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The Journey of building our forever home in Melbourne, Victoria

The Journey of building our forever home in Melbourne, Victoria

Week 1 - Dream House



It feels very surreal but our house has finally started!

We have gone from a freshly mowed block of land
To temporary fencing, power and water on and the start of the site cut



Site cut almost finished - this photo doesn't do it justice as to how big it is - our house sits on around 33 metres lengthwise with driveways on either side
The last few days they have started on the sub floor for the house - the house will be built on brick piers - nice and solid and very well built.  Now that we have hit the Christmas holidays things won't start moving again until mid January -  hopefully over the next few months lots of progress will be made.  By our contract our house should be completed October/November next year - so exciting watching our dream home go up!




About to start

Finally! Contracts have been signed and things start tomorrow - water will be connected, site will be cut and temporary fencing up.  We then just need to wait for the building permit to come through and we are good to go.  Builders are hoping to at least make a start on all the footings prior to Christmas

Late last week the surveyor pegged out the block - hubby and I were so excited just to see some timber posts in the ground  - imagine what we will be like when the house goes up! Now that it is all pegged out it gives us a good idea how it will sit on the block - we will still have a massive backyard that's for sure. Our block has a 38.5 metre frontage and 50 metre depth so the house looks huge as it sits across it








Almost there!

Looks like our contracts will finally be signed and things started in the next 2 weeks -finally!  Seems to have taken forever. We hope to have the site at least cut before Christmas and perhaps a start on the footings depending on whether the building permit is granted in time.  I haven't been too stressed as both Luke and I have been so busy with work and we now know that the house will be full steam ahead once all the builders and sub contractors are back from their holiday break come January 2014. The house should be finished by November 2014.  Hopefully in the next few weeks I will have some rather unexciting images of diggers and dirt  :)

With my photography business in overdrive at the moment I haven't had much time to gather inspiration for the house but did come across this lovely serene bedroom in this months Home Beautiful Magazine.  Just love the soft grey walls with contrast trims in white and the beautiful wallpaper.  I really miss having a big bedroom to retreat too - our rental bedroom is so tiny and so dark!



We have a beautiful bay window with a window bench seat in our plans.  All window furnishings on the front of the house will be white plantation shutters


                 An idea of these beautiful lights on each side of our bed or on the look out for                         some gorgeous new bedside table lamps



Land of Limbo

This building process is so frustrating and we still are yet to begin.  Being late October I would have thought things would have at least started but yet again we are stuck in limbo land

Building a custom home it seems like there is always so much research and running around to do.  Months ago we chose our kitchen appliances and items like our bathroom selections but will now have to go over everything again.  I am all for trying to source a similar product or option to get the same look but this all takes so much time -  feels like this house will never start at this point. This coming week we will sit down with both builders and try to work things out and choose which company we will work with

Feeling rather stressed we just came back from a beautiful few days in Daylesford ( we should have been on our 10 day road trip with our caravan until my husbands car transmission broke halfway through - but that's a another long and expensive story!) Trying to make the most of it I hired the most wonderful cottage called The Garden House. I have stayed in Daylesford many times and really love the area - its so beautiful and relaxing.  This house was just what we all needed - its was just gorgeous with stunning gardens, beautiful rooms and just a lovely feel that made you want to run away and live a simple life in the country! Even the boys kept saying how much it felt like home - poor babies are missing having a place to call our own too.

After staying here we also decided on a few changes - we have decided to use real floorboards as opposed to engineered ( feels so much nicer to walk on), have changed our gas fireplace to a wood one - nothing beats the cosy feeling of a wood fire, and we were really inspired by the beautiful garden. More and more this house is becoming more modern country with classic details - its just where our heart lies - lets just hope it starts to eventuate soon!

Here are a few beautiful images













Good things are worth waiting for

" Good things are worth waiting for" as the saying goes and definitely seems to apply to our new house build lately.  We now own the block from the funds of our previous home, have full planning approval and our full set of working drawings but not much else is happening. The plans are currently sitting with our builder and are being quoted so we hope to have some sort of news or a starting date in the next few weeks.  Its all been rather drawn out and a little frustrating but I am sure things will hopefully start moving and progressing again soon

One thing I have been working on is choosing the colour and finishes for the exterior.  Working with a colour consultant has been brilliant as our house has quite a few elements. I love seeing this part coming together  - it really brings forward all the ideas that I have had and you can start to see the style and look of the house - fingers crossed its going to look beautiful

So far we have chosen :


Colourbond Shale Grey for Roof and Gutters

Surfmist for Facia, Verandah Posts, weatherboard detailing around windows  and garage door. All windows will be painted white so they stand out.  Window dressings will be white plantation shutters

Black Cavier for Front door and Studio entrance

Cashmere for Render - this is choice number 1 but we are still deciding on whether it will be too light as once in the sun it can be up to 3-4 shades lighter

Mangaweka for Render - possible choice number 2

Our house also has 2 retaining walls along each side of driveways ( we have 2 drives) and veranda base brick work for a solid feel so considering adding some beautiful sandstone  - I think this will add texture and will tie in well



My inspiration for the colour scheme

These are the lights I have chosen for the front elevation

We will source similar gates in white for our second drive - these gates are set back just past the studio entrance and we will have lillydale topping side drive all the way to the back of the block where hubby's second garage will be


Possible design idea for hubby's second garage - I still want it to look part of the house as opposed to some ugly tin shed.  This will house our caravan and god knows what else boys place in sheds. Apparently this garage gets bigger and bigger everytime we discuss it - what is it with men and their sheds!



We finally have Estate Approval!


After many months back and forth and changes galore and not to mention the extra expense we finally have estate planning approval of our house plans. Its a big relief and means we now can get our full working drawings and start building.

 Its perfect timing actually as we just moved over the weekend into our rental house  (which was completely exhausting to say the least) and our previous home is scheduled for settlement on Friday.We are renting a slightly smaller home on a tiny block in the same area but it has a great feel about it and we are loving downsizing for the moment! We were so happy once we moved in we did think for a moment of taking a break, having a holiday and start building next year!  Looks like at this stage we will start in October ( I am thinking we could squeeze in a quick holiday as I serioulsy need it!)  - very exciting and its hard to believe we are almost ready

A few images from our little rental  :)






Kitchen Design & Plan Updates

 Well after I mentioned that things were moving ever so slowly in the last few days things have really picked up which has been fantastic. I picked up preliminary plans from the architect this morning - I was quite happy to finally have them in my hot little hands! We now need to go through everything and make any required changes to the design, lighting plan etc before it moves on to the structural engineer. Its so lovely to see all my ideas on paper instead of my head and both hubby and I feel rather relieved that things could be starting soon

The kitchen design in this house was always a really important factor - it really is the hub of most homes so I wanted it to have that beautiful wow factor. Although I am usually such a timeless girl with colours etc I am really leaning on making the island bench either black or a dark timber colour like these images below - I just think it gives a wonderful contrast. 

This is an absolute favourite and is my inspiration for our kitchen in this home. Back cabinetry, concealed rangehood and marble splashback will be similar but bench will be more of an island with seating. Also I adore these lights! Such a beautiful space






Normally I would go all white but really thinking this could be an option. I also found some amazing bar stools yesterday that would look perfect with a dark island bench - pity I already spent a small fortune on the ones we already have from Town & Country Style last year!

I have also changed my mind regarding our oven choice ( thinking this "changing my mind" business will happen alot during this build!) I did originally choose a beautiful Ilve oven in bright white but I think the stainless steel option will be a better choice for the colour scheme I have in mind

Starting to get very excited seeing it all come together! The next month will be super busy organising the final details and contracts. Oh and did I mention we have only 2 short weeks until moving?? Hmmm better start packing!!

All images can be found on my Pinterest Board here 






Slowly, Slowly, Slowly

Our house plans seem to have come to a rather annoying standstill  - still waiting on the preliminary working drawings so we can then submit them to the designer for estate approval. We also have to get a 6 star energy rating and structural engineering report - money is just flying out the window at this planning stage with all these extra paperwork requirements you need when building a custom home!

 With only 3 short weeks until we move and 4 until our house settles we were really hoping we might be closer to making a start. Hoping we might see something on paper this week but by my calculations it could still be a good 3-4 months before anything happens - fingers crossed I am wrong!

I have starting packing - but very slowly with a box here and there - it just feels very overwhelming so I tend to ignore it which is terrible. Perhaps I will find the stamina and get stuck into it a week before - I tend to work better under pressure so I think that's what will happen! The home we have now is around 40 squares with  4 bedrooms, study and 3 large living areas whereas our rental while we build is only 3 bedrooms, study and 2 much smaller living areas ( one which will be my photography studio) plus the backyard is the size of a courtyard - will be an interesting move trying to fit everything in!

Next week I catch up with our colour consultant to choose the final colours for the house. I was leaning towards a grey and white house but now I am thinking of something in beautiful soft tones like this image below but perhaps something with a little more contrast - hoping to have a better idea next week


Our house will be similar with weatherboard detailing, rendered facade and thick square posts on verandah











The start of the many many boxes I wil have to pack - these would you believe are just my house magazines! ( and I threw so many out!lol)

Bathroom Fixtures & Fittings

We spent quite a few hours last Friday at Reeces trying to choose our bathroom tapware and fixtures.  We had to bring along the three boys as it school holidays - they were great actually for the entire time and just sat in a corner with their various hand held gadgets ( thank god for those!) We really didn't take too much notice on the actual pricing and just went with what we liked - of course now this means another trip to Reeces today to try and shave off a little and get the budget back on track! The house does have a large ensuite with double vanity and basins, main bathroom with double vanity and freestanding bath, powder room and then another main bathroom in the studio. Not to mention sinks for the kitchen, laundry, butlers pantry and tapware for all three areas too.   Even though hubby is a plumber and receives everything at trade prices bathroom fixtures are super expensive and this still doesn't include the vanities which will have to be custom made and all the shower screens! We did go lux on a gorgeous rainhead shower for our ensuite and a very expensive tap for the kitchen ( after ensuring my builder that no I would never spend that much on a kitchen tap - sorry!!) 

Off the the Home Show tomorrow in Melbourne with hubby ( child free this time) - hopefully we may get a few more ideas
Nicolazzi Kitchen Tap - may also look at the Perrin & Rowe ones too as they seem to be very similar

My inspiration for our ensuite



These are our basins for both ensuite and main bathrooms -  they will sit in the vanity - we choose everything that had a slight curve to lessen the hard lines
Freestanding bath for boys bathroom - looking forward to soaking in this!


Tapware for basins - once again rounded edges but still modern. Going to try and find a cheaper alternative today as these were quite expensive and we need 6 of them

Exterior Colour choices

Part of our planning approval with the design architect  involves stating exactly what colours we are planning to use on the house aswell as a complete landscape plan. They also need to know driveway choice, paths, gates etc I wasn't exactly expecting this so I am a little stuck!  I was thinking that when the time came I would break out a few sample pots when the house is already up and ready for painting and do it that way. Choosing a complete colour scheme at this stage seems rather hard! Hubby and I drove all around looking for some inspiration for roof colours  which I think we have decided on but the rest is a big question mark.  Our house is so long and the paintwork will be such a feature as it has not only render but also weatherboard feature details  so I have decided to hire a colour consultant to get it right. I do know we want the roof in Colourbond Windspray and the rest of the colour scheme in soft tones but with some contrast.   If anyone has found a beautiful image or has any recommendations for a great colour please let me know - any help much appreciated

Right now everything seems to have slowed pace with the house plans with both the planning architect and our architect on holidays for 2 weeks ( how dare they!lol) .  Starting to feel the pressure with only 6 weeks until we move into our rental  - I really wanted to be in a position to get started by September but by the time everything gets approved, working drawings are done, quotes and contracts made let alone the time it will take the council to give us a planning permit I will be surprised if we even start this year! Fingers crossed things start moving again for us soon






Would love a gloosy black front door!

All images can be found on my Pinterest board