Building A New House
May 30, 2014 10:49 pm
We've been avid readers of this site for the past six months and have gained so much useful information & so many great ideas over that time. Now that we're finally committed to our own build we figured it was time to try and give something back by sharing our journey & experiences.
By way of a bit of background, we're first time builders. With our kids almost all having left home, we had been looking for a house that would suit our circumstances - comfortable; low maintenance; a quiet location; a pleasant outlook; small enough when it's just the two of us, but with enough space to accommodate regular visitors; versatile enough to see us into our old age etc etc. We'd found a few places that ticked some of the boxes but nothing ideal. We'd almost resigned ourselves to staying where we were - the house wasn't that bad after all, and we do like the neighbourhood. But then we happened to see a vacant block of land advertised.
It was a recent subdivision of a much larger block, and was principally an old tennis court. It was in a quiet cul de sac; faced north; was a reasonable size; and even had a small frontage on to a golf course. As it's very rare for vacant land to be available in the area we took the plunge, convinced that we'd be able to build what we hadn't been able to find.
Whilst we were clearly taken by the positive characteristics of the block, we hadn't been totally blind to its problems. Not only was it a rather odd shape, but there was an easement running down one side. Additionally, the part of the block with the nice views was about 3 metres lower than the rest - and below the minimum legal level for building due to flooding.
So off we went to do the rounds of the builders and display villages. We very quickly learnt that most of the volume builders couldn't adapt their standard designs to give us what we wanted, and it became apparent that if we wanted to make the best of the house and the land we'd have to have a custom build. There was much heartache as we came to grips with trying to design something suitable; coming to terms with the true cost of building; compromising on a number of things; etc etc. There were even a couple of occasions when we questioned if we'd done the right thing in buying the land, but after about six months of refining our design and talking to numerous builders we have finally signed a contract with a local builder - and are feeling pretty comfortable and glad we persevered.
Currently the full set of plans are in the process of being drawn up, but I'll try and attach a plan of the block to give an idea of what we've got. I'll provide an update in a week or so once the house plans are finalised, and will also perhaps try and upload some pictures of the land and the work we've had to do in preparing it for the build. In the meantime we'd welcome any feedback or advice, and would be happy to answer any questions.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell2
May 30, 2014 11:06 pm
Don't despair on the shape of your block - a friend of ours with something similar has landscaped has spectacularly.. I'd arguably say it's more interesting than a standard rectangle block.
Sucks about the complexity of building on it. Fingers crossed it goes well.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell3
Jun 04, 2014 10:20 pm
Thanks for that brissyguy - we really do appreciate the comment. We keep telling ourselves that the end result will at least be interesting, but it's nice to hear something similar from others.
We clearly are nowhere near as advanced as yourselves with the build, but are expecting our finalised plans in the next few days so will post them here then.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell4
Jun 04, 2014 11:34 pm
We looked at Steve Parcell, and they were so helpful but unfortunately just too far out of our budget. I hope you have a great build with them, have heard many good recommendations
2014 - Prepping to build the Soho 4 with Plantation homes, industrial style
2009 - Built the Brampton with Coral Homes
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell5
Jun 05, 2014 9:44 am
You mention that you intend to remain in there till old age, so that means you're pretty much restricted to a single storey home, which means your options are somewhat limited to what you can build on it, so it certainly locks you in to a customer builder.
The good thing about the block is its unsual shape which could give you an interesting looking house.
Keep us up to date with your build.
BTW, what council area are you in ?
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell6
Jun 07, 2014 9:07 pm
Hey Jess. So looks like you've decided to do it all again eh! Like the look of the place you're about to build. We too started off thinking of double storey but for a number of reasons ended up on one level. Glad to hear you too have heard some good stuff about Steve Parcell. We had a good feeling about them from the word go, but looked at a number of different builders over the past six months before making our final decision. Because we really couldn't make a standard design work with our block we had to go with a custom design and when we compared like with like, we found Steve Parcell to actually be very competitive, even with those who advertise themselves as being low cost. We're feeling confident about the build and are looking forward to it very much.
Brendan - we're in the Brisbane City Council area. I really do envy you, as my long held wish has always been to owner build a house. Whilst we've told ourselves we won't want to move from our new place, I guess watching the build will either bring home to me that it would be too much for me to take on - or else it will really whet my appetite! I'll be following your build with interest.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell7
Jun 08, 2014 1:09 am
This looks like it's going to be interesting!! Actually your journey sounds a lot like ours, especially finding a house size that doesn't feel too big when it's just us but also spacious when we have visitors. We also only wanted a single story that had to be built a certain way for the block conditions. Look forward to seeing your plans and following your build.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell8
Jun 08, 2014 6:45 pm
I've also heard good things about Steve Parcell. In fact, my sister's boyfriend's parents are currently living in a home built by them in Springfield Lakes, and it looks lovely inside. A few years old as well.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - house plan9
Jun 10, 2014 9:54 pm
Hopefully I've managed to attach copies of our house plans and how it sits on the block. As you'll see, we tried to keep the house very simple with the focus being on the living area & deck. People have told us we should have included an extra bedroom; a study; a media room etc etc in order to protect the resale value, however we felt we wanted what suited our own needs best rather than someone else's. We're hoping resale will be the kids' worry not ours!
Will try and post some photos of the block shortly.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - House plan12
Jun 11, 2014 5:32 pm
Looks like a really clever design and your main living area is going to lovely. Is that the north side? love the big verandah as well. Very nice and nice to see a builder create a plan just for your block.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - House plan13
Jun 11, 2014 8:23 pm
Your plans look lovely, especially with the veranda. As for resale, it has three bedrooms and two living spaces, which is pretty good, so I wouldn't be concerned by it at all.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - House plan14
Jun 14, 2014 11:18 am
Thanks for the feedback folks. Yes the deck faces north and towards our nicest views, which is why we particularly wanted to put it there - even if it did complicate the build a little. You're right joannek - one of the reasons we chose our builder was that he too was keen to build something that took best advantage of the block. In fact when we first approached him with a plan of the land and asked him what he might be able to do for us within our budget, he said he couldn't really tell us until he'd been out to the block with their designer to get a really good feel for it. Most others we approached didn't think it necessary to visit the land, and just presented us with a design that either didn't take advantage of the positive attributes of the block, or overlooked its complications. Our builder had visited the block three times and revised our plans seven times before we ended up signing with them - all without having to make any commitment of any sort on our part. No doubt these costs are ultimately incorporated into the contract price, but it was reassuring to know we weren't obligated in any way at that stage.
Having finalised the plans, we're now at the stage of selections which seems to be taking shape quite nicely. The one thing we're still undecided on is the flooring in the main living area. We think it will get a fair bit of traffic with grandkids, dogs etc so had intended tiling. It's been suggested however that a laminate 'wooden' flooring would be sufficiently hard wearing and would be in keeping with the rest of the house and the area we're in. It looked very impressive in the showroom but I want to know what others think of it, so I'm off to start searching the threads & blogs here to get an idea of its pros & cons.
Re: Brisbane build with Steve Parcell - ready to start?15
Oct 23, 2014 2:04 pm
Well whoever said that building can be a slow and frustrating process at times wasn't far wrong! Having spent a while finalising our plans and going through our selections, the last couple of months have been taken up with footing designs and certification.
Our soil test came back as 'P' as we knew it would given the extent of fill on the block. The depth in places is more than 3 metres so we're going to have alot of rather deep piers. In addition, the engineer wants to tie in the footings for the slab and suspended parts of the house, which will require the removal of part of a large retaining wall and construction of another. The builder & engineer went to great pains to explain what extra works were required and why - which made the additional costs just a little more bearable!
Once that had been agreed it was off to the certifier where we ran into issues due to the back part of the block having been affected in the 2011 floods. After alot of too-ing & fro-ing, and great help from the engineer, that was finally sorted, and our plans have now been approved. We're hopeful of a start on site within the next week or two.
In the meantime, thought I'd post a few pics of our block. This is how it was when we bought it...
with the tennis court matting removed (which incidentally we knocked out on Gumtree for $800)....
with the fence and lights removed....
the concrete slab being removed....
the lower part of the block at the back which has caused us grief (but which we love as well)....
and finally, hopefully ready to go....
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - House plan16
Oct 23, 2014 3:18 pm
Hi thebrolga - curious as to what you decided on the floors in the end. Also wanted to echo some of the previous comments that I love the plan! Definitely maximising the block! What about the shading from the 'roof' on the verandah? Will that impact the northerly aspect (and winter sun)?
You may have seen in my thread the laminate timber floors we chose.
Definitely will be following your build too -- looks exciting!
Brisbane build with Steve Parcell - ready to start?17
Oct 24, 2014 4:01 pm
Hi yvonneh. Having considered numerous options, particularly the Quik Step laminate, we ended up plumping for ARC bamboo on the floors. Deciding factor really was that friends of ours got some laid recently and we loved it. Still tossing up between Coffee or Champagne colours. Your choice looks so good though that it almost makes me think we should re-consider!
Yes the roof on the deck will certainly limit the amount of winter sun getting into the house. It was a bit of a trade off really - as we anticipate spending a heap of time out on the deck, we really had to have it covered for protection from the sun the rest of the year. Hopefully it will work out OK.
Re: Custom build in Brisbane with Steve Parcell - House plan18
Oct 24, 2014 4:46 pm
I love this build, i cant wait to see it progress! I think its going to be a wonderful home, something different and not run of the mill. I love it already and it hasn't even started
First Home Build
2.5 acres of paradise
Thread - viewtopic.php?f=31&t=75192
Re: Brisbane build with Steve Parcell - ready to start20
Nov 05, 2014 8:59 pm
Thought I'd come check out your thread after your lovely comments on mine. It looks like you've already been through some dramas already! It's great you stuck with it and have found such a perfect plan for the block. That north facing deck will be amazing. Very jealous!
I hope things start to pick up pace now and look forward to following the progress
Our build thread: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=69984
If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
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