The Builder and Design Brief

Our choice of builder has been an easy one. There are a LOT of builders to choose from and it can be a bamboozling decision. However, when you place huge importance on passive-solar and sustainable design, you’re really only left with one choice. We have decided to build with Rick Leighton of Green Homes Australia.

Rick’s values align perfectly with ours and he has, so far, been extremely flexible, helpful and accommodating. He has undertaken the almost impossible task of deciphering our wants and needs and attempting to make them work within the confines of our block and budget. He is currently putting together a design brief to take to his architect to get some concept plans drafted. Stay tuned as we await their arrival (a few weeks yet). In the meantime, here’s a rough idea we’ve given Rick…

In a nutshell, we are after a 4 bedroom, two living area, triple garage home with an attached, self-contained granny flat. The granny flat is for visiting out of town friends and family, and to enable me to work from home when I eventually return to work. It also provides a possible living option for my mother if/when the time comes and we lose Mick and my father (who also has cancer). And we’re also after a pool (our poor lucky builder).

We’re tricky clients in the sense that we actually appreciate a diverse range of building styles. After much deliberation, we have decided upon a modern look. We feel it best suits the area. We’ve given Rick photos of our previous build, which has an internal finish we love (see them here), but a facade guide that we were unable to achieve before due to restrictive design guidelines. We love timber, stone and glass both in a traditional and modern sense. To that end, here are some inspiration photos:

 

 

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Decision Made

Many would call us mad for building now at all (see intro for an inkling as to why). BUT, building is something we enjoy. Genuinely. In fact, through the horror of Mick’s diagnosis, we were renovating a house for sale and I took a lot of refuge in making design decisions, coordinating trades and the sales process. Let the record state however, that we did not enjoy moving, and we thank our wonderful friends and family for their help with that. So, one last stand then. One final move to end them all! As comfortable as our rental home is, we need permanency. We also need something to take us into the future. And we welcome the challenge and distraction. We did carefully consider buying a ready-built house, but so few of them are built to a finished standard we like and almost none are built to an insulation standard we need. We’re sick of huge power bills, of being hot/cold in our home, of having not enough or too much light, and especially of hearing neighbourhood noise. We could share some horror stories of neighbours and their barking dogs and other disturbing noise and attitudes. Given that living on 40 acres isn’t an option, the next best thing is to build a bunker. Yes, we want to cocoon ourselves in insulation, triple glazing and airtightness (well, as much as possible at least). So, whilst we considered renovating and buying new, in the end it became clear that build we must!

With that settled, the next question was where. This has been tricky. To get a block size we want anywhere relatively close to hospitals, good schools and family was pretty much impossible. Did we mention we’re in Sydney? South-west specifically. Urban sprawl has left block sizes minuscule and expensive, unless they’re further south or in an undesirable locale such as backing onto major roads. The decision of where became a delicate balancing act of location versus size. In the end we have decided to compromise slightly on size, with a 600m2 block, to get a good location. Close to family, hospitals and good schools, with a fantastic view, we finally put a deposit on a block. And so begins the design phase of building…

Dream Block 2018
Our block! (From the lamppost to green box and back to the white pegs).
Dream Block 2018 View 1
The view! (It really is much better in real life… and without fencing…)

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to our new odyssey! If you’re just joining us, here is a quick recap of our (building) life to-date…

… the first step on the journey really was our custom Dominico we built with Fairmont Homes back in 2014. Catch up on it here.

After that we got married, fell pregnant and decided that we needed a new location to raise a family. And thus began our quest to find our place in the (built) world. We renovated two houses, bought and sold a block of land and rented for a while. (And had another baby).

Then came devastating news. One half of this awesome duo, Mick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This makes the next leg of our journey absolutely vital to get right. It’s a focus for the short term, as well as a home we want to build for the long-term. To hold memories, and shelter in through the oncoming storm.

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