our home build journey - the planning phase ♡ – The Home Planner Co.


our home build journey - the planning phase ♡


After 2 + years of tiny living with our 4 kids in tow, we are about the begin the construction phase of our home-build – a family-home, designed to capture the essence of our coastal / rural lifestyle, with a dash of our love for raw materials. I wanted to document our self-managed pathway, in-light of inspiring any fellow DIY ‘rs to spark their inner Project-Manager, and tick that self-managed build off their bucket list too! 

A home-build all starts with your wants and needs, your home inspiration…. and of course, your budget, right? So I’m going to share with you, what these components have looked like for us - the home of The Home Planner Co. - throughout the planning phase of our home-build.



5 bedrooms
2 bathrooms

North facing
Raked ceiling
Timber floors
Indoor + outdoor fireplace
Large living space / home ‘hub’
Indoor / outdoor living flow
High ceilings
Separate lounge / rumpus

We have 4 little boys (6,4,2,1), so space (and layout) was an important factor for the planning phase of our build. I can’t bring myself to say ‘forever home’, but we do plan to be in this home for the duration of our boys living at home - over periods where they will want their own space, and friends to hang… I dare to say, free of adult company. Our home is some-what C shaped, with the 4 boy’s having a bedroom each. This takes up the better part of one ‘wing’ of the home, whilst our bedroom can be found on the opposite wing. 

The two areas of the home that we felt were most important to us were; 
1. the kitchen/dining/living or the 'hub' of the home, as this is where we will spend most time as a family - eating and talking together
2. the indoor/outdoor portico area, as we love entertaining and just know it will be a well used space in our home


Beau and I have always been drawn to the alpine styled homes found in Queenstown, New Zealand - where we got engaged 8 years ago. 30-degree sloping roof's, homes that blend to nature - clad with raw materials including timbers, stones and encompassing a combination of blacks and all of the beautiful earthy tones.

We knew we wanted black vertical James Hardie axon board for a sleek look, with a touch of feature timber for our cladding. We had been advised that we needed to opt for a hardwood to protect the longevity of the home - so we went on a search to find a perfectly toned timber product to clad our new home. Out of this search we came across a thermally modified timber product named Abodo. Designed to age gracefully, we opted for a blonde finish named  Sioo:X.  

Steel is a material that holds a special place in Beau’s heart, as fabrication was previously his trade. Because of this, we thought it would be fitting to incorporate some steel work into our family home. This has seen Beau dusting off some old gloves and fabricating two exposed steel portals - one to be in the hub of the home which will run the line of our raked ceilings, and a second, that will externally frame our view of the Whangarei harbour.

We plan to roll with an industrial interior theme – lots of natural light, with dark features, and neutral undertones – relaxed, homely and a little wabi-sabi



  1. Queenstown
  2. The beach home of Kip & Co. founders James & Hayley Pannekoecke
  3. @abodotimbers
  4. Architecture by @deathbyfrybread
  5. Our initial floor concept design was one that we had seen on a housing company website which we fell in love with, and tweaked (actually a lot in the end) to suit us!


Budgets. A topic I will touch on marginally as it affects each and every home-build or renovation / remodelling project… even Grand Design contestants have budget woe’s right? 

I usually do our finances, and I kid you not, our last home-build (back when I was 22) was budgeted down to the $1000. We actually came in under budget, just enough to buy ourselves a new fridge and an aircon unit, ha!

Something that we noticed on our home design journey this time around is that some home designers will sell you up right from the start as they make a % of the total $ value of the home build. Firmness with home designers around budget is KEY.

Your budget will make or break the long-term satisfaction of your project, and it needs to be carefully considered at the planning stage. Smart choices, and spending within your means. We have a well set out budget, which we established at the beginning of our journey (obviously utilising The Home Planner Co. Budget Manager - link below), to ensure there will be no loose ends or financial surprises throughout our build. 


Managing our budget this time, to this point, has been a fine balance between, doing the things NOW that we know we will wish we just did in 5 years-time, and sticking to the budget that we have created - which will allow us to achieve some other longer term goals. The art of choosing the real wants and needs… or should it be needs then wants?... 


There were absolutely some negotiations to be had throughout the planning process of our build. One of these was ceiling height. We would have loved to have gone for a 2.7m stud height, but settled for 2.55m as this was a more affordable option, but still achieved the open feel that we wanted. 

The second negotiation in this stage was that we purchased a good condition second hand outdoor fireplace - which meant that having the two fireplaces (indoor + outdoor) could fit our budget.

These were the two biggest negotiations in our planning phase, however I am sure there will be more budget driven compromises to be had coming into the interiors phase of the build. Eeek. 




We spent a lot of time perfecting our plans, months - actually close to a year - and we are thrilled with the final design concept that our home designer has produced for us.  He has captured all elements of importance to us, whilst staying within the home-build budget that we had provided him with. We feel confident that we have collaboratively created a space that we are going to enjoy living in as a big family for years to come. 

And that's a wrap for the planning phase of our journey WOO! - we are so excited to begin our construction next week. 

We're really looking forward to sharing this journey with you, in the hope to both inspire and document the use of The Home Planner Co. resources. Remember you can always check out our freebie on the website if you've been thinking about building and you just aren't quite too sure how to get the ball rolling (link below).


Feel free to drop us a comment if you have any questions 

Chat soon, Lauren & co. x

Leave a comment