The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Com­piled by Erica Wat­son

A first time for ev­ery­thing

The thing about ren­o­vat­ing or build­ing a house is that, for most of us, it’s the first time we’ve done it. For the builder, though, it’s what they do ev­ery day.

While that’s ex­actly what you want when you’re deal­ing with some­thing as im­por­tant as your home, it can put you in a vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion, com­pletely re­liant on the builder for guid­ance.

And like the rest of us, builders have their own work habits and ma­te­ri­als they feel com­fort­able us­ing, which can some­times be hard to shift.

When we were ren­o­vat­ing our first home, you could say I knew enough about the process to be an­noy­ing. At least, that’s prob­a­bly what the builder would have said.

Be­cause when we got to the kitchen, I told him I was su­per keen on in­clud­ing a pull­out bench­top which, when not in use, looked like a stan­dard drawer.

I knew that they were avail­able but my builder hadn’t used them be­fore.

But I stuck to my guns and he sourced the right prod­uct and in­stalled it.

That bench­top ended up be­ing the best kept se­cret in the kitchen. With space in short sup­ply, I could pull it out when I was pre­par­ing din­ner know­ing that it would be clean and ready to go.

And with two small chil­dren keen to try their hands at bak­ing, I could po­si­tion one ei­ther side and make max­i­mum use of the space.

So th­ese days, the qual­i­ties I’m most look­ing for in a builder (aside from hon­esty) are flex­i­bil­ity and open­mind­ed­ness. Some of the best build­ing projects I’ve seen have come from teams who have never done that kind of con­struc­tion or used that prod­uct be­fore. They’ve con­tin­ued to learn on the job and have loved com­ing to site ev­ery morn­ing.

And the own­ers have the house they’ve al­ways wanted.

In­spired by mu­si­cal notes, this de­signer coat rack is a sculp­tural piece worth cel­e­brat­ing. Ar­per song coat stand, $1157, from Style­craftHOME, style­

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