The foundation for a forever home

Erick LopezThe West Australian
Shelly and Richard Attiwell.
Camera IconShelly and Richard Attiwell. Credit: Supplied.

Jumping into homebuilding for the third time, Shelly and Richard Attiwell are seasoned professionals who used their wealth of knowledge to build their forever home in Attadale.

Weighing up whether to renovate or build new, the couple decided on the latter and worked with Summit Homes to create a custom design that made the most of their unique block shape and the views across to the bush reserve.

The Attiwells spoke to New Homes about their experience and shared some sage advice for prospective homebuilders.

What made you decide to build a home again?

We had been living in an older house in Winthrop and were contemplating renovating it, however the calculations did not stack up in terms of cost versus return, so we started looking for other properties, including vacant land.

We were lucky enough to find this block of land with an older house already on it.

We lived in it for a short while to see what the area was like before deciding to build a new house.

Why did you choose Summit Homes as your builder?

The decision to go with Summit Homes was due to a combination of factors – the company has been around for a long time and it has a good reputation.

Our first encounter with Design and Building Consultant Michael Klaver went really well, and we were impressed by his experience and no-nonsense approach.

The Style Studio by Summit on Leach Highway also promoted what Summit Homes was capable of in terms of quality and finish.

What was the design process like?

We started out with our own sketch that we took to Summit Homes.

Given that a major drawcard for this block of land was the view across to the bush reserve, we decided an upside-down layout would make the most of the views and lifestyle.

The proximity of the reserve gave us the additional challenge of bushfire construction requirements to contend with, which effectively dictated the location of the front, set back off the street.

We also had to take into consideration the unique shape and size of the block, having just 400sqm of land to work with.

The design team remodelled our sketch somewhat to suit our budget, however the overall intent remained the same.

We were happy with the final arrangement – a fresh, contemporary look with a flat roof and modern facade.

What were some of the must-haves?

One of the driving factors for this house was it was going to be our forever home. We wanted to stretch the budget to achieve the best design and finish we could afford.

A large balcony to the front of the house maximises the view with a whole wall of sliding glass doors between the living area and the balcony for ease of entertaining.

Another key design element was the granny flat on the ground floor. Other than the shared laundry, the granny flat is independent from the main part of the house, with its own access and rear courtyard.

What is your advice for first homebuilders?

Do your research. This is probably the biggest investment you are going to make in your life, so it is worthwhile spending a significant amount of time choosing a design, choosing a builder and finding the right land.

Use a builder that has been around for a long time and has not overcommitted themselves to the point where they cannot service their clients and may risk going under.

Invest time in the detailed planning – consider the electrical layout, location of doors and windows, selection of fixtures, kitchen cabinets and the like.

Think about spending a bit extra on areas that may save you money in the long term, for example the amount of insulation in your roof and walls or ensuring there is provision for a rooftop solar system.

Don’t just think about the house in isolation – plan the landscaping and outdoor living areas in the early stage, even if you intend to build them later on.

Finally if you are building a long-term home, think about your life and family situation 10-15 years from now and create a flexible design – kids will eventually leave home or you may have elderly parents staying with you.

CONTACT Summit Homes, 9317 0141, www.summithomes.com.au

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