Weeks 12, 13, 14 & 15

The intention was to do weekly updates on here, which we did for the first few weeks. Why is it that work and life get in the way????? Ah well, doing our best!

We say this in every post but it’s been a crazy, busy few weeks at the LoverDreamerCoastalCottage! Our multi-toned bathroom took real shape with the tiles going down on the floor, up the walls and in the shower. We’re loving our choice of tiles in the bathroom and the patterned tiles was one of our splurges, but we’re glad we did them this time around.
Painting continued with the exterior being finished and the interior being oh so close! The Little Lover Dreamers picked a colour each to go on one of their walls, as they are big part of this build so it’s only fair they get to contribute!
In the background we contacted Beachside Kitchens with an idea for a floating TV cabinet for our lounge room. They totally got our vision and are making it as we speak. We’re looking forward to seeing this addition to our living area!

Over the past week, we started to plan out our landscaping, which we’ve always done with every one of our builds. We are generally on the same page for decisions but the Landscaping project is definitely something we have a similar vision for. We like to keep things simple and always want to have a low maintenance aspect to it. Although a simple landscape design, we do make sure the house design is reflected outside as well.
We’ll also be future proofing so as not to over do certain parts of the landscaping. And by future proofing, I mean keeping a space free for Mrs Dreamer’s swimming hole!

Outside we’ve seen the addition and connection of our water tank. It sits down the side of the house and will be used for irrigation and also toilet flushing. It’s great that we’re able to recycle the water that lands on our roof.

So, from here… Painting will be finished, Plumbers and Sparkies will fit off, Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry benchtops will go in and the flooring is booked to go in in a few weeks time (exciting little project going on in the background for that one).
We could be in our home in around 4 weeks time, let’s do this!!


Weeks 9, 10 & 11

Our little Coastal Cottage has taken some huge steps forward toward completion over the past few weeks. We’ve seen insulation, cladding, gyprock, kitchen install, plastering, decking, trenching and painting! These guys move fast and it’s sometimes difficult to keep on top of everything, but that’s how we spend our evenings.

We had a little ‘add on’ from the original scope, with the idea of having a bench seat on the back deck. The idea came about because the deck is small, but we wanted to make sure there would be plenty of room for people to sit outside. We also added on some slats to that area which just adds a little bit of privacy for when we use that space.

Insulation was installed in a flash and lining followed quickly after. I (Andrew) always get a little bit of anxiety when the gyprock goes up and the plasterers do their thing because now I can’t alter or change any of the electrical related things! Just keep telling myself that I placed them all correctly… mmmmm…

We chose to add some character to this house as our last 2 builds have been a little ‘safe’ you could say. The Coastal Cottage is all about us and it gave us the chance to add features in, that we have always wanted to do. Some of these are the tongue and groove ceilings, in parts of the house (internal and external) and the exterior paint colour, gulp. Our first build was grey, second build was white and this one is dark! But we are loving it! We’ve always wanted to do it and to now see the paint going on, it feels really good that we’ve gone with our instincts.

Next for us is finalising internal paint colours, wardrobe configuration and to watch our very functional (yet super stylish) bathroom come together!


Weeks 7 & 8

Cladding, electrical, plumbing, windows, nogging and the install of one of our splurges, the corner cavity sliding door! A very busy couple of weeks it has been!

We’ve been working really hard the past couple of weeks and have been trying to manage our build as best we can. We’ll be honest, it’s been tough of late with our work/life balance not quite in sync which then impacts the build and how we keep track of everything that is going on. Because the house is fairly small and straight forward, things happen very quickly!

We had several meetings on site to scope out our decking and to also assist in the electrical preparation. These meetings are invaluable as some sort of decision is always made while on site. These meetings combined with managing our budget have made for 2 crazy weeks but the end is near!

We can’t wait to move into our coastal cottage and can really start to picture how she’s going to look as we approach the lock up stage, stay tuned!


The Blue Mountains

The first weekend of Spring rolled around and we spent both days of it out and about! We headed north to Nelson Bay on Saturday, but on Sunday morning we ventured out to the Blue Mountains which was a first for me (Andrew) and the kids.

I feel silly writing this but when Rach told me we were heading to the Blue Mountains, all I could picture was a single mountain with a tea house and a viewing platform, that’s it! I was, of course, very wrong with my assumption!

We went straight to Scenic World Australia in Katoomba which is home to the steepest train track in the world – this was a bit mind boggling for the kids as it’s been operating since 1945!
We started the day with the train, which was a real highlight for the day, as it’s like a slow rollercoaster that heads straight down the side of a mountain. Down the bottom of the track, there were some tracks throughout the forest that we walked along. Dotted along the tracks were artifacts from the coal mining days including a miners hut, which the kids jumped into the bed for a nap!

Scenic World also has what they call, a Scenic Skyway which is a cable car that moves between 2 cliff tops via suspension cables. We jumped on once back to the top of the mountain and kids enjoyed looking straight down through the glass floor, plus the views out over the Blue Mountains were epic. Across the other side there are plenty of walkways so we headed towards the famous Three Sisters mountain tops. It was an easy, flat walk, but the best part was heading down some very steep stairs which connects up to one of the sisters. Again the views were insane, but the little bridge out to one of the sisters is definitely something to see and cross.

We walked around 6km during the day so we thought we’d earned a little treat for the trip home… Just around the corner is the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company and that place is dangerous! Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, Yum!
All in all, another great day spent adventuring around our own backyard!



Week 5 + 6

Over the last two weeks, our double garage and carport framing has gone up, the underfloor plumbing is done and we have a ROOF! In just a few weeks we will be at complete lock up stage.

We have a little hold up with our windows but once they arrive, the boys will be able to get stuck into the exterior cladding. We are looking forward to moving onto the interior fit out stage very soon.

Here is a little snippet of the last two weeks.



Our perfectly imperfect barn door

When designing our last build, the #loverdreamerbeachhouse, we were going for a relaxed coastal vibe. There was a lot of white EVERYWHERE broken up by different texture finishes but it was still white. Our beach house was in a rural area out of the city and even though we were beachfront, there were rural properties just up the road. It was a beautiful, relaxed coastal and rural area.

In the design stage of the build, we had dreamed of having a feature barn door to complement our relaxed coastal theme but also wanted to connect to the rural surroundings around us. We were pretty particular with the style of barn door we were after. We really wanted a barn door to be custom made from recycled timber and we wanted it to be imperfect with rough sawn marks, old nail holes and with different colours coming through. We searched high and low looking at premade doors and spoke to numerous joiners about making one for us. No one really got our concept and tried to talk us into a pine or cedar constructed door and then painting it. That wasn’t what we were after!

Finally, we came across Eagle Construction. Initially we spoke to Wade and got a really good vibe from him. Finally, someone who understood what we were trying to achieve!

Wade was able to track down just enough old recycled Kauri timber to construct the door we desired. Once the door was constructed, the boys finished it off with a coat of Linseed oil, which brought out the different colours in the timber beautifully.

The barn door was a standout feature in our downstairs living area and became the entrance to our master bedroom.

Thinking back now, it was my favourite feature in the whole house. We are still contemplating replicating one in our next house but not sure Wade will make the trip to Australia to build us a door?! What do you reckon Wade???





Creative flower love…

I have always had a love for flowers and having flowers in our home always makes me happy. It instantly brightens up a space and you can give a boring table or corner a new look every week by simply changing up your floral arrangement.

For years I have foraged in nature, probably more so when we lived at the #loverdreamerbeachhouse where the kids and I would walk the beachfront weekly and snip foliage as we went to create little greenery arrangements which we would put throughout the house. I love buying flowers at local markets and bringing them home to create a new arrangement. Many years ago, I went to the Sydney flowers markets and bought a heap of flowers for my brother’s wedding, where I created all the table arrangements for his wedding.

I love a good creative outlet and a quick one day course is perfect for me to get the creative juices flowing. In the past, I have done hair and makeup professionally, I’ve learnt how to sew, I’ve done ceramics classes, I love creating entertaining food and platters, I’m a DIY upcycle furniture fan and floristry has also been an interest of mine for a long time.

Today I went to Pearson’s school of floristry and did a one day fun course, working with mostly Australian native flowers. In the course we covered three different types of arrangements, a flat lay posy, a bouquet and a vase arrangement. I loved it!

I took a few key valuable skills and 3 massive bunches of flowers home with me today. HAPPY LADY!!! 🙂

I’m looking forward to my next visit to the markets. With my new skills, I’m excited to see what else I can create!




Sunrise hike of Koko head – Hawaii

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Hawaii on a work trip. We were staying in Waikiki and there were a group of us who decided we’d take on an early morning hike up Koko head.

At 4.50am we jumped into an Uber and set off on our adventure. Koko head is located about a 25min drive from Waikiki. We made the trek up the Koko head trail in the dark with the goal to reach the top before sunrise. It’s a steep and challenging hike and the track is simply an old and very worn out rail track built during World War II.

Parts of the track are worn away and unsteady and with the humidity it can be very slippery. About 1/3 of the way up you cross a bridge that drops off to the bush below. We didn’t quite realise how dangerous the bridge section of the trial was until we returned back down the track in daylight. The last part of the trek up is very steep and some of the track is worn away making the height of the steps big enough that you need to use your upper body to climb over. Climbing up in the dark was incredible. Turning around and watching the city lights behind you and the nights sky slowly change colour as we got higher up the mountain.

We reached the top just before sunrise, hot, sweaty and tired. There was a refreshing breeze at the top and the silence of the morning sky was beautiful. We waited for the sun to rise and took in all the changes of the colours of the sky, ocean and the land around us. It was spectacular! The 360 degree views from the top looking back over the island are amazing!

After a little rest and a good look around soaking up the view, it was time to head back down. I did find the way down physically much easier than the way up but was completely surprised at the state of the track and what I had actually climbed in the dark.

The track itself isn’t easy but it’s only about 40-50 min walk to the top taking your time and quicker coming down. It’s a little challenge getting to the top, for the reward of the views that await when you get to the top. I’d highly recommend doing it around sunrise as it would be unbearable in the heat of the day. If you love hiking, it’s a must do when visiting Waikiki. A quick adventure that got us back to our hotel by 8am, ready to start our day.



What’s in a good laundry design?

In most homes, the laundry design is often the least thought out area and in a lot of cases an after thought.

We made this mistake in our first build. To save space (and money) we added a laundry nook into our internal garage. For us, it didn’t work as functionally as we needed that space too. We didn’t have space to store much and we had no bench space. It was purely just a laundry tub with the front loader washing machine next to it and the clothes dryer mounted on the wall. We took note of this and tried again with our next build to create a more practical space. We had fully extended our budget on building such a large house already so we had to be clever on the design and fit out of this laundry to keep costs down but still create a functional space.

Here’s what we identified we wanted to change from our first build laundry when we were designing our second build (#loverdreamersbeachhouse) –

We knew we needed a larger dedicated space, with plenty of storage. Our previous two builds were in NZ, so during the winter months when it was cold and wet outside for days on end, we found we had clothes horses constantly strung around the house. They got in the way, the kids as babies would pull them over or get tangled in them and to be honest we hated staring at them in the living room everyday.

So with that in mind, during the design stage of our last build we worked with our architect to position the laundry in the north-west corner of the house to ensure it got plenty of sunshine and ventilation all year round. The laundry area had a window to the north side of the house and a glass panel door that exited to the backyard clothesline area on the west side of the house.

Due to the small size of the land we bought and the large size of the house we wanted to create, we were limited with the positioning of the laundry. The laundry ended up again being in the internal garage but this time in a much larger space positioned off the back of the garage in its own area with great sunlight and ventilation. We had enough room to have a couple of built-in cabinets for extra storage with both the washing machine and dryer being on the floor to allow us more usable bench space. On the wall we mounted an internal Hills Hoist fold away clothes line and let me tell you, in that house, it was one of the best things we did! It was used everyday! We chose to use vinyl on the floor, melamine cupboard doors and a laminate bench top in similar tones as our flooring, cabinetry and bench tops throughout the main part of the house. We could get away with this as it was an area out of sight and it saved us thousands of dollars. We had a much more practical laundry without a huge expense.

Our next laundry at our current build #loverdreamerscoastalcottage will bring a new set of needs. This time round we are building a much smaller house. Throughout the design stage we focused on spaces we felt that we actually needed for our family and the way we like to live. We have taken a less house, more life approach in order to simplify our daily home life. We have put a huge focus on ensuring each room in the house is functional and practical.

What are doing differently in our laundry this time around?

We are moving the laundry into its own room in the main part of the house. It’ll be easier, quicker and more convenient to access. There will be tall cupboards incorporated into the cabinetry to hide away our brooms, vacuum, iron board, washing baskets etc. There will be ample overhead shelving storage too. Most importantly the laundry will also act as a second toilet / powder room. A space that can be used to do hair and makeup for example if the main bathroom is occupied. It will be a multi functional room.

We are excited to share our new laundry design with you in the coming months!


When your house design starts to come to life

Our framing is all up and it won’t be long before our roof goes on. This is such an exciting stage of a new build! It’s that first time you really get a feel for the space and layout of your new home. No longer are you just looking at a flat plan, you can now actually walk through the house and get a feel of the spaces and the flow of your new home.

It’s been a bit a relief to get to this stage and to walk through the house and be happy with the choices we have made creating our family home. For us, this build has been very different to our previous two builds. We moved back to Australia to make a lifestyle change and to simplify our life in as many areas as we could. It’s still a work in progress, something we try and work on everyday but this new house is a massive part of that. We spend a lot of time at home and both of us work from home most of the week. We wanted to create a home that as a family we won’t outgrow but we knew we wanted to make it dramatically smaller than our previous builds. Why? We don’t want the up-keep that comes with a large house, plus, we wanted to reduce our mortgage. In turn, both of these choices will give us more time and money to do the things in life we love doing. Less house, more life is what we are working on.

We drew on our previous build experiences, what worked and didn’t work in our previous designs when deciding on the design of our current build. We questioned what areas of our previous builds were functional, practical, actually used or were not used and not necessary. From there we formed a ‘wish list’ of what had been missing from our previous builds and what we’d like to do differently this time around.

Stay tuned as we’ll soon share with you room by room our plans and ideas for each space in our #loverdreamerscoastalcottage.

In the meantime, we are very much enjoying visiting our building site everyday, visualising and watching our plans come to life!


Week 4. Already????

Wow, 4 weeks into the #Loverdreamerscoastalcottage build!

This week the roof trusses went on so it was pretty exciting to see the shape of our roof and how all the overhangs look from the front and back of the house.
Our builders worked throughout the week as they continued to stabilise the framework after it had been delivered last week.

Before we know it, we’ll have our Colourbond roof on and our windows and cladding will commence!


Bush walking on the coast

Sunday funday rolled around a couple of weeks ago so we decided on another local adventure. First stop was Somersby falls which is a few minutes drive from Gosford. Plenty of parking and proper walkways made for an easy little trek through the Forrest. We edged off the usual track to find a secret little waterfall which was a great way to start the walk. The further into the walk we got, the more waterfalls, streams, caves and exposed rock we found. We’d had a tiny bit of rain the night before so the falls had some water tricking down them which was nice to see. The kids loved throwing leaves down the streams and watching them race down!

We headed back up to the car after and hour or so. We left Somersby and headed to Girrapool Picnic Area. After refueling the energy tanks, we started (what we thought) would be about an hour long walk. The further down he track we got, the further we wanted to go! The scenery is amazing! Running rivers, overhanging cliff edges, lookouts over looking the Brisbane Water National Park.  Forest and so many naturally made tracks. As we went deeper into the bush, we started to realize we were past the point of return so we had to keep going to complete the loop. We’re so glad we did because at the half way point is a suspended bridge which is a really stunning site. This half way point was approx 90mins and 2km into the bush so the kids did amazingly well just to get this far… they didn’t like the news that we were only half way but they kept on trekking! The walk back was on the other side of the river so it offered different sites to the walk in. There were some fairly steep parts to the walk, but with Miss 6 year old leading the charge, it was certainly an adventure!

We covered 4.5km in around 3.5hrs which was a new record for our little tribe. Grace walked the whole way and Harry needed a little help on the way back..  but who could blame him!

We’d highly recommend heading along this track as it’s certainly not something you’d expect to see just out the back of Gosford. A great day had by all!