Mount Evelyn Project Feature: Rebuilding A Dream

At Brownhill Homes, we are extremely privileged to work with a number of different clients – from first home buyers to expanding families, downsizers, and those looking to live out their retirement in their forever home. Every single one has a unique story – but perhaps none quite as full of anguish, hope, and excitement as our Mount Evelyn clients.

We met this beautiful family a year after a night that they will never forget. In April 2018, on a night that should’ve been remembered as a fun-filled celebration of a close friend’s birthday, they received an urgent call home. Upon returning in a rush, their worst nightmare was confirmed – their home had been engulfed in a freak house fire. They’d purchased the home two years earlier, and spent countless hours and hard-earned money renovating it and making it their own – only for it to be gone in a matter of minutes.

Navigating the aftermath

While dealing with the devastation of losing their home, Emma and Steve had to navigate the next steps in getting their life back on track. However, without the proper guidance, this proved to be an incredibly stressful and confusing endeavour.

Prior to the fire, they had evaluated the rough cost of the home and insured it accordingly, as anyone would have done. However, they were unaware that since the disastrous Black Saturday fires, a new set of laws and regulations had been introduced pertaining to future construction. Requirements around BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) ratings, landslip overlays, energy ratings, and various other concerns severely complicated their building process and led to a significant increase in costs. Unfortunately, they found out about this the hard way.

After months of struggling to navigate the endless amounts of construction jargon and regulations, rebuilding their family home started to feel like something that may never happen. Emma and Steve were exhausted, as something that should have been the light at the end of a dark tunnel was becoming a never-ending black hole.

Getting back on track

When Emma finally reached out to us, she was at her wit’s end. As someone outside of the building industry, she was tired of being expected to lead their project and decipher the complicated regulations and requirements of such a unique build.

The first thing we did was to sit down and go over everything they had done to date, including demolition, site survey, soil testing, drawings, engineering, BAL assessment, CFA approval, and a planning permit. Of course, we committed to helping them through the last few items to check off before work on their new home could begin.

We then started the quotation process, discussing everything they would like included in their new home. Emma and Steve welcomed their first child throughout this process and were living with their parents – so you can only imagine how ready they were to move into their own new home.

After a few rounds of changes to the quote, we were ready to sign contracts, and that we did. With finance approved, we were all ready to see these clients smile again!

Rebuilding their dream

However, as you may know, building a home does not come without its challenges. We started on-site and immediately found a septic tank below the ground – something they would never have known was there, nor could we have forecasted. We overcame this hurdle, a variation was signed, and we continued to work.

Up went their new home – first came the brick footings, then as the timber walls arrived on-site, it was starting to finally take shape. Watching Emma and Steve on-site taking photos and smiling as they watched their dream home come to life before their eyes was a beautiful thing, and they continuously remarked on how excited they were to finally have the process underway.

When Emma told us she was pregnant and expecting a son in February, their excitement exploded. Thankfully, the rest of the build went smoothly, and our whole team was motivated by the image of welcoming this growing family into their new home.

A happy ending

For our team, building a home is so much more than just a contract and pieces of timber.

Every client has a unique story – and we are so grateful to be a part of Emma and Steve’s forever story. To be able to bring happiness, a fresh start, and a new canvas for their life is an incredible privilege.

Emma and Steve did inform me that they had one major regret throughout this rebuild – and that was that they did not engage Brownhill the moment their house burnt down.

Thank you Emma and Steve for letting Brownhill Homes build your incredible new home. To hear their insights into this beautiful experience, watch our video here.

Get in touch with our team to start your new home journey today


The beauty of life is that it’s constantly changing – and a home that worked for you a few years ago may no longer meet your family’s needs today.

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