Un­able to find an af­ford­able house they liked, Rachael and Si­mon be­came owner/builders and de­signed and con­structed their dream home.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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