Foundation system

The foundation of a forever home

Entering residential construction for the third time, Shelly and Richard Attiwell are seasoned professionals who have used their vast knowledge to build their forever home in Attadale.

Considering whether to renovate or build, the couple opted for the latter and worked with Summit Homes to create a custom design that makes the most of their unique block form and bush reserve views.

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

What made you decide to rebuild a house?

We were living in an older house in Winthrop and were considering renovating it, but the calculations didn’t match up in terms of cost versus return, so we started looking at other properties, including vacant land.

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

We lived there for a short time 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 meeting with design and build consultant Michael Klaver went very well and we were impressed with his experience and hands-on approach.

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

How was the design process?

We started with our own sketch which we brought to Summit Homes.

Since a major asset to this block of land was the view of the bush reserve, we decided that an upside down layout would make the most of the views and lifestyle.

Proximity to the reserve gave us the added challenge of bushfire building requirements to contend with, which effectively dictated the location of the front, set back from the street.

We also had to take into consideration the unique shape and size of the block, having only 400m² of land to work with.

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

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

What were the essentials?

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

A large balcony at the front of the house maximizes the view with a whole wall of sliding glass doors between the living room and the balcony to facilitate entertaining.

Another key design element was Grandma’s apartment on the ground floor. Apart from the common laundry room, the granny’s apartment is independent from the main part of the house, with its own access and backyard.

What are your tips for first time home builders?

Do your research. It’s probably the biggest investment you’ll make in your life, so it’s worth spending a lot of time choosing a design, choosing a builder, and finding the right pitch.

Use a builder that has been around for a long time and hasn’t over-committed itself to the point that it can’t service its customers and risk going out of business.

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

Consider spending a little more on areas that can save you money in the long run, such as the amount of insulation in your roof and walls or installing a rooftop solar system.

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

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

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