It’s been months in the making, but we are so excited to finally reveal the plans for our brand new house – and here it is!!
As you know we bought a house a few months ago with the aim of renovating it. We fell in love with the block, street and location and knew that the house had the potential to be what we wanted, despite it not being our ‘dream house.’ The first thing we did after we bought it was to contact Scott Salisbury Homes, an award winning Adelaide building company that I have admired for years. Seriously, 8 years ago when we moved back to Adelaide I became obsessed with looking at houses built by Scott Salisbury Homes and dreaming about us doing our own. Despite the timing not being right then it has always been something I have hoped to do one day, so seeing as they also do award winning renovations they were the first on my list to speak to about our ideas for our own renovation.
From the start they were wonderful to deal with and I was so excited to meet with our designer Peter to discuss all the ideas I had for our perfect family home. As you can imagine after doing The Block we knew exactly what we wanted and I couldn’t believe I was finally getting to design something that we would actually get to keep and live in! (To be honest, I still can’t.)
Peter immediately understood what we were after and came straight back to us with a few designs, all which were great. But after he had shown us the renovation designs (which involved keeping the three front rooms and facade and building a big extension) we where then presented with one more option – a brand new custom design house. As Peter and the team explained they wouldn’t have even suggested it if we had been set on a renovation and in love with the original house, but as they knew it was the location and block that we’d bought it for, they thought it was worth considering.
Now everyone who has renovated knows that it’s an expensive process. But even I was shocked to realise that it was actually the same price (or even cheaper) to build a brand new custom designed house as it was to do the renovation we had in mind. With an end result that would be exactly what we wanted, without any of the issues old houses and renovations bring. It seems like a no brainer, right?! But it wasn’t at first, because despite the problems they bring I do love the character and charm of old houses. And as much as I admired the modern custom homes that Scott Salisbury are known for, that wasn’t what we were after. I also didn’t want to build a new home that tried to look like an old stone home, so that ruled that style out.
But then they explained that we could design whatever we wanted, we didn’t have to stick to a modern house or a character replica, we just had to tell them what we wanted. Well now my brain was racing! What if we could build my favourite of all houses – a weatherboard? What if we could design a Hamptons meets Queenslander, meets Edwardian weatherboard, a style that is not at all commonplace in Adelaide and would be something special. Now I was excited!
For the next few weeks I obsessively looked on Pinterest, Houzz and Google, to inspire our design. I drove the streets of Adelaide and took photos of the houses I loved and tried to analyse what it was about them that appealed to me. Was it the slant of the roof, the paint colours, the bay windows, or a combination of all of three. I did drawings, I pinned pictures and then I went back to them with a completely detailed brief of what I wanted. I cannot stress how important this step is! When it comes to building or renovating in order to get what you want you have to know what that is and be able to clearly brief your designers and builders on it. So do your research beforehand. However, having said that if you have no idea what you want Scott Salisbury Homes (and I’m sure other custom builders like them) have both exterior and interior designers to help you every step of the way, even down to the colour of the carpet you choose, so you don’t have to be a Block contestant to design your own house!
Here are some of the ‘style guides’ I gave the designer for what we wanted…
After I gave them all my ideas Peter and I had a long meeting where he presented his first draft design and we went through every detail to get it just right. He even showed me visuals through their visual design system, so I could see exactly how it would look rather than just imagining it, which was so helpful. I was very specific about what I wanted, but Peter told me sometimes people make 50 or more changes before getting to the final design and I promised I would not be one of those people! I guess doing The Block and having to make immediate decisions does equip you for trusting your gut and not procrastinating about things too much. Although, there were a few redesigns! Mostly on the size of the rooms though, the front facade pretty much stayed the same from the first design, because I loved it then and I love it now.
Here it is from the back..
I actually squealed with excitement when I opened the email and saw that picture!
It might be just a drawing, but already I can feel the soul of it. I can see us sitting on the deck and watching the kids play in the pool, as the afternoon sun glistens on the white boards. I can picture how much light will fill the living area and how open and spacious that room will seem. I can see the kitchen full of people, as we throw yet another spontaneous get together. And I can imagine us watering the front garden and beaming with pride as people drive past and admire our dream home. It might be a brand new house, but we will fill it with character. We will reuse the stone from the original front facade (more of that in the next post!) so we retain some history and a connection to the old house. And I will choose the right fittings, fixtures and furnishings so it feels warm and textured.
I am beyond excited to start this process and with the original house being demolished within the month it will all get real very quickly. And we are thrilled to be working with Scott Salisbury Homes to bring our dreams to life. In fact, we have been so impressed that we have signed on as ambassadors for the company. We are very proud to be associated with a South Australian company that’s been around for 25 years and has such an esteemed reputation for both their builds and their service. So the journey officially starts now, we’re so pleased you could share it with us and will be posting about it here every step of the way. The highs and the lows! We want this blog to serve as a resource for those who are planning or dreaming about building and renovating, so you can be inspired by the things we get right and learn from the mistakes we make.
I will share our floor plan in a separate post this week, as there’s lot’s more to talk about there! Until then, I hope you like the design as much as we do and can’t wait to hear your thoughts.