a pitched tiled roof. Diana got the four double bedrooms she wanted, as well as two bathrooms, three living areas, and a summer house.

She put her passion for interior design to good use, choosing a sophisticated colour palette of mainly off-whites, clay and taupe shades, which tone perfectly with the English oak floors throughout the open-plan living areas.

Some rooms have feature walls of wallpaper, and Diana's favourite is in the office, where she has used a quirky textured paper in blues and golds. A few years ago she added white-painted shutters throughout the house for an open, summery look.

She says the design style of the house is modern casual, "with a bit of French Provincial going on there as well. It's been described as a lodge look."

All the major rooms open to the outdoors and the garden, where Diana has created an elegant country look with sweeping lawns, clipped hedges, topiaries and spectacular mature trees.

There are native and exotic species, and a favourite Virginia creeper climber. "It softens the front of the house, and all it needs is a trim once a year." Diana is a passionate gardener and started work on this one when the children were small. "It was my time out.
When I'd been working in the garden I would come back inside feeling refreshed."

Adjacent to the house are a number of outdoor living spaces. A deck under an awning at the front houses an outdoor dining setting, and looks out on the in-ground pool with its expansive terrace paved with terracotta tiles.

At the back of the house with a view to the tennis court is a new courtyard where an ornamental grape is already clambering over the pergola.

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