This week we have a special guest blog post from Breanna, who recently reflected on her experience as a wish recipient with Make-A-Wish Australia and the #WishForce.

Following a liver transplant, wish recipient Breanna had her wish to be an event manager granted in 2016. Together, with the tireless support of the #WishForce, Breanna hosted a magical fundraising ball raising money in support of other kids and teens fighting life-threatening illnesses. Hotondo Homes Ballarat were a part of this incredible wish, building and donating the wishing well for her event. Now in Year 10, Breanna came back to Make-A-Wish Australia for her work experience. As part of her experience, she reflected upon her wish and shared her expertise for planning a fundraising event.

How My Wish Came Together

Breanna's Wish
My wish was to style and manage my very own event to help raise funds to support Make-A-Wish Australia. Styling events was something that I loved to do in hospital as I always found myself on Pinterest looking at ideas for my future birthdays and wedding. The idea of being able to style something while also supporting Make-A-Wish and all of the other kids that wanted wishes as great as mine granted was just a dream come true.

Breanna's Wish
Make-A-Wish organised for me to work alongside The Style Co. who showed me how they run events and together we came up with the fairy tale theme. We then picked an element from different fairy tales to showcase at the event. For example, a red rose in a glass case as the table centrepiece inspired by Beauty and the Beast, a mini tree with red apples from Snow White, and there was even a Cinderella carriage photo booth!

Breanna's Dress
Seeing it all come together was amazing. I was so used to looking at the plans, but to see it come together in real life was better than I ever would have imagined, everyone did such an amazing job helping pull my wish together!

Breanna's Wish
I was so amazed by all the donations made by so many different companies! My dress was custom made, I had my makeup and hair professionally done, the foliage, balloons and lollies were donated and the wishing well was custom built and donated, thanks to Hotondo Homes Ballarat!

Breanna's Wish
The event raised an incredible $118,000 for Make-A-Wish Australia and was far more than I ever would have thought. This is all thanks to everybody that came to spend this special night with me. I would just love to say a massive thank you to the Wish Force for making my wish come true better than I ever could have imagined, it was one of the best nights that I have ever had.

Breanna's Wish

Breanna’s Top Five Tips for Planning an Event

1. Choose a theme: Begin by looking for ideas and themes that you would like for your event.
2. Get creative: Once you have finalised your theme start looking at different inspirational ideas that you could incorporate into your chosen theme.
3. The layout: Once you have your theme and inspiration, start to work out how the room or place is going to be orientated and where your decorations and anything else that you may need is going be situated.
4. Sourcing: Now you can start to create and bring all your ideas to life by outsourcing with event suppliers, or making them yourself.
5. Action! You can now decorate your space the way you’ve planned with all of your supplies and decorations.

Wish Effect

Wishes have an incredible and lasting effect on the lives of kids and teens fighting life-threatening illnesses, their families and wider communities. As you can see, the hope and joy of the wish lasts long after the moment itself!

If you’d like to know more about Hotondo Homes’ partnership with Make-A-Wish Australia, visit the Hotondo Homes website today. Alternatively, you can also donate to Make-A-Wish Australia via their website.

With many new home designs including an alfresco area that’s perfect for family meals and entertaining, there’s often space to bring elements of your kitchen outside. Designing an outdoor kitchen will allow you to make the most of the warmer weather and encourage your family and friends to spend more time together outside. We’ve got some great tips to help you design an outdoor kitchen that’s the ideal communal space!

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor kitchen
One of the key elements to an outdoor kitchen is a barbecue so you can cook the majority of your meal outside. When designing your space, ensure you’ve positioned the barbecue away from the doors to the house to avoid smoke and food smells from permeating your adjacent indoor areas, but not so far away that it’s separated from the outdoor dining space. If possible, ensure the barbecue is built in to a bench with storage space underneath or next to it so that you can store all your cooking utensils and cleaning equipment within reach of the cooking area.

Bench Space and Storage

If you have room, installing a bench around your barbecue or next to it will allow you to also do most of your food preparation outside as well. This will allow you to cook with ease, since all the food will be within reach to quickly pop on the barbecue, lessening the need to go back and forth to your kitchen inside to retrieve the food. Having storage underneath means you can have a durable set of outdoor crockery, cutlery, glassware, serving dishes and condiment storage readily accessible to use once the food is ready to be served, cutting down on the amount of things that need to be stored inside your main kitchen.

Comfortable Seating Areas

Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen needs to be accompanied by comfortable outdoor seating, so it’s worth considering whether you’d like to keep it casual with couches, or a more formal table and chair arrangement. Since you’ll be eating meals and enjoying a few beverages outside, it’s often more comfortable for guests to sit at a table with their food, so including a table and chairs or bench seating with a table for meals is often the best option. If space allows, having a small couch for more casual entertaining in a different area of the alfresco means you can enjoy drinks and canapés then move to the table for the main meal.

Additional Luxuries

Outdoor Kitchen
The inclusion of a sink in your outdoor kitchen may not seem like the most obvious luxury, but it’s a convenience that many don’t consider when designing their space. Having an outdoor sink with hot and cold taps will help with the cleaning of dishes as well as barbecue clean up, and perfect for quickly cleaning up any food or drink spillages without having to venture inside for cleaning supplies or access to water. You might also like to include a small bar fridge to store drinks, or a small wine fridge that’s perfect for keeping beverages cool prior to a function without taking up room in your main fridge inside. There’s also the added benefit of having cold drinks readily available if guests drop in unexpectedly.

When it comes to indoor/outdoor living, including a well appointed outdoor kitchen in your new home’s alfresco area is a must-have for entertaining. With a carefully considered layout and some convenient inclusions, you’ll have a space that encourages more family meal time outside during the warmer months as well as the perfect space to entertain friends at a moment’s notice. To see more home design ideas, head to the Hotondo Homes website today.

One of the most common interior paint colours for new homes is white. It works in so many ways throughout the home, and complements every other colour in the spectrum, but finding the perfect shade can be tricky. With so many beautiful shades to choose from it’s easy to spend hours looking at sample colours and paint swatches on your walls to decide which white is the best. We’ve got some helpful tips to explain the difference in white tones and which one is right for your home!

Warm Whites

Not sure how white paint can seem warm? As you look at paint colours, you’ll soon see that some whites have brown, yellow, or even red undertones! These whites range from warm taupes, ivories, some shades of grey, and natural colours with a hint of yellow. Whites in this group will warm your home and create an inviting and soft atmosphere, particularly in rooms that don’t get a lot of sunlight, or rooms that are on the larger side. If you’d like to create a more traditional, country style feel inside your home, these whites will be perfect!

Cool Whites

Some whites have a definite cool feel to them because they have grey, blue or green undertones. These shades are better suited to rooms in your home that receive plenty of sunlight, particularly in the afternoon because the paint colour will feel like it’s counteracting the light to cool the space down. You might like to include these shades of white if your interior décor leans toward a modern feel with lots of accompanying monochrome shades of grey and black to create a truly contemporary colour palette.

White Whites

These are the truest shade of white and don’t have any undertones that change the whiteness of the colour. Pure whites can feel sterile or uninviting, so they are best used sparingly to avoid an atmosphere that feels cold and makes the home seem unliveable. These white whites are suited to smaller, utilitarian spaces like laundries, smaller bathrooms or powder rooms where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic or time spent in the space.

Pairing White with Colours

The best thing about using white as a feature of your colour palette is that it goes so well with almost every other colour! For a coastal feel you might like to use a cool white with touches of blue, sea green, or turquoise to mimic that calm, beachy feel. Or for a country style, warm whites with lots of natural wood textural elements mixed in will make your open-plan areas welcoming and homely. The possibilities are endless!

Once you’ve decided to go with warm whites or cool whites, the best way to choose the perfect shade of white is to choose three or four shades and paint some swatches on the wall. View the swatches at different times of the day so you can see how the light plays off the white paint to see if the colour changes dramatically. You should also see how your lighting system changes the tone of the whites, particularly at night when there’s no natural light coming in. Once you’ve found a white that looks great throughout the day and night without too much tonal change, get painting! You’ll have a beautiful space that you can complement with accompanying furniture and accessories to make a welcoming home interior your family will love.

For more home design and interior décor ideas, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

With an emphasis on family and space in new homes being built, open-plan living has become a standard feature when it comes to designing a new home. While the term “open-plan” brings to mind large, cavernous spaces that need to be filled with furniture, for most homes this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, these spaces are designed to be functional and suit all aspects of family life, while still creating an atmosphere of comfort and style. It can feel daunting to have to decorate one large space that functions as three separate areas, but we have some tips to help you create the perfect open-plan space for your home.

Identify the Zones


Interior Styling


Indoor/Outdoor Living


By using these clever tips, your open-plan space will feel welcoming, warm, and spacious, and will suit you and your family’s lifestyle perfectly. For more open-plan living design inspiration, visit the Hotondo Homes website today and take a look at our large range of designs.

Last year, the National Bank of Australia revealed that first home buyers now account for almost 40% of buyers in new housing markets and approximately 33% in established markets. Foreign buyers are declining, so now is the perfect time for Australians to get their foot in the door of the property market.

Hotondo Homes is glad to see a rise in first home buyers over recent months after what has been one of the most challenging conditions to buy or build a new home.

“When you think of the Australian dream, you think of home ownership. We’ve seen it get tougher and tougher for people to make that dream come true,” Hotondo Homes Managing Director Michael Renwick says. “It’s great to see more and more first home buyers coming back into the market. Building your first home is such an exciting experience and we love being a part of that journey.”
First Home Buyer

The Hotondo Homes Forever Retreat Range has been designed specifically for first home buyers. The range features over eight architecturally-designed homes that suit a number of block sizes. These homes include everything a home buyer could want in their first home.

If you’re a first home buyer, we have some handy tips to make your first home buying journey a breeze!

House and Land Packages

There are a number of benefits in buying a house and land package, particularly for first home buyers, and it’s a great way to get your foot in the door of property market.

First Home Buyer

– Instead of having to organise purchasing land, coming up with a home design yourself, and then finding a builder you’re happy with, everything is taken care of for you. Your builder will be able to guide you towards the land sales agent, and once your land is purchased, your builder will have a number of home designs to choose from.
– Your builder can help point you in the direction for finance when you’re ready to purchase, saving you the trouble of finding a mortgage broker. One less thing to worry about!
– The price is set from the day your purchase, so there are no hidden surprises as the build progresses, unless you decide to upgrade items.
– You will work with a qualified builder and team who are committed to helping you every step of the way. If you haven’t considered building a home before, having this support network throughout the process is invaluable.
– If the home design in the package doesn’t quite suit you, the builder is always happy to tweak the design to suit you and your family’s needs. You’ll end up with a new home that suits your specific requirements exactly!
– Your builder will work with you to ensure the costs stay within your budget range from day one. Having someone to monitor finances throughout the process helps prevent budget blowouts and is one less thing for you to worry about.

Think About Your Choices

Once you’ve selected your home design, think about your colour selections and finishes. There are so many options, but a well thought out façade design and interiors will go the distance in your new home.
First Home Buyer
– Choose colour schemes that are subtle and timeless will ensure your home’s appearance won’t date in a few years’ time once trends change.
– Consider where to invest more of your budget – flooring, tiling, and benchtops are expensive to replace, so if your budget allows, invest more money in high-end finishes in these areas when you build. The quality will show and more importantly, they will last a long time.
– Selecting good quality appliances is also another area to consider allocating more of your budget to. Inexpensive appliances might not have a long lifespan, so having to reinvest hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace two or three big ticket items after only a few years will prove to be quite the financial headache. Particularly if this happens when you’re starting a family or have small children at home and only one income.

Whether you’re after a single storey home to get your foot in the door of the market, or a double storey home to accommodate your growing family, a split-level design, or an investment property, Hotondo Homes has the solution to suit your specific needs. Our Forever Retreat Range is perfect for first home buyers, with no compromise on quality, size or style.

If you’re a first home buyer take a look at our Forever Retreat Range for a home that perfectly suits your budget. and if you would like to learn more about our fantastic house and land packages available, we’ve got all the details right here.

When you’re building a new home, your focus is often on how you and your family will adjust to living in a new house, and a new location. It’s a big transition for everyone, and with months to prepare yourselves for the move you’ve probably driven past the house a few times as well as exploring the neighbourhood a little bit. No doubt you’ve also visited the house a few times in the lead-up to moving day. But have you given some thought to how your beloved fur baby will adjust to its new surroundings? It’s something that’s not at the forefront of everyone’s minds as preparations to move begin, but ensuring you’re making time to let your pet adjust to their new home will make their transition smoother and stress free as well!

Take a Tour of Your New Home

Introducing your pet
You’ve probably been to visit your new house a number of times with your family, and it’s well worth bringing your pet to visit the house as well. Letting them explore inside the house will reduce their stress at suddenly being in a new, unfamiliar place if they’ve visited a couple of times. You can check the perimeter fence for gaps and possible escape routes before you pet visits. Once you’ve done this, taking them outside to explore the front and back yards, and around the perimeters so they can become familiar with their new territory will make them feel a little more at home. This is also a good time for you to make your landscape gardener aware of your pets so they remember not to include any plants that are hazardous to your pet’s health.

Meals, Toys, and Beds

Introducing your pet
Leave your pet’s bed, blankets, food bowls, and toys unpacked until the last minute on moving day to keep them relaxed and happy while there’s a lot of activity in the house. Once you’re at your new home, ensure you’ve decided on a space inside or outside for your pet’s belongings and meal area and pop their things in those areas straight away. Ensuring they have a routine and their own defined space from day one will help them settle in and become familiar with their surroundings while still having their own comfort items close by.

Time for a Walk

Introducing your pet
If you have a dog, a great way to let them settle in and feel comfortable in their new surroundings is by taking them for lots of walks in the first few weeks. Letting them explore the neighbourhood smells by walking the blocks around your home is a great way to familiarise them with their new home. Finding local, fenced-in dog parks where they can stretch their legs and interact gently with other dogs is another good way to build their confidence and reduce their stress levels. It may be a good idea to keep them on their leash the first few visits until they feel more comfortable with their new friends. If your dog seems a little unsettled during the first few walks, just take short walks, allowing the dog lead the way. This lets them discover where other barking dogs and kids live and helps your dog get used to their location in the neighbourhood. Each time the dog confidently walks a slightly longer route, ensure you lavish them with praise to continue building their confidence. If your dog seems skittish and doesn’t want to continue a walk, return home and try again the next day.

Continue with Routine

Introducing your pet
Once you’ve moved into your new home, try to continue with your pet’s existing routine. Keeping meal time, exercise and play time, and bed time on the same schedule that occurred in your previous home means your pet will know what to expect each day and settle in a little faster. This will relieve their stress and anxiety around being in a new location and will make your days calmer as well.

You dog will pick up on your excitement at being in your new home, so it’s also great to involve them in that feeling of happiness with the family whenever possible, whether it’s with a celebratory pet-friendly treat, or some fun and games in the backyard. Moving with pets doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. As long as you give your pet plenty of opportunities to become familiar with their new home and continue to keep things familiar and structured wherever possible, your pet will be settled in to their new home in no time!

For other great tips, tricks, and home ideas, visit the Hotondo Homes website.