Dan and Dani Reilly have long fantasised about creating their dream home since competing on The Block and co-founding their own design and construction studio, Manna Made.
The groundwork for the home was laid five years ago, when the couple purchased a block of land in Blairgowrie on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. ‘Being heavily surrounded by vegetation and having the ocean at our doorstep is what initially drew us to the area and to this site in particular,’ says Dani.
While the location of the site was perfect, it contained a challenging five-metre incline, as well as bushfire and flood restrictions.
Dan and Dani purchased the site with an existing planning permit in place, which proved to be both a blessing and a curse. ‘We wanted to ensure that we were going to be able to build the home we were intending, without triggering the need for a completely new planning application,’ Dani explains. ‘This added complexities around approved setbacks, building heights and building footprint.’
Working with Bellhaus Design Office, Dani and Dani designed a two-storey home with visual impact externally, and tactile interior materials. The facade is clad with black-stained timber (including on the front door and garage), with textured and neutral materials indoors.
Tactility was achieved through the specification of handmade bricks by Krause Bricks, tumbled limestone tiles and pavers from Eco Outdoor, handmade Moroccan tiles from Tiles of Ezra, natural timber wood veneer from Elton Group, French oak engineered flooring from Made by Storey, and Elite Marmorino (a lime-based plaster coat) from Calce Company.
Surrounding the home is native and Indigenous planting, newly-sourced mature olive and grass trees, and a plunge pool off the living area.
COVID-19 restrictions created numerous additional obstacles during construction of the home, but the result is better than Dan and Dani ever imagined. ‘Despite significant, varied challenges thanks to the pandemic, it seemed like there was a period of unity within the building industry and the pleasure to venture to the Mornington Peninsula was not lost on anyone who was involved in the project,’ says Dani.
‘The project outcome is second to none and has far exceeded what we thought possible within the build timeframe, budget allocation, and challenges Covid presented.’
Blairgowrie House is Dan and Dani’s personal home, but it is available on occasion to book as short-stay accommodation.