A House to Call Home
Where we choose to live can sow the seeds for what it means to be a family. For Jeremy and Jeannie Quinn, building a home in Glenlyon set the foundations for life’s blind-sighted moments—the stuff memories are made from.
We meet at Jeremy and Jeannie’s latest property in Richmond, an architectural splendour of the late Victorian boom style, that was once owned by Eureka Stockade rebel turned politician Peter Lalor. “We’ve always lived in Richmond, so we’ve never really had a backyard,” explains Jeannie, “We had a bit to do with boomerang ranch because the girls love horse riding.”
Although, reclined on a sofa among ornaments drenched in history, Jeremy and Jeannie’s heart remains at the end of a winding track in Glenlyon where they built their country escape; Gabion Hill. “We’ve owned that property for seven years and it still has the same effect it had when we first built it,” explains Jeremy with a sparkle in his eye.
“Daylesford has become a strong part of who we are. If we had my way, I’d live up there in a heartbeat. I like the environment. I like the country lifestyle; it’s easy going and relaxed,” says Jeremy, “When you get out to the country and you sink your feet into the dirt, there’s something that just does it for me.”
It was roughly eight years ago, while holidaying at a friends country property in Broadford, that the couple got a taste for natural wonder, “we looked out the window at the lush paddock with cows and thought ‘this is so beautiful,” Jeremy completes Jeannie’s sentence, “And we thought we’ve got to do this one day. We have to find our own little slice of dirt.”
After twelve months, they found their block and moved in. “There was a little shipping container on there, so we lived in that for a while,” smiles Jeremy, “It’s funny because that was probably a more interesting experience than building the house. It forced us to be outside.”
Jeannie remembers enthusiastically, “The kids loved the shipping container...it was like camping. We were eating baked beans off a barbecue setup, sausages in white bread, only had a tap beside the container. And always had a campfire going.” This experience sparked the ideas that would culminate in the design of Gabion Hill, they wanted their home to recreate the sensation of being outside—and the bond that blossoms when your outside with friends amongst fauna.
“We basically wanted something that was all glass, if we could have put a glass box there we would have,” explains Jeannie, “But of course there needs to be some structure to hold it all together.”
Neil Architecture proposed a construction technique that packs loose rocks into wire bags, inside it feels as though the home has been naturally erected and from the outside, it weaves into the local environment. The result is a pavilion-style garden-box that favours natural light and open space. Gabion Hill comfortably invites ten guests, housing four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“When you sit on the couch, because the land falls away quite quickly, you actually feel like your elevated above the ground,” Jeremy explains, “You look straight through the trees and down through the creek flats. It’s a unique feeling.”
The monochrome interiors accentuate the outdoors, albeit the odd splash of yellow—an ode to the black wattles that bloom into a bright yellow. Although the focus is on the outdoors, both Jeannie and Jeremy have rediscovered the moments that matter inside.
When Jeremy’s grandmother passed away, the family splintered. “The gatherings were always at her place,” explains Jeremy. A few years later, Jeremy and Jeannie decided to host an annual Christmas in July event at Gabion Hill. “They're a bunch of diverse personalities, but something about our place glues them all together,” he says smiling, “There’s nothing you have to do, but talk to one another and just relax. Go for a walk, pat the animals, make a coffee or play a board game. It forces you to do the things you're supposed to do.”
For Jeremy and Jeannie, Gabion Hill is a natural return to the elements modern life distracts us from. A house that brings to life the elements of what a home really means; living with family. “At one point I had all three of my children just lying on me, the kids are all talking to you..and I thought this is quite nice,” Jeremy looks over to Jeannie, “One of those moments, that you’ll remember. Even though they’re just chatting and being silly.”
Gabion Hill - Jeannie Quinn