The final chapter in the Beechwood story is all about the exterior – the landscaping, the lighting and the swimming pool zone. All of these elements were so important to the overall look, feel and functionality of Beechwood – and completed the story of my family home.
Seeing the transformation of Beechwood, from a 1980s yellow brick ugly duckling to a modern farmhouse property, was one of my most rewarding experiences – as a designer and as a single mum. This project was an enormous personal challenge for me. We did a six month build program in 12 weeks, with 20 to 30 trades on site some days, and we were able to turn this around because of the planning and budgeting that was put in place from the get-go.
Moving into Beechwood at the end of October last year was the end of an epic journey, and the beginning of another – completing the transition from my previous property and finishing off all the details that make a house a home. I am so pleased with the result, and whilst at times I questioned my vision, today I can proudly say I should have trusted my instincts all along. Having spent almost six months last year as a virtual client of KWD, I have ridden the waves of emotion that all of our clients experience, but I am so thrilled with the outcome. I believed in my vision. I believed in my team. I engaged incredible tradesmen.
The challenge for me was to drill down and take the advice I give my clients all the time which was to not put in everything on your wish list. I had to be clever with what I left out and the things I didn’t put in were actually my best decisions. I had to hone down on the style, hone down on my time and budget constraints, and get the very best specification within that framework, and I believe I achieved that.
The inspiration for the design of Beechwood came from the exterior. With the house being on a good size block of land I immediately felt like bringing the outside in, and because I never design an interior without considering the exterior, the garden design from the front fence to the back fence was front of mind. So I essentially created the interior based on the garden. And with the house orientation facing north I knew that every room would have a view of the garden.
The landscape design was signed off before the interior, and I brought the outside in with shades of green, grey, white and terracotta which are all courtesy of Mother Nature and all leaning toward a modern farmhouse aesthetic. Beechwood really represents an emerging style that perfectly suited the coastal location with a distinct focus on the landscape design.
Key support partners were vital for expediting the short timeline for this project. Whilst I am passionate about landscape design I didn’t have time to draw up the plans myself so I worked alongside Peta Donaldson from Blac Design and she brought my vision to life. We also worked with Gabby from Red Hill Country Gates to create the perfect gate for a modern farmhouse feel. We had worked with them before, and they didn’t disappoint. I wanted something I hadn’t seen before, so we settled on woven steel strapping and herringbone timber, painted black to match the fence, and contrast against the white of the house. OHalloran Electrics installed the video intercom.
Explain Peta from Blac Design, “Introducing a new pedestrian entrance and path that leads guests through the garden to the front door at Beechwood provided the impact and purpose that this renovation deserved. Every entrance must have purpose.”
Engaging professionals to do their job has meant that a lot of things have turned out better than expected. For example, I had turned my back on the south facing rear garden area because I thought it was dark. In fact there’s a lot of western light in the afternoon and all day sun, so having an expert like Blac Design create that space has made such a significant difference and I never would have come up with that idea.
“Even though the garden is still juvenile after only nine months of being planted,” says Peta, “the intention is evident. Previously home to the Hills Hoist and bins, this space now boasts a living pergola, which will eventually provide shade to the dining table, an entertaining area with the element of fire, and a productive parterre filled with apples, crabapples and herbs for the kitchen.
“A table grapevine will in time cover the pergola nearest the house providing much needed shade in summer and the warmth of the sun in winter. This is also now Kate’s private entrance to her home. Flanked by plane trees and buxus, a path of limestone leads directly to her stunning laundry/mud room.”
“Green against black always works,” say Peta. “The newly planted Viburnum frames the deck, and the immaculate styling paired with buxus, white shingles and coach lighting has completely transformed this space which is now a divine addition to Kate’s kitchen and dining space.”
The kids love the communal spaces as well as having their own zones. There is so much space for them, with their own bedrooms and bathrooms, the family zone, dedicated outdoor entertaining zone and the in-ground trampoline.
And if space allows, a Mornington Peninsula property deserves a swimming pool. With the vast backyard at Beechwood it really warranted installing a good size pool and entertainment area.
The KWD team spoke with a number of pool companies when in discussions about the Beechwood pool, and the one we felt most comfortable with was Aquacon Pools. Ryan’s customer service was first class, their pool designs offered a wide range of styles to choose from, and we are so grateful for the perfect execution – stress-free, on time and on budget pool installation. Their crew were amazing! And a very special, heartfelt mention to Henry, Master Tiling for laying our coping stone so beautifully.
The jewellery for the outdoor area was the lighting set into the landscaping. O’Halloran Electrics created the outdoor electrical plan and supplied the perfect lighting solutions. Explains James O’Halloran, “With a large focus on the lighting and decor inside our homes, gardens can often become neglected and ignored. And even when gardens are beautifully planted and cared for, lighting is something that can be left to the bottom of the garden design list. Installing the correct outdoor lighting can really bring an entire outdoor space together, not only providing a great source of light well into the evening, but also highlighting special features that would otherwise only be seen in daylight – the perfect finishing touch to any garden.”