It’s the fourth house Julie and her family have built in six years, but this time they’re staying put.
After building three houses, Julie and her husband Jeremy are loving their forever home on a small block in Brisbane.
“I THINK OUR BLOCK OF LAND WAS waiting for us. We’d already built three houses and were looking for the right piece of land to construct the next one. This vacant lot was flat, which was a godsend after the steep street we’d been living on, but was under contract when we found it. Luckily for us, the contract fell through. Despite the block being just 387m2 with a 9.5m frontage, we seized the opportunity to own land in a suburb we loved. And being the first to build on the block was really appealing – nothing was torn down to create our dream home.
We received design and development approval three months after buying the land and the build happened over nine months. We did the ‘top and tail’ work ourselves – clearing the block prior to building and then landscaping and planting at the end.
Our past three houses were very modern with lots of white and hard surfaces – we were very focused on resale. But for this house we took a different approach; we wanted it to have personality and to really feel like home. Due to the size, we didn’t have much flexibility around the floor plan, so we paid a lot more attention to the interior to ensure we got the right feel. While we were building, friends would ask us about its style and we’d describe it as Queenslander meets Hamptons with a French twist! It’s certainly got elements of all those styles.
One of our goals was making sure the house could grow with us. So upstairs there’s a living room next to our son’s bedroom, which will be perfect when he’s a teenager and wants his own personal space.
When we sold our last house, the new owners bought most of our furniture. So we were able to start our interiors from an almost-clean slate. I wanted something that felt homely and cosy, but liveable – not a showpiece. When building a house you have the benefit of time, so I started a pinboard almost immediately, seeking out styles I liked and over time finding more affordable versions, mostly from chain stores. I am a big bargain hunter and people are surprised when I tell them our whole house was furnished for $15,000!
I’ve become quite good at working out where to spend money to get the maximum bang for my buck. In this house, the lights in the kitchen, the wallpaper and the floor tiles in the main bathroom are examples where we spent a bit more to create an impact. We wanted to achieve a hotel feel for the main bathroom – luxurious as well as inviting and family friendly.
Black and white The galley kitchen’s two-pack cabinetry is topped with an Essastone benchtop in Verona Mist. A complete mix of cushions in similar tones adds so much more personality.