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The Journey of building our forever home

The Journey of building our forever home

Our Chicken Penthouse

When my husband and I were little we both grew up on land and had some chickens.  I absolutely loved checking the eggs everyday and because we had a rooster also seeing the hens get clucky and have babies - it was just the best and some of my most fondest childhood memories.

For the past couple of years we both dreamed of having a sweet little chicken house with a few hens. We finally decided just to go for it and couldn't be happier!  Choosing a chicken coop that would match the exterior and feel of our home was important as from the house we look straight into the backyard - no daggy tin shed like I used to have as a child would do unfortunately!

We ended up purchasing the Penthouse from Backyard Chickens.  It's delivered in boxes and all the pieces are numbered so hubby and I spent quite a few weeks painting it all in classic black and white for a classic Hampton style vibe. As we also have two little doggies who would probably think these hens are dinner so hubby also built a matching fence run around the coop with a gate to keep them safe.

The Penthouse from Backyard Chickens - grass is very yellow due to winter  :)

Initially we planned just to get a couple of Isa Browns from a local market but we decided to get four Hy line Browns from Talking Hens. This bread is a great egg layer ( up to 360 eggs per year) and are some of the friendliest and sweet chicken breeds.

We drove out to Red Hill and picked up our girls who we named Matilda, Amelia, Coco and Annabelle. They each have a different coloured ring on their leg so we know who they are.  We can pick them up and they are so gorgeous!  Within 2 weeks all girls have been laying an egg each! I can't even begin to tell you what a difference it makes having fresh farm eggs. I've always bought free range eggs from the supermarket but our eggs have been amazing  - bright orange and so fresh!

Amelia, Matilda and Coco - not sure where Annabelle was when this pic was taken! These feeders from Dine a Chook are just the best - so easy to use, no mess and the girls love them!

Here are some links on where we purchased everything

The Penthouse   https://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au

Chickens https://talkinghens.com.au

Feeders https://www.dineachook.com.au

Feed https://talkinghens.com.au/about-our-feed/

Photography  www.louisetreacyphotography.com.au

Hampton Modern Country | House of the week

After many requests our last home tour of the week features my own home!  A mix of Hampton and Modern Country style its a home that has my heart. A beautiful family home featuring high ceilings, loads of light and a stunning exterior its definitely our forever home

Who lives here 

Luke ( Plumbing Manager), Louise ( Photographer - Owner of Louise Treacy Photography) and boys Lachlan (16), Cooper (14) and Jack (11).  Fur babies include two King Charles Cavaliers Millie and Charlie, and cats Leo and Maggie. 

Style of home and location 
Hamptons Modern Country - located North East of Melbourne on half an acre 

Timeline of build 

We purchased our land early 2013. Plans were designed and then building started in December of 2013. By October 2014 the house was finished and we enjoyed moving in.

Our gorgeous block of land with views to the city
Final plans  - it was seriously love at first sight
Back elevation

Tell us a little about your build journey 

We actually used to live just a few blocks away from the land and I would always walk around the neighbourhood admiring the gorgeous big houses on the hill. This particular block was vacant and I used to think 'Wow I would love to build our dream house here"  One day a for sale sign came up on the land but by the time I rang the real estate agents it had already been sold.  Fate has a funny way of working though as a few months later a 'for sale by owner' board was erected - I rang the owner and made him an offer.  He actually declined and so I thought that was that.  Four months later the block was still for sale so I made him an offer again ( a lower price then previously) and he agreed!  It was just meant to be ours!

I started to put together the design of our home using magazines and pinterest.  Hampton style back then really wasn't mainstream so I knew we would have to design and use a custom builder to get the look we were after.  We worked with a fabulous architect  - I pretty much showed him everything I loved and he  came back with the design. We hardly made any changes to it at all he was that good!

We then signed up with a custom builder who had a reputation of doing a really solid well built build.  We started building in December 2013 and it was ready to move in by October 2014.

Did you enjoy the process of building and designing your home? Any hiccups along the way or things you would do differently?

Yes and no to be honest. I loved the designing aspect - it was probably my most favourite part. Choosing every element and then watching it come to life. Building as many people will tell you can be stressful - its a long process with many decisions required.

Luke being a plumber meant he was in charge of all the plumbing, drainage, roofing etc - it was a huge undertaking but gave us a little more control on our build being on site alot of the time. Working with our builders was also a very strange relationship - all I can say it that they did a great job but their customer service wasn't a high point and unfortunately I will never mention their name or recommend them. 

The only thing I probably would have done differently is make some areas a little larger such as our deck and rumpus room. On paper the spaces look large but once built they look different  - just a few extra square metres would have made all the difference.

Lounge area before
And after

Master bedroom

Favourite room in your home?

Hands down it would have to be my kitchen.  Designing this space was a labour of love and I have to say I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Its definitely the hub of our home and its a pleasure to cook in.  We also have a huge butlers pantry with extra sink, coffee area and wall to wall pantry space

Kitchen before - featuring 10 feet ceilings, shaker style cabinetry, ceaserstone benches and marble splash back

A room you couldn't live without?

Would have to be my amazing photography studio. Its a dream come true to have my own dedicated space.  It features its own entrance and driveway and is a huge beautiful room with 10 feet ceilings and the most amazing natural light.  It also has a full bathroom and access to my office so my work and home space is separated. I specialise in newborn, baby and family photography  - you can see more of my studio and work over at          Louise Treacy Photography 

Any further plans or areas you still need to complete?

Landscaping and lots of it still to go!  Considering that we started with a bare block of land we have come along way.  We still need to finish our second driveway, a huge retaining wall running along the second level and some landscaping around the pergola area. I still have plans to keep chickens which hopefully be completed by Spring time along with some veggie gardens too. We are on half an acre so its a rather big and expensive job!

Winter time - Our backyard is split into two levels - a work in progress at this stage!

Pergola area off garage - gravel needs to be put down and a retaining/ seating area with screens to be built.  Our ornamental grape vines were planted this year so hoping over the next 5 years or so this will cover it.

Hubbies huge modern country garage was built last year - my only requirements were that I designed the facade and the colour scheme so it matched the house!  Driveway and paths still to be finished plus two large embankments that need massive retaining walls and garden beds

Garden looking very wintry this month  - all of our neighbours ugly fence screens have now been painted thanks to my dad!

Is this your forever home?

Well you can never say never but I will say its definitely our forever home for the foreseeable future.  Being a lover of renovating and interiors hubby and I do tend to get itchy feet so we may look at flipping a older home in the future. We have our eye on older style homes in Ballarat  - I would love to bring one back to life!  Fate had a way to bring this home to us so you never know what will eventuate  - will just have to trust in the universe x


Instagram accounts:  @ourhamptonstyleforeverhome

            Photography  Louise Treacy Photography 

            Colours used on our Exterior   HERE

            Any further questions on our home please contact Louise at ltreacyphotography@bigpond.com 

Hamptons Queenslander | House of the week tour

This weeks home tour is a fresh and bright Hampton's Queenslander.  Featuring my fav colour combination of classic black and white its a great example of a beautiful family home.

Who lives here 

Elisha Manning - Marketing, Luke Manning - Director of Business Development, Lachlan - 7, Bailey 5, Isla 2 and one more on the way (due July). No pets as yet. 

Style of home and location 

Hamptons Queenslander - a combination of the style of a Hamptons beach house with the relaxed charm of Australia's own Queenslander home. Located in Camp Hill, Brisbane. 

Timeline of build 

We purchased the home in October 2016 and it settled just before Christmas 2016. The next few months were spent designing, seeking council approvals, sourcing a builder, etc (as with many builds this process took longer than we had initially hoped). We kicked off building in June 2017 and the build took approx 5 months to complete - we moved in a week before Christmas. 

Tell us a little about your renovation journey?

We had been hunting for the perfect home to purchase or renovate for a few months when we came across a small 2 bed, 1 bath Queenslander in our preferred suburb. We had to move fast (so fast that I didn't even get a chance to see it in person before we signed the contract). Whilst small in size it was in a great location and was on a decent sized block which ticked a lot of boxes for us.

Our brief to our designer, Chris Brumby of Big House Little House was to achieve an open-plan classic take on the Queenslander. The home takes cues from the classic style of the Hamptons but has a strong focus on modern, tropical Queenslander living with a strong connection between indoors and outdoors. With 3 children and 1 one on the way it was important for us to design the home with our living on the lower ground to maximise the connection to our backyard. You will often find us on weekends gathered on the patio or by the pool sharing a meal or drinks with family and friends. We loved the relaxed style of living that the house provides.

What do you love about the Hampton's style and where did you find your inspiration for your beautiful home?

I love the timelessness and effortless elegance of the Hampton's style. The neutral colour palette, intricate details and charm of a weatherboard home were all characteristics that attracted us to the Hampton's style. Inspiration was sourced through images on pinterest and instagram - I have hundreds of images saved of homes and rooms that I loved that we used to draw inspiration from to create our dream home. 

Did you enjoy the process of building and designing your home? Any hiccups along the way or things you would do differently?

Renovating (or building in general for that matter) is a rollercoaster of emotions and a mix of joy and stress! Being a creative person with a passion for interior design I revelled in the design phase and in building out the detail of our home. During the renovation, we were on site every single day to oversee the build and ensure the brief was carried out. 

Camp Hill is appropriately named due to the steep landscape and rocky ground - this presented some challenges and additional cost through escalation and retaining and was a large component of our budget. Whilst there were challenges and minor changes that had to be made along the way we didn't encounter any major renovation issues. In saying that, it was still a busy and stressful time and we are certainly enjoying having the majority of the work behind us and to be enjoying our new home.

Favourite room in your home?

Thats a tough one as there are so many spaces to love  - If I had to pick just one room I would say our kitchen. It is everything I had envisaged and more. The crisp, white shaker cabinetry (by Corona Cabinets) provides a classic feel. 

To add some strength to the overall design we choose stone marble bench tops featuring a large vein to break up the whiteness of the space. The butlers pantry comes in handy when entertaining and is used regularly on a daily basis for storing glassware, making tea & coffee and keeping appliances out of sight! 

Any further plans scheduled for the future or areas still to complete?

As with any renovation and having only been in the house for a few months there are still a few projects to complete. These include a media room, kids play room, finishing off the children bedrooms and putting in a putting green down one side of the house (for my golf enthusiast husband). 

Is this your forever home or do you have plans for the future?

This home is our forever home (at least for the foreseeable future). We designed it to meet the needs of our growing and evolving family. Whilst the blueprint of the house isn't likely to change, I look forward to watching the house evolve with our family over the years. 

I can't resist mixing things up and taking on new projects - so the house is always changing and there is always something on the go!


Instagram accounts: 
@Ourlittleabode - our personal account on our renovation journey plus photography
@bighouselittlehouse - our building designer and photography