Jo Twaddell, Toby McIntyre & Family

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Today we visit the Elwood home of optometrist Jo Twaddell (of WINK Optometry), her husband Toby McIntyre (a physiotherapist) and their three young boys, Fred, George and Angus.

You wouldn’t believe it, but this home is brand new. Designed and built from scratch after their much loved previous home was irreparably damaged by a flood, Jo and Toby’s house has been thoughtfully designed, with a subtle nod to the 1940s home that stood here previously. Robust materials and clever, versatile floorplan make this the perfect home for one very busy young family.

In February 2011, Jo Twaddell and her husband Toby McIntyre found themselves knee deep in water. The Elwood Canal had flooded into neighbouring streets, and their much loved little 1940’s house was flooded. After the water subsided, they spent months trying to dry the place out, but soon admitted defeat and decided to re-build. They spent 3 years living elsewhere whilst a new home was designed and built. Two and a half years ago, they finally moved back into a beautiful new home on the same block (built 85cms higher than the old house!).

The pair worked with local architect Sean Van Der Velden of SVDV Architects, also enlisting their friend, Leigh Ellwood of Leigh Ellwood interiors to assist with interiors. Another friend, Kate Patterson of Kate Patterson Landscapes assisted with exterior landscaping.

This is a home designed for family functionality. ‘The hallway is long and wide for our three boys to burn some energy’ explains Jo. ‘It’s not particularly big, but the spaces that Sean designed for us are all so usable. Nothing is precious, the brick walls are so forgiving to knocks and bumps so the kids can play freely’. Tongue and groove timber wall panelling, Victorian ash rafters and solid american oak floor boards all lend a robust texture to the interiors.

Jo is an optometrist – her business, WINK, in Elwood, is a favourite amongst lens-wearing locals! Through her shop, Jo has built an incredible community of creative clients and friends, and it’s through this network that many of Jo’s favourite artworks and household items have been found.

‘I meet many wonderfully creative people when they come to WINK for their glasses, and I’ve made a few contra deals!’ Jo says. ‘For instance, my amazingly talented friend Emily Bush made the lightbox in the living area. She does all the graphics for WINK – all the stuff I have no idea about!’ Similarly, Melbourne artist and WINK client Miranda Skoczek (Jo’s ‘favourite glasses wearer of all time!’) is represented here, as is sculptor Lisa Roet.

‘I like to shop locally, and collect bits and pieces. Elwood Village has everything I need … I don’t venture far’ Jo says. Most of Jo’s soft furnishings and ceramics are from South Village Trading in Elwood, much of her kids stuff is from local store Naughts and Crosses, whilst other accessories are from The Grumpy Swimmer bookstore (‘he does great gifts and accessories for us bigger people’ Jo says).

When asked what she loved most about living here, Jo has the best answer! ‘That I live here!!’ she says! ‘I still can’t believe it. I guess in hindsight it’s a good thing the flood made us rebuild. You spend so much time at home while the kids are young… it’s just such a functional house.’