Build update: It’s happening!

I thrive on change.

If there isn’t enough change in my life I go looking for it. I dream up ridiculous projects or jump into a new career. Usually, I eat change for breakfast.

But right now, my brain has reached its upper change limit.

The wheels of change that are currently spinning out of control were actually set in motion about three years ago…

Three years ago we noticed a run down 22 acre ex sand mine for sale and went for a look. We stood on top of the last remaining sand hill, looked around wide-eyed and thought…

Imagine if we could purchase this land, rehabilitate it and build a sustainable off-grid home on it. 

It was a crazy, whacky idea you dream about, but don’t actually believe you will do.

We didn’t do anything for a while…but over time we kept gravitating back to the block. Eventually, we put in an offer to purchase subject to conditions that were unlikely to ever come to fruition. The top of the list was a planning permit from the local council.

After a long rigorous process we were pleasantly surprised to discover we had the support of the local council and the project was looking like it might get legs.


I have written plenty about the objector and the shitty, ridiculous, drawn-out objection VCAT process (read about it here), but the crux of the story is, we had to wait another twelve months to see if this land would be ours.

This meant, for the last few years our sustainable build project has been tucked away in a compartment of my brain labeled:


The VCAT process felt like a David versus Goliath scenario. The objector was making it clear they were willing to throw limitless money, time and professional resources around in a bid to stop us purchasing the land.


Because they wanted it.

There were days in the process I wanted to give up. The sheer amount of red tape, time and energy that was required felt like it wasn’t worth it. A while ago I wrote about one of  those days, the day I sat in the Lorne pub sinking White Russians bawling like a baby because the objector had once again decided to screw with our lives.

But just like a dog with a bone, I only needed to think about how unjust and unreasonable the objections were and I would keep going.

And you probably know by now there is a happy ending to this part of the story, because a few short weeks ago a decision was finally handed down by VCAT.


After a three-year process, we were finally given the nod to pull the big whacky idea out of ‘UNLIKELY’ and put it into ‘IT’S HAPPENING’.

At the time it felt like a victory of monumental proportions. The little guys won.

We were being fondly referred to as,

Kyabram’s Kerrigans!

We were wearing this title like a badge of honor. After all, we were finally going to build our castle on a hill.

However, there were still a few fairly major barriers between us and the project. The most notable of which was selling our existing home.


No use counting my chickens before they hatch. Or in this case, no use planning a new house I can’t afford unless we sell our old house.

We decided to let you guys, the Booken Blend readers in Facebook land, know that Bullara was for sale. We posted a story about Bullara that appeared in Homescape magazine and asked you guys to share it.

Then, because one of you fabulous humans passed on the details of our home, BOOM – it sold.


In a week!

At first, we were falling over ourselves excited.

Not only did it sell quickly, it sold to the most delightful young couple you could ever imagine. They appear to love our home as much as we do. They have a little girl who I can see playing mums and dads in the cubby house and bombing in the pool, just as our kids have. They want to know all the ins and outs of how the passive design principles work and the history of this beautiful old girl.

So we popped the champagne and phoned our families to share the exciting news.

Then reality set in.

My house is gone.

Someone else is going to live here.

Not me.

Someone else is going to raise their children here. Someone else is going to surround themselves with their friends and family here. Someone else is going to dream here.

I know, I know, a house is just bricks and mortar. But it’s not really. Not for me. This is the home we blended our families in. This is where we got married. Jedda was born here…

Breathe Lisa, breathe.

You know they say When it rains it pours.

Well, it’s pouring here.

In the space of one month, not only have we purchased the block, sold our current home, found a rental to move to, started building a shed and chosen a building designer (blog to come),  I have also started on a new program to help manage my autoimmune disease (Ankylosing Spondylitis) which requires me to inject myself once a fortnight.

The first injection I have to give myself is on Tuesday.

I am absolutely sh*#@ng myself.

So right now, I feel like my brain has too many tabs open. Things are out of control. I’m not sleeping well. I’m forgetting things like Crazy Hat Day at daycare (sorry Jedda).

To top things off today is a fairly significant day…my first born turns 13. We have a teenager in the house! Somebody hold me.

It only feels like yesterday he was a big blue-eyed chubba bubba.

Design Exercise 5

These days he is my long, lanky, independent, music making side-kick who is making his own way in the world.

Bodhi’s birthday is a timely reminder that change is inevitable.

Change is going to keep coming whether we like it or not. It might be gradual and sneak up on us, or it might hit us like a freight train.

But the way I see it, I have a choice. I can freak out – or I can embrace it.

It’s time to embrace the freight train.

Blend it your way,

Leese x

What do you guys think, is change good? How much is too much?

Feel free to chat here or come on over to the Facebook or Instagram page x

9 thoughts on “Build update: It’s happening!

    1. Ha ha, we might be change junkies, I will keep that in mind when I consider any future whacky projects. Thanks for your kind thoughts x

  1. Great read and congrats Lisa and Steve. I too have sold my lovely property, my child is struggling with pending change more than me (and I am struggling too) so it was lovely to read it here and see it’s normal. I will read this to her later to reassure her that all over the place people are opening new chapters and, as daunting as it seems, it is also very exciting too. Good luck!

    1. It’s a roller coster isn’t it Julie? One second I’m fist-pumping and all excited about the new project, the next I am feeling nostalgic. I am trying not to think about the last time I drive out the gate! Love that our story might be useful to you. Tell your daughter our kids are really excited to move on and try something new, although I haven’t told them the new place won’t have a pool yet!!! Leese x

  2. Can tell you for sure that your beautiful home will be well loved by the new buyers (and their sister/sister-in-law who plans to visit often!)

    1. If there is one thing that is making leaving our home any easier, it is the beautiful buyers. Love that you are looking forward to visiting! x

  3. EMBRACE!!! Its the only way. The journey full of surprises, good and bad can only make you stronger and makes for what can only be described as a brilliant story. Love it!! Congrats on selling the house. x

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