Melburnians Liam and Adam knew they wanted to build their own home one day, and with a preference for wide open spaces and being close to nature, plus a Victorian First Home Owner’s Grant that was doubled for regional areas, the time was right to start the search for the perfect block of land, and the perfect builder to help them bring their dream country home to life in Tooborac, VIC. They moved into their new Hotondo Home about three weeks ago, and can’t speak highly enough of their experience with the entire team at Hotondo Homes Wallan.
Why Hotondo Homes?
“We’d been looking in the region and had a list builders to look at, but it was actually mum who actually suggested Hotondo Homes,” Adam told us. “She’s retired and she’s built four homes before so we had her researching builders for us all the way from South Australia!” The guys were renting in north-west Melbourne but hadn’t considered Hotondo Homes yet. “We didn’t even visit any of the Hotondo display homes” Adam said. “We looked them up online and read their amazing reviews, and just gave the Wallan team a call. We spoke initially to Melissa, who really sold it for us straight away to be honest!” Speaking to Melissa, who was friendly, responded quickly and “just had a really good vibe and good energy” convinced them Hotondo Homes was the perfect fit to build their dream home. “Other builders actually weren’t as forthcoming and took a while to get back to us, but Hotondo Homes were great from the get go,” they said.
The Perfect Design
Originally Liam and Adam were thinking of designing their own home, but once the team at Wallan took the guys through the range of designs available, they fell in love with the Cascade 121. “Having a design that had almost everything we wanted really saved a lot of hassle,” Liam said. “We wanted a home with the open-plan kitchen and living at the rear of the home, three bedrooms, one bathroom a separate laundry and a walk-in-robe in the master bedroom,” Adam told us. “Once we learned we could modify the design, we knew the Cascade was perfect for us. The guys were able to modify the master suite design and eliminate the ensuite, which allowed them to turn it into a large walk-in-pantry in the kitchen. They also didn’t want a bath, and moved the separate toilet into the bathroom itself, which gave them a larger walk-in-robe in their bedroom. They added spectacular raked ceilings in the open-plan kitchen and living space, and because they’re on a twelve acre block, they had the luxury of modifying the design to make all the rooms bigger than the original design allowed for, giving them an extra metre around the entire home. “We also wanted to simplify the façade, which the Wallan team were really on board with. We didn’t want a garage at all, and we removed all the bells and whistles so the exterior didn’t look too fussy – the home really looks like it was popped down on the land,” the guys told us. ”
The Building Journey
“The team were so accommodating,” Adam said. “We used a lot of Hotondo’s preferred suppliers, but we also wanted to source some things locally and they were fine with that.” Liam added “They became more like friends more than just the people building our home, and they were really keen to hear our ideas.” After speaking to Melissa on the phone, they met Keegan at the office to start planning their country home. “It was great to meet him in person. He had so many extra suggestions for things we thought we might like,” Liam told us. “Mallory helped us with our colour selections, and Kalen was our site manager during the build. There was constant communication the whole time, they kept us abrest of everything happening on-site, which was important because we were in Melbourne during the build.” Adam agreed: “We never had to worry about anything, all the small details were taken care of.”
“We didn’t really have any issues during the build,” Adam told us. “Originally we actually had an entirely different block of land and planning became a problem. We were told we wouldn’t be able to build on it, so we found this block almost overnight.” After a site visit with the environmental planners, a quick phone call to Keegan in the Wallan office confirmed the block would be okay to build on. “He actually told us he thought this block was much better and they loved it too,” Liam said. The land already had a planning permit, but there were a few council delays due to timing and slow response times. “But the Hotondo team were so patient with us,” Adam told us. “They always checked in with us and told us they were ready to go as soon as we got approval from the council. Within a week or so of us getting the go ahead they were able to start the build!” The guys were able to visit the site on weekends when they worked on the land which allowed them to really see the progress of their home.
A Happy Home
Settling in to their new home has been easy, and even Finny, Liam and Adam’s gorgeous Papillion has made himself at home. “We love entertaining, so we wanted a house that was a retreat but also ready to accommodate friends and family from the city. The living space at the rear of the home lets in so much sunlight that we don’t need lights on during the day,” Liam said. “Finny can often be found dozing in the sun out there, and with the raked ceilings it’s just a fantastic space.” The guys have big plans for the outdoor space, with lots of landscaping on the horizon, which will utilise Adam’s skills well given he’s a florist by trade and a budding horticulturist. “We’re doing our land management plan now, as well as our bushfire management plan, which Hotondo also helped us with,” Adam said. They also plan to bring back the chickens and a turkey they have, and maybe add some more animals to their brood in the future. With twelve acres of land there’s certainly plenty of space! “We also love seeing all the wildlife in their natural environment,” Liam told us. “There are lots of kangaroos and wallabies around, and we’ve even had the occasional emu visit us while we’re outside working.” Most evenings the guys can be found enjoying a nice glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and with so many wineries in close proximity they’re really spoiled for choice! Country life definitely agrees with them as they settle in and enjoy their country abode.
If you’re looking to build your dream home just like Liam and Adam have, you can search for a builder local to you at the Hotondo Homes website today. All photos in this post have been supplied by Liam and Adam, and if you’d like to see more of their country life, you can follow them on Instagram at @life.on.the.lot.