With its charming early-Victorian period details and engaging street presence, it is no wonder Amber and James Stokie fell in love with the three-bedroom, two-bathroom sandstone villa at 96 Cremorne Street, Malvern.
Twelve months ago, they were purchasing their first home in South Australia after having moved from Victoria the previous year.
“We are new here and we have this beautiful new home, and we are enjoying discovering all these lovely areas around South Australia and Adelaide itself,” Amber says.
“We came through to look at the front [of the home] and were just completely besotted with the style – it is absolutely gorgeous.”
The couple’s first priority after purchasing the home was to transform the backyard shed into an art studio for Amber to work in.
“I have been an artist for a very long time and what was important to me was having a studio,” Amber says.
The couple turned the garden shed into an airy workspace and added an air conditioning unit, windows and glass doors.
“Working in that studio and looking out onto the garden puts me in a really good place every morning and that is beneficial to my work as an artist.”
Amber’s passion for art stems from her childhood when she would watch her parents sketch in their free time and took private painting classes throughout primary school alongside her sister.
“I was always going to be an artist,” Amber says. “It was never a doubt or a question for me, so I was lucky to have known from a very young age what I wanted to do.”
Amber studied a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art (drawing) at the University of Ballarat in the mid 90s, and has more recently completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at RMIT University in Melbourne.
“I have been doing art all my life and doing it full-time for the past 10 or so years,” says Amber.
Amber’s art uses a variety of techniques that include employing both hands and multiple brushes simultaneously to create paintings loaded with gestural marks.
“My paintings are non-objective, so they are a form of gestural abstraction,” Amber says. “I am not painting from any reference; it is all coming from emotion and is emotionally driven.”
As a triplet, Amber says she has experienced life as a “we” rather than an “I”, which has formed her ongoing interest in human collective experiences and provides a starting point for her to reflect on life’s complexity.
“Sometimes when you have such a close bond with siblings you’re seen as one,” says Amber. “Especially with my sister because she looks the same as me; our other sibling is a boy.”
After creating a studio space for Amber, the couple built another shed in the yard for James’ tools and manicured the garden.
“The garden is a real asset,” Amber says. “It was already established, but we have done a bit more work to manicure it with borders and added a stone walkway.”
The garden also presents eight deciduous trees that transform the yard across the seasons.
“In summer there is this large tree that canopies the whole yard as it touches the silver birch on the other side and if you look out to the back yard it is like a green roof reaching across the grass.”
The yard can be enjoyed from large kitchen windows and flows beautifully with the back lounge when the French doors are open.
Amber and James enjoy spending summer evenings in this lounge space, but prefer to snuggle up in the library during the colder months.
“It is a little lounge with bookcases and a fireplace and we spend so much time in there just reading and having the fire going,” Amber says.
The home has perfectly accommodated the couple, their dogs Charlie and Lu-eeze, and their cats Wilma, Isobel and Ingrid, while providing them with plenty of space to entertain friends and family.
“There is a really special feeling to the layout of this home,” Amber says. “It is a real home and it is a great size on a good block.”
Even though they will miss the home and the Malvern area, the family has decided it is time for a change and hope a new family will be able to come and love the property.
The sale is being handled by Andrew Downing and Chris Xu of Ray White Adelaide CBD.