As soon as I saw the 1980s yellow brick house on a large block of land in Mt Martha, I knew I could transform the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. I saw the finished home in my mind’s eye, like a photograph. Everything about the property was ideal for what I wanted to create. The roof line, the positioning of the house on the land, and the land itself, were perfect for my dream renovation. And the house itself had lovely bones.


With an extremely tight timeline of 12 weeks (I had move into the property with my children by the end of October), I knew I had to engage the right professionals for the task from the get-go. Key support partners were vital for expediting the short timeline for this project.


The first step was to appoint an architect who could grasp what I wanted to achieve, without getting tied up in structural changes that would require council approval. So I engaged Steve Hofer from WKH Architects who has worked on the Mornington Peninsula for many years. He knows the lay of the land and how the light works throughout the seasons, so he was the ideal choice.


(Pictured from left: Tyson Mann – KLS, Peta Donaldson – Blac Design, Steve Hofer – WKH, Isabelle Danielis – KWD, Kate Walker, Claire Williams – KWD, Rachael Campbell – KWD)

Explains Steve, “Kate and I have worked together on a number of projects in the area, so when she approached us to work with her on Beechwood we were very excited about the opportunity. Kate had a very strong vision from the beginning about creating a modern farmhouse feel which perfectly suited the style of the house.”

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“Our key focus was to make the floor plan work in a very contemporary way, that  would create a really relaxed way of living and which perfectly suited the design aesthetic. One of the highlights was discovering the extra roof space in the entrance above the existing ceiling. Maximising the features in the entrance to create the additional ceiling height, and adding strapping to make a feature of the space, was a design triumph. Working closely with Kate’s KWD team meant we were able to intertwine the modern farmhouse style so that the interior layout, the exterior of the house, the design elements and the aesthetics all worked in harmony.”


Taking Beechwood from concept to completion required a builder who could get the right people onto the job quickly and effectively.  I chose Tyson Mann from KLS for his ability to achieve what I wanted on time and on budget.


“When Kate engaged KLS to manage the renovation of her new property to create Beechwood, the brief was to work closely with her and the KWD team to bring her vision of a modern farmhouse look to life. The bones of the building were sound, so the majority of the work was with the interior – knocking down walls, moving walls, putting in walls, stripping down the two kitchens and the bathrooms and then starting again from scratch basically,” says Tyson.

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“Every single part of the interior is fresh and new. The exterior was painted, the veranda and steps replaced, the external pillars re-shaped from round to square and shingles were added to the rear.”

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“The only structural work to the exterior was the bump out from the dining area to the front deck and to the laundry entrance, which Kate wanted to be the main family entrance to the home.”


“With a 12 week build we need a huge team of carpenters, electricians, plumbers, tilers, painters and installers, and at times there were 15 to 20 professionals on site.”


“Kate what totally focused on her vision and she was steadfast in what she wanted to achieve. It was fantastic to see her and the KWD team in action. The results are a credit to all involved.”

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Says Kate, “One of the keys to achieving the modern farmhouse look was the windows and doors.  The black frames create the perfect juxtaposition against the white internal and external walls, and I couldn’t have asked for a better result than what 3D Windows & Doors designed and manufactured in such a short space of time.”

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“I really believe the aesthetic of a home starts at the nature strip which is the front gate, and for Beechwood we worked really closely with Red Hill Country Gates to create a beautiful gates that perfectly suited the property,” explains Kate.

“At KWD we love natural materials, and we took it one step further at Beechwood by taking beautiful Indian Limestone and actually pre-ruining it by acid etching it and hand chiseling all the edges – and it was laid to perfect by Henry Master Tiler who is our preferred partner for all our tiling projects.”

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“The landscaping is so important to a home. Many designers focus on the interior but I always look at the exterior as well. I engage Peta Donaldson of Blac Design to help bring my vision of Beechwood to reality and I’m so thrilled with the results.”


Says Peta, “Beechwood was a very special project. It needed to be pretty and it needed to be elegant, but Kate insisted it was low maintenance as well. And the results are perfect.”

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Says Kate, “A landscape it to be enjoyed at night time as well as during the day so lighting is really important. I worked really closely with James O’Halloran from O’Halloran Electrics.  He created the most incredible lighting plan complete with light fittings that will stand the test of time, and at night Beechwood is lit up like Christmas and it’s such a pleasure to come home to after a long day in the office.”

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“The sculptures by local artist Matt Hill are so perfect for the modern farmhouse aesthetic, I couldn’t help but one one in my front garden.”

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To all of our amazing supply partners who helped to bring the Beechwood vision to life, a heartfelt thank you for your time, your expertise, your effort and the quality of your products and services.

WKH Architects
Lynch’s Window Fashions
National Tiles
Sub-Zero & Wolf
Domino Architectural Fittings
3D Windows & Doors
Gladstone Granite
Earp Brothers
Sorrento Furniture
The English Tapware Co
Luxe By Design
The Montauk Lighting Co
Precision Installs>
Henry Master Tiler
Red Hill Gates
O’Halloran Electrics
Luxury Stone
Xtreme Marble
Hepburn Hardware
Elliot Clarke
Whelan Airconditioning
Mornington Peninsula Builders Clean



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