Nicole Cox is the owner of Federation era residence, Pen Y Llechwedd (pronounced Penny Lechwood) at 8 Waghorn Street, Woodend. She is also known as ‘The Builder’s Wife’ to the readers of her blog. Her home has recently been listed for sale and we sat down to discover the story behind Pen Y Llechwedd and The Builder’s Wife.

Selling your forever home.

It’s a big decision to make, especially when you’ve just finished renovating it.

Nicole Cox loves her house completely, but she loves her kids more.

At the end of the day, they need more space (and a pool) for their teenagers. She has a blended family of five children and her builder husband Adam. As the children have grown they have made the difficult decision to move to acreage.

“We had a round table discussion with the children. We come from an acreage, they want to go back to acreage,” the popular interior design and renovation blogger said.

“But. I won’t leave Ipswich. It’s home for us now. So we had to compromise.”

Nicole bought Pen Y Lechwedd back in May 2014.

“I had fallen in love with it long before we had even arrived to have a look at it,” she recalled.

“I have been driving past this house every day for the five years before it was shown to us. It wasn’t on the market at the time. We just had a real estate agent who knew the owner and we were fortunate enough to be in the right market to be able to make the right offer.

“It was in quite disrepair when we arrived, but for a builder they (the necessary repairs) weren’t that difficult, just very time consuming.

“We took six weeks to reconfigure downstairs before we moved in. When we did, we had no floor covering, no paint on the walls but we loved it.

“It was in the perfect position and it was September when we moved in, which is perfect for a Queenslander, and it felt like home straight away.”

Nicole started her blog the same month.

Nicole wanted to give women an opportunity to learn about the industry.

“It’s a really daunting process to go through, engaging a builder, whether you are building a new home or renovating,” she said.

“We’ve used the blog a lot to educate women what to expect when you sign a contact. How they should expect their builder to treat them. What you should do if you have a problem.

“There is a lot of content around for somebody looking to build, use the services of a builder, or any tradesperson. It’s all the same advice.

“It started as an online place to put pictures of my house and journal what we were doing here and it turned into 10 things.”

The idea was originally to start an online diary of what we were doing here, but it grew really quickly.

Now it (the blog) involves styling advice, it’s actually created its own business in itself.

I do lots of public speaking through the blog, I have mentor groups for women in construction. I work with HIA.

There is lots of work with girls working in the industry, in trades, because that is really hard path to go down.

The construction industry is not the most conducive industry for females.

There are going to be times for all of them in their career where they need somebody to bounce rubbish off, sit down, and have a chat, so I do quite a lot of that.”

Nicole Cox

The Builder's Wife

History of
Pen Y Llechwedd
  • The block was purchased and separated in 1910.
  • The residence was designed by the noted Ipswich architect George Brockwell Gill in 1914.
  • A previous Mayor of Ipswich, Frederick Goleby, commissioned it to be built for his daughter and son-in-law Maude and Arthur Johnson.
  • Frederick Goleby also owned a saddlery business called F. Goleby and Sons.
  • Arthur Johnson’s father F. W. Johnson, operated a coach building business and truck dealership.
  • Other families who have owed the home are: Johnson family, Gardner family, Cotman family, Denise Varigos, Slatter family, Mr Salmon and then the Cox family.
  • The Cox’s have restored many of the homes original features and made additions in the Federation style.
  • It has a library, formal sitting room, 5 bedrooms, a large garden with running stream and fire pit.
  • The wide verandas are ornate, there are pressed metal ceilings and a large leadlight, silky oak door.

Pen Y Llechwedd opened its doors recently in the Great Houses of Ipswich May 2017.

“Over 2000 came through that day. There was a point in time where the dining room and lounge room were so full nobody could actually move,” Nicole said.

“It took that one person to peel through the door so everybody could move to get through. It was absolutely crazy.

“Three previous owners came and added to our knowledge about the history of the house.”

The Cox family have been renovating right up until May this year.

Nicole struggled to be comfortable with their decision to sell and it took her a while to come to terms with why it was so hard to come to terms with.

She explains in a blog post that no matter how much thinking, the reason for her hesitation just wouldn’t reveal itself to her.

Until she went on her daily walk.

She wrote: “It came to me with a bang, took the air right out of my lungs and settled itself neatly in my heart. This house, my home, it is me.

“I have poured every piece of my creative being into our home, I have designed, painted, faffed and pulled together my soul and laid it bare in my home.

“That is why this is such a struggle.

“I can’t tell you this has solved my longing to stay here, but I am beginning to come to terms with the why.”

There will be plenty of new fodder for the blog when she starts renovating her new home.

Nicole is looking for an acreage, but not too far from Ipswich.

“I love everything about Ipswich, it’s in the middle of everything,” she said.

“One hour, you’re in Toowoomba, 45 minutes you’re in Brisbane, it’s close to Indooroopilly.

“Everything that I love is really handy to Ipswich.

“More than that, we came at the right time, the whole arts and entertainment scene is starting to lift off and gain popularity.

“Also the people here. It’s like a big country town.

“And the more people we meet, the more we find that same ethic running through the civic centre.

“It’s a beautiful place to live.”

The decision to move is the right one for Nicole and her family.

“But by Goodness, it’s painful,” she said.

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