– The whole story behind our build…in a nutshell –

Designing & owner building our New England / French Country inspired house is E8C’s passion project, some 2 years in the making! My hubby & I have always wanted to build, for as long as I can remember – we started talking about it very early on when we were still dating. True story! When we lived in the UK (where we met) we would religiously watch Grand Designs, being inspired every week to push forward with our dreams to build in Australia! Finally in 2006 after nearly 5 amazing years living & working in London, we packed up our lives once again, but together for the first time and farewelled our beloved proximity to Europe.

More of life’s magic followed, we bought a small townhouse at first to get our feet back on the ground, we got engaged & married the following year, then came the arrival of our beautiful daughter! We were getting itchy feet again and yearning for space and a more country way of life for our family, so we started once again talking about our dream to build in 2013. At the time it felt as though everything just fell into place but we knew that we’d been on our own journey to get there at the same time, we’d been mooting different locations to build and live in Australia ever since we returned to her shores, yet we’d not really been able to nail any particular spot down, let alone find the right piece of land. I missed the changing architectural landscape we were so used to abroad and longed to live somewhere more enveloping and real, where one can sense the feeling of community. Oh and I missed the seasons, especially the cooler weather. Yes, I missed the cold, London had an everlasting effect on me!

Anyway, one day we ventured up to the scenic region of Tamborine Mountain (an alpine like village in the mountains of south east Qld) to view a stunning old Queenslander that was up for sale, on a complete whim I might add! It was out of our price range and I must admit I wanted to look more to see the neighbourhood and imagine what it might be like to live in a house with such character and charm. I was on a journey to bring more of both into my life and this little afternoon was clearly all part of the universe’s plan. You see, we loved the house but saw the limitations at the same, then we noticed a piece of land opposite and got to to thinking about bringing up a beautiful old queenslander such as what we’d just seen and doing her up. The street was incredible, dotted with character homes and lined with the most amazing Jacaranda trees…I was in heaven and wanted to believe there was some way for us to live in such a beautiful place. We decided to drive around the neighbouring streets to have a little look, we got to the end of the road, we turned the corner and stumbled across another piece of land that was completely overgrown on the face of it, (you couldn’t see in past the little secret garden style front) and we didn’t even see the For Sale sign at first, it was so hidden! But when we did, we jumped out of the car, determined to find out what lay inside. Climbing our way through, we discovered an old overgrown garden that was actually attached to the house next door. On another whim we called the number on the real estate sign and by miracle the agent came to meet us within half an hour.

We found out the land had always been sub-divided but was now being sold to finalise an estate. There was lots of work every which way we looked, but the advantages were many and there was even an existing shed on the property which would aid us in the process of building. We loved the charm of the location, the surrounding landscape was so pretty, the community friendly with wonderful schooling options, we took it as a sign and pressed forward with plans to purchase. They say in romance, when you know you know…I guess we can say the same about buying a piece of land!

I styled up our townhouse and we put it on the market within a week…then we put our first offer forward on the land. Our selling agent was amazed, after just 2 open homes and after less than 14 days on the market, we had received 5 offers. He said the immaculate presentation of our home had been the driving force behind our great result. We were delighted and within days our final offer on the land had been accepted too! For us, it was all just meant to be and it felt so good.

We moved into a rental cottage nearby shortly afterwards and began the process of starting to plan our build. Our first plan did not quite go to plan so 6 months in, we changed course and decided to start from scratch, designing our new house ourselves (I have a very handy hubby, a formally trained Engineer who can turn his hand to many things) so that we would hold all the reigns every step of the way.

For us, it is essential that the house fits into the surrounding neighbourhood…that it blends into the landscape. We want character and charm and a house that doesn’t look ‘brand new’ if you know what I mean. My personal design philosophy is that modern trends (although fun at the time) fade quickly…but timeless, classic design stands the test of time and lucky for us, this style of house is the perfect fit for our little plot!

Inspired by a love of New England & Cape Cod style architecture, we set about designing a house with a high pitched roof-line, a classic facade with a loft-style second level as a master wing that wouldn’t dominate, open plan in layout but with a central heart to the home, maximising the north-east aspect & light entering the home, indoor/outdoor in feel with verandah & pergola areas, a main statement entrance & porch providing a classical street appeal and a separate carport which still felt attached and just as handsome. Some of the main features that have always been part of our plan for this house are; roof-lines, timber windows/doors, stone clad chimney & fireplace in the living zone along with a classic bay window facing the east, a kitchen with a walk-in pantry & island bench, statement front door surround side lites {must have room for a good solid door knob & classic knocker!} and an English country garden to tie the whole package together. Designing our house was a massive undertaking to say the least but so far we are so happy with the final result, the layout and style is exactly what we were hoping for and I really believe it will be a most beautiful house to live in. Sign up to my blog to follow the journey of designing & building our dream home.

treed in 3

– This was the sight we first laid eyes on when driving past… you can see why it was a bit of a secret garden –