Unable to find an affordable house they liked, Rachael and Simon became owner/builders and designed and constructed their dream home.
Queensland couple Rachael and Simon became owner/builders in order to create their ultimate dream home.
“SIMON AND I WERE newly married, fresh out of university and looking to buy a home, but couldn’t find anything in our price range that we liked. Although neither of us had any experience or any family members in the construction industry – I ran my own music school and Simon was working for Boeing – we decided to build a house. We found a large block of land in the suburb in which we were renting, about 40 minutes south of Brisbane, completed an owner/builder course and nine months later our home was finished!
Making it real
I’ve always loved timeless, classic homes that won’t date after 10 years – particularly American-inspired homes in the Hamptons and Cape Cod styles. And I love features like a gabled roof line, wide verandahs, glazing bars on windows and weatherboard construction – they won’t ever date.
So I sketched up a house on paper and gave it to a draughtsman to draw up. I found tradesmen through the Yellow Pages, and we did a lot of the work ourselves, with help from family and friends. This meant we were able to complete the house within our budget.
The result is a classic French-chic cottage that’s relaxed and not too formal. The top level is a loft, with half height walls and raked ceilings, which houses two guest rooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom, second bathroom, study/music room, kitchen, dining and two living areas are all on the ground floor. The house is at the bottom of a hill, adjacent to a forest, and there’s always a breeze and shade in the afternoon from the trees. We made sure there was plenty of cross ventilation so we didn’t need air-conditioning.
I also prefer a “classic” style in interiors. I tend to avoid trends, and being newly married with limited finances, I had to be really frugal decorating my house. My go-to stores are Target, Kmart and Ikea – and even discount variety stores!
When I have time, I love to restore old furniture I’ve found at demolition yards and kerbside collections – I furnished one guest bedroom for about $100. I try to create an expensive look on a very small budget! And I believe every room in the house should be beautiful, even utility rooms like the pantry and the laundry – these are actually my favourite rooms in the house!“
White and timber stools coordinate with the kitchen and dining table.