Emi and Jenny wanted a tree-change and to be part of a local community, so in 2008 – having scoured numerous towns in regional Victoria – they bought a block of land close to the centre of Woodend. Over the next two years, they built a house and made the move from Newport with their two daughters. Emi, a carpenter by trade, co-owns the building company Elite Homes Melbourne. Jenny runs the canteen at Woodend Primary School.
What’s the story behind your business?
“I started as an apprentice carpenter in 1984 and worked as a carpenter until 2010, when we moved to Woodend and started Elite Homes Melbourne with my friend Peter Stepic, who’s a plumber. We’ve won four Master Builders awards, including a national title in 2014. One of our houses in Woodend was the best custom-built home in Victoria ($400,000-$500,000) in 2016.”
Emi's award-winning development in Woodend
What inspires you?
“To satisfy a need in the community. The reason we came to Woodend to start developing homes was because I saw a need. I knew there were going to be smaller estates coming up where the volume builders could accommodate first home buyers. But I could see a lot of seniors wanted to downsize from farms to quality custom-built homes and there was a real lack of those in Woodend.”
What does home mean to you?
“Warmth! Home is security and comfort. The great neighbourhood we have – we are so blessed with our street. We always stick together and watch out for each other.”
What’s a typical weekend like for you?
“Emi often works on Saturday mornings. Then he does the lawns and garden. When the weather gets warmer he wants to go camping and fishing with the kids. Our youngest daughter plays soccer for Gisborne on Sundays. We also go to Western Bulldogs games at Etihad Stadium. And we enjoy entertaining family.”
What do you love about Woodend?
“Every time we go up there we are gobsmacked. It’s so grand and unique and secluded. The kids love it there.”
Woodend Primary School
"It's like our extended family. I've been involved with the school for over seven years as a parent, volunteer, committee member and now an employee."
“When we moved here it was all overgrown. Landcare have done an amazing job to restore it.”
“We take the kids there for walks and to go fishing.”
Woodend Swimming Pool
“It’s great for the kids in summer and a great meeting place for mums. It’s safe and secure and everyone knows your kids.”
“My hairdresser! I go there once a month. The girls are great!”