Former professional rugby league star Benji Marshall and his wife, media personality Zoe Marshall, recently embarked on their own home renovation on Sydney’s lower north shore, calling upon the team at Stoke Fireplace Studio Sydney to help bring their vision to life.
Their family home was transformed into a contemporary style-haven fit for the comings and goings of family life, without compromising on Zoe’s vision - a modern home with a touch of luxury – designed to live in, but also beautiful.
The original suburban home was very dated, so what started out as a small renovation to replace the flooring, key fixtures and fittings, soon turned into a full-scale demolition of every room.
"IT WAS LIKE AN ALICE IN WONDERLAND, DOWN-THE-RABBIT-HOLE MOMENT! ONCE WE ADDED SOME NEW ITALIAN FLOORING TO ONE ROOM, WE REALISED THERE WAS NO TURNING BACK," - ZOE
Under the guidance and expertise of Interior Designer Evalyn Nicolas from Design Studio 407, they set about selecting two fireplaces for their family room and formal lounge.
"I'D HAD MY EYE ON AN ESCEA FIREPLACE FOR YEARS, SO I WAS EXCITED TO FINALLY INCLUDE THEM IN MY HOME - NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOKED GOOD, BUT I KNEW THERE WERE REALLY EFFICIENT TOO." - ZOE
One thing that particularly drew Zoe and Benji to choosing not one, but two Escea fireplaces for their home was a love of the Escea brand - and the knowledge that the fires are designed and made in New Zealand.
Benji was brought up in Whakatane while Zoe has spent time living and working in Auckland.
“BENJI IS KIWI, AND OUR KIDS ARE HALF KIWI, AND IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE CREATE THOSE CONNECTIONS AROUND THE HOME. AND THE FIREPLACE WAS ANOTHER GREAT WAY WE COULD DO THAT.” - ZOE
Where possible, everything in their home has personal meaning, creating a special place for their family to be.
When embarking on their renovation journey, it was inherent for the Stoke team to understand how this young family liked to live in their home, and how they desired their surroundings to make them feel, to help accomplish their fireplace dreams.
“WE LOVED WORKING WITH JARROD AND THE TEAM AT STOKE SYDNEY. THEY MADE OVERWHELMING DECISIONS EASY, AND BEING ABLE TO VIEW THE OPTIONS IN THEIR STUNNING STUDIO SETTING ALLOWED US TO APPRECIATE ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE.” - BENJI & ZOE
Warmth Meets Luxury
The family’s main living space features the Escea DS1400 Gas Fireplace. The fire’s truly frameless design and Zero Clearance rating allow their home entertainment to blend seamlessly into the custom joinery surround - an investment piece that responded perfectly to their vision, while the central placement of the television above the fireplace lets them enjoy TV and flame-watching in one sweet spot.
A traditional but contemporary family setting is inspired by the Traditional Log fuelbed, deep side shelving, and feature stone hearth, creating a warm contrast of materials and earthy tones.
“WE WAKE UP TO WARMTH AND LOVE THE INSTANT HEAT, DAY AND NIGHT. THE EFFICIENCY OF THE FIREPLACES ARE RIDICULOUS TOO! ALONG WITH THE POWER BILL SAVINGS WE ARE ENJOYING,” - ZOE
In beautiful contrast to the family living area, the formal space welcomes you with the seamless grand porcelain stone fireplace – featuring an authentic Woodland Selection fuelbed. Minimalist luxury was the response to this striking transformation, complementing their home's timeless natural furnishings and textures with its crystal-enriched palette of gentle peaches, creams, and whites.
With high heat output, efficiency, slim-line design, and simplified installation, the Escea DS1150 Gas Fireplace offered an uncompromising solution for Benji & Zoe’s formal living room – the perfect choice for bringing warmth, comfort, and style to their family home that delivers a modern aesthetic throughout – with a touch of luxury. Designed to be lived in comfortably, but also beautifully.