The house that Dave built

This is a sponsored post

Way back in 2006, I felt like Dave and I were in a relationship rut.

We were living together in the home I bought before we met and Dave was paying me rent as my boarder.

It felt like the most awkward thing in the world reminding my boyfriend when his rent was due.

Dave was showing no signs of being ready to ask me to marry him, so I was keen to see him show me in another way that he was in it for the long haul.

I longed to have a place that we could call ours and not something that was just mine.

When my Dad discovered an inner city block of land up for sale, I knew it was Dave’s and my chance to start building our future together, for real.

In a rush, we bought the land and proceeded to let it sit there for a long, long time.

While it sat there, Dave did a carpentry apprenticeship, renovated my first house and sold it, we got married, and then battled with IVF.

Dave worked on the plans in the scarce moments of spare time that he had.

I don’t know whether it was the delay in the design and build process or my pre-occupation with trying to fall pregnant, but designing our house, the first home we could really call ours, didn’t interest me in the least.

I found the whole idea of it arduous.

I regretted buying the land and how long it was taking to design.

I told myself if we had our time over, we would just buy a house and be done with it.

It was a dream of Dave’s to design and build his own home though, so we stuck with it.

The design process was quite lengthy with multiple back and forths with council due to us being in a heritage listed area and needing to comply with certain rules.

Dave would attempt to talk through the plans with me, but to be honest, I just wasn’t great at visualising them.

When Dave showed everyone else his drawings they could instantly envisage it, whereas they seemed to be in another language to me.

People were always surprised that I happily left the design of our house in Dave’s hands.

I mean why wouldn’t I? He’d worked in the building and design industry for years and knew what worked well and looked good. I trusted him implicitly.

It was my hairdresser, actually, who stressed that I at least needed to get involved in the design of the kitchen.

‘That’s your territory,’ she’d said.

‘Get in there and make it work for you.’

She clearly didn’t know what a disaster I was in the kitchen, but I took her advice and became more involved.

I needed something more than Auto-CAD plans to get my mind around the design though.

I flicked through magazines and trawled websites searching for things I liked. We even had a couple of meetings with kitchen design specialists.

It was more fun than I thought it would be.

At times I found the sheer volume of choice in fittings, colours and products overwhelming.

I remember trying to narrow down what sort of bench top I wanted. The massive range available to us was almost enough to blow my mind.

Before long, I came to realise what styles and colours I liked.

With Dave’s help we decided on handleless cupboards.

Besides looking stunning, the kids find them really tricky to get into. Bonus!

The Kitchen Place

With our colour scheme I was thinking all white, but Dave suggested a darker stone bench top like this and let me tell you, it looks hot.

The Kitchen Place
I also wanted plenty of bench space, plus an island bench with chairs like this.

The Kitchen Place

The end result of our kitchen is contemporary, slick and most importantly, functional.

If we were to build another, as Dave keeps threatening, I might be brave enough to add a splash of colour like this.

clifton_kitchen4

The whole exercise ended up being a great bonding experience.

This kitchen, our house, turned into our dream home where we now live as a family of four.

While it was a long time coming it was worth the wait and a decision we definitely don’t regret.

What would your ideal kitchen look like?

This post is sponsored by The Kitchen Place.

Linking up today with Grace to Flog ma blog.

41 comments on The house that Dave built

  1. Jodi Gibson (JF Gibson Writer)
    August 21, 2014 at 7:17 am (3 years ago)

    I love a white kitchen. Fresh, bright and streamlined, and even when it might be a bit grubby, it still looks clean. As hubby is a tradie/builder we have renovated and built many houses of our own and others we have just renovated and sold on. It’s always fun seeing a plan come to life. Hubby is pretty cluey when it comes to design and styling (for a man!) so I do trust him. We usually discuss decisions together but if in doubt I leave it up to him. We are just finishing another home we are doing that is to be sold and it’s come up fantastic! Always fun.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 21, 2014 at 11:42 am (3 years ago)

      Wow! That is awesome, Jodi. I know that Dave would love to do that. We’re just not sure how to finance things at this stage. He gets so much enjoyment out of it and now that I’ve come around to the idea, I’m a little excited too x

      Reply
  2. Elisha Ross
    August 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Your kitchen is amazing. I dream of having an island bench in mine one day….We shall see. To renovate at all is a dream right now. In the meantime I stash away my mag clippings and go nuts on pinterest. White is definitely the way to go and what a clever hubby you have there on your hands.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm (3 years ago)

      Keep on collecting and stashing. You will need those ideas when you finally get a chance to renovate. Hope all is going well with bub x

      Reply
  3. Erin
    August 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Simply stunning, and now I know it’s not just our husbands who are alike but you and I too! I get my David to design our kitchens, he’s far better than I and I trust him and all those choices overwhelm me. Trouble is though he keeps asking for my input;)
    My dream kitchen we left behind in town was all timber, that was 10 years ago. So now we are designing our next kitchen and I’m seriously thinking a white flat pack. But I’m definitely pinning yours! Gorgeous!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm (3 years ago)

      White is definitely a winner. The all timber kitchen sounds great too. What a shame you had to leave that behind. When I was reading your kitchen post last night I was smiling knowing that I was going to post a kitchen one today πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    August 22, 2014 at 6:15 am (3 years ago)

    The idea of building a house from scratch scares me!
    As for the kitchen …. I would just want it to be the centre of everything, The one we have now is perfect (although I could do with some new look cupboard doors and bench top …. ours is around 20 years old).

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:30 am (3 years ago)

      Sounds like the perfect kitchen to me. Ours is the hub of everything too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Lydia C. Lee
    August 22, 2014 at 6:48 am (3 years ago)

    That’s great that you built it together – I don’t think it would make us closer at all – I see lots of stress!! But glad you got the kitchen and house you wanted…

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:30 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lydia. Yes there were some tense times trying to get this house built :/

      Reply
  6. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages
    August 22, 2014 at 6:54 am (3 years ago)

    We have just bought our first home and are getting ready to move and I am already dreaming of how we can renovate and the kitchen is the hub of our house so of course we have grand plans that will inevitably be shoved in a drawer and forgotten while we save our pennies up again. It is nice to dream though.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:31 am (3 years ago)

      It is definitely nice to dream. Save those plans for a rainy day. You never know what will happen down the track.

      Reply
  7. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting
    August 22, 2014 at 7:33 am (3 years ago)

    Oooh, pretty kitchens! So jealous:) I had a tiny kitchen with a beautiful design once. White and black with blood red splash backs. Very crisp.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:32 am (3 years ago)

      I love a touch of red in a kitchen. Very cool.

      Reply
  8. Kathy
    August 22, 2014 at 9:20 am (3 years ago)

    I’m very impressed with Dave, and your kitchen style. Hubby and I almost got divorced (before we got married) putting in our first kitchen (we built the house together). It was a timber, country-style kitche (this was mid-90s). Later on we bought a renovator and I found it a great creative outlet when we were going through IVF. And now I have major kitchen envy as we haven’t put a new kitchen in our current house (and can’t see us affording a new one any time soon). Sigh.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:33 am (3 years ago)

      Big sigh. I hope you eventually get your kitchen, Kathy πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Toni
    August 22, 2014 at 10:16 am (3 years ago)

    White with a nice beige speckled benchtop. Stainless steel appliances and cupboard handles. A walk in pantry and a double sink. Yea I’ve thought about it a lot lol.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:33 am (3 years ago)

      Lol. Yeah just a tad, Toni πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    August 22, 2014 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

    I love your kitchen Renee, it’s eerily similar to mine! I love all of the white, but admit it drives me mad cleaning little fingerprints off it all of the time!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:34 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, those little fingerprints. Our glass bi-fold doors are covered in them!

      Reply
  11. Denise
    August 22, 2014 at 11:25 am (3 years ago)

    Oh Renee – kitchen porn – I love it. It’s beautiful. You should feel very proud that you’ve built your own place and designed your dream home. I think I would be completely overwhelmed by the whole process, though I’d love to do it one day. Enjoy!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:34 am (3 years ago)

      It is pretty overwhelming, but the end result is worth it. Dave definitely knows his stuff and did an amazing job.

      Reply
  12. Annaleis
    August 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm (3 years ago)

    I want to build a house with a huge kitchen being its focal point. But hubby isn’t so keen on the idea. Was hoping to win the power ball last night to get him a little interested. I love a gorgeous big island bench and plenty of storage.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:35 am (3 years ago)

      Yep, storage is key to a good kitchen. Good luck with next week’s power ball!! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions
    August 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm (3 years ago)

    I would love to build a house, I really would. A few of my friends have built houses, and while I know they have suffered much frustration, extra costs and delays, to know that we were the only people who had ever lived in it, and to be able to have a say in things being exactly as I want them, it was be so good!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:36 am (3 years ago)

      Yeah I must admit that it is pretty awesome and once it’s built and you’re in there, all of that stress is a distant memory.

      Reply
  14. Pinky Poinker
    August 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful job! I wish my kitchen had an island. It would be so much easier. I think my husband and I would have huge fights if we tried to design a house together. So glad you didn’t!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:36 am (3 years ago)

      It can be a very testing experience on a relationship, but so worth it in the end.

      Reply
  15. Marleisa
    August 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm (3 years ago)

    We are about to start our first build. I have no idea what we are doing. In the end – I just went with the my first choice of tiles, bricks, benchtop etc as I’ve discovered the more you think and look the harder it is! We already know this is not our forever home – as I figure you need to build a few times to get it right!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:37 am (3 years ago)

      How exciting, Marleisa. I think that’s a good idea to go with your gut instinct. Good luck with it all πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    August 23, 2014 at 9:08 am (3 years ago)

    Wow what a great story! I can totally understand you not being interested in the design given you had so much else going on! And yes – the handleless drawers look ahmaaaaazing!!!! xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:37 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lucy. I would never go handles again. Love these too much x

      Reply
  17. EssentiallyJess
    August 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm (3 years ago)

    I sometimes think about building, but like you, wonder if I would hits get overwhelmed. Plus I feel like I know squat about designing a house.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:38 am (3 years ago)

      Yeah you really have to know what you’re doing and if you don’t, talk to the experts πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Tegan
    August 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh those pictures are absolutely gorgeous. If I had the chance to build I would definitely have a massive island bench. Many years of watching The Block and other renovating shows has made me fall in love with them. I’d also love the kitchen to look out onto a deck. At the moment my kitchen looks out onto a brick wall and I hate being in there because it’s so hot.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:39 am (3 years ago)

      I hate to tell you this, Tegan, but our kitchen looks out on a deck .. πŸ˜‰ I can imagine the brick wall would make things hot. I hope you get your dream kitchen sometime in the near future.

      Reply
  19. Lara @ This Charming Mum
    August 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm (3 years ago)

    That’s a great story. The kitchen really is the hub of the home, especially with kids in the mix. Our kitchen is pretty messy during the week I must say, with all the coming and going of lunch boxes and churning through meals for 5! But when it’s all cleaned up it’s not bad. I reckon an island bench would be great though, as we tend to find ourselves all squashed up in the corner of our standard u-shaped design.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 24, 2014 at 6:40 am (3 years ago)

      I think the island bench really makes a difference. It gives the illusion of more space πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Shelley@MoneyMummy
    August 25, 2014 at 7:01 am (3 years ago)

    What a gorgeous kitchen!!! If we ever design a house I am hiring Dave!!! I like my kitchen but I would love it if it was bigger – a lot bigger!!! More bench space is definitely required!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol. You can never have enough bench space, Shelley πŸ™‚

      Reply
  21. Grace
    August 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm (3 years ago)

    I would love to renovate our kitchen. Ours is very white and I think it could do with a splash of colour. Just what, I’m not sure yet!
    But my ideal kitchen would be cosy and rustic. A huge professional oven would be perfect!

    Reply

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