Renewed Kantara House has plenty to sing about
IT HAS been quite a journey for Avoca's Cherie and Karina Reid, rebuilding their lives at the same time as a once elegant wedding venue.
But four years on, Kantara House is not only reclaiming the title as one of "the places" on the Central Coast to be married, but Cherie and Karina are about to host their first non-wedding-related event - Opera in the Chapel on May 5.
Karina said when they bought Kantara House, just a year after her father Ashely died suddenly from an aggressive cancer, they had no idea of the feat that lay ahead of them.
"We tried to honour the original look of the grounds and the house as much as we could, but it was like starting from scratch, it was so rundown and dilapidated," Karina said.
"We had a full-time horticulturist working every day for almost two years clearing the grounds."
As well as rebuilding, they had the award-winning Charlotte Chapel designed and constructed by a master builder, calling joiner Ian Graham out of retirement to create the ornate timber finishes including the pews and alter table.
Karina said many readers would remember being married in or attending weddings at the elegant Kantara House which, in its heyday in the 1960s-'80s, boasted award-winning gardens and a rotunda for ceremonies.
Today, the children and grandchildren of those couples are returning to be married at Charlotte Chapel.
But Karina and Cherie are also keen for the venue to be used for other functions, and hope the opera, this year featuring soprano Claire Chehade-James with Glenn Amer on piano, and including a glass of bubbles and canapés for guests on arrival, will become an annual event.
"During the building process, we found ourselves in Gloucester (on the mid-north coast) and attended an opera in a church there," Karina explained.
"It was amazing, and the thing that really stuck with us was how the acoustics of the church really lent itself to the performers."
Karina said she was excited to hear live music in their chapel.
"It will sound amazing; the acoustics in there are so good."
She is also keen to hear the reminiscences of people who come to hear the music, and their memories of Kantara House.
Opera in the Chapel is from 3-5pm on Saturday, May 5, and costs $60 per person. Phone 43691528 to book.
Kantara House is at 431 Avoca Dr, Green Point, and is also offering a special Mother's Day luncheon on Sunday, May 13, featuring soloist Dexter Moore, a two-course lunch, bubbles on arrival and a gift for mum. For more details go to www.kantarahouse.net.au.