With just one glance out of the living room window, every day feels like a holiday for Annette Fraser.
Perched high upon a hill overlooking the Noosa Heads on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Fraser’s home has a view that stretches across a canopy of rainforest out to the headlands and ocean beyond.
A change was exactly what Fraser, her husband Paul Kostomin and their sons Ethan, now 18, and Marlon, 12, were looking for when they moved to Noosa from Auckland five years ago.
“Paul wanted to return to Australia where he is from, and we wanted a more laidback lifestyle for the boys,” Fraser says. “Noosa seemed like the perfect place.”
It wasn’t a random choice. Fraser has long had an association with Noosa, having holidayed there as a child. Her parents still own a home in the area and family visit often.
Over the years, Fraser has seen Noosa transform from a sleepy little surfing town into the chic resort it is today. “It offers us the best of both worlds,” she says. “During the summer it is busy with visitors, which offers an exciting vibe. In the off-season it is much quieter, but the weather is still almost perfect, so we can still get out and enjoy it.”
The vibrant summer season is also good for business at the couple’s designer homeware store, Askew. Having set up the business 23 years ago in Auckland’s Ponsonby, the flagship store is still there, while the couple runs the Noosa store. Located near the main shopping strip on Hastings Street, Askew is filled with decorative objects, clothes and footwear that the couple source from around the world.
“Up on the hill it’s very peaceful and we can escape from everything.”
As the owners of a designer homeware company it must be hard to resist the temptation to bring work home. But the pair have decorated their house with restraint, and in the knowledge that with two busy boys and all their mates, it doesn’t make sense to have a home that looks like an art gallery. That said, Fraser does admit to having a weakness for Bitossi ceramics, Jonathan Adler designs, Murano glass, Fornasetti plates, shoes and bags.
“If it were just me, I’d shift things in and out all the time and there would be lots of lovely little objects everywhere,” she says. “But it has to be a comfortable home for everyone. It’s pretty easygoing.”
In fact, the home’s easy living design coupled with the stunning views and quiet location are what attracted the couple in the first place.
“When we arrived on the Sunshine Coast we tried living in a home by the beach but it wasn’t ideal,” says Fraser. “We got a lot of wind and sea-salt spray, and it was busy. Up on the hill it’s very peaceful and we can escape from everything.”
With four bedrooms and a home office there is plenty of space to accommodate everyone. Ethan even has his own self-contained living area downstairs, which is the perfect hangout for university friends.
Fraser says the home hasn’t been altered much structurally. The couple has, however, stamped their style on it by playing around with wall colours and fittings.
“We’ve painted the original beige and green exterior in Resene Licorice black,” Fraser says. “The wall near the pool was painted purple to inject a bit of colour.”
Colour is a popular theme throughout the home. To contrast with neutral walls, Fraser chose bright red and teal blue furnishings for the living room. Shots of green, purple and yellow have also been dotted around to bring a sense of warmth and vitality.
Artworks, especially those by Aboriginal and New Zealand artists, line the walls and many of the new light fittings, including the laser-cut plywood Suck UK bulbs hanging were sourced from
Outside, life revolves around the pool. “It’s a wonderful entertaining space and we love having people over for dinner or a barbecue,” Fraser says. “In summer we live out there.”
Huge sun umbrellas ensure there is enough shade to keep the heat off and a decadent outdoor lounge suite provides the perfect poolside spot in which to sit and enjoy cocktails or lie and read a book. Milo and Coco, the family’s two cats can often be found snuggled up there.
When they’re not busy working, Kostomin and Ethan make the most of the surf at Noosa Beach while Fraser enjoys visiting the many markets scattered around Sunshine Coast’s hinterland. “We also go bike riding in the weekends and Noosa National Park is an amazing natural asset to the area,” Fraser says. “We have trekked most of the surrounding mountains and love going to the movies and local restaurants. We visit Brisbane when we need a city fix. There’s plenty to do.”
Living like this, it sounds as if the family has created the perfect holiday-at-home lifestyle.