Having already built four new homes together, retirees Bob and Ann were looking to make their final foray into the design and construction of a brand-new abode.
This time, however, the couple was looking to downsize and wanted a home which better suited their current lifestyle. Somewhere they could spend their golden years in absolute comfort and tranquility.
Bob and Ann chose bespoke builder Humphrey Homes to take on the task of designing their dream retirement retreat, settling on 636sqm block in leafy Swanbourne.
The completed home is an exquisite showcase of minimalist architecture that is low maintenance, multi-functional and flexible enough to accommodate visiting friends and family.
Bob and Ann shared some insights on their building experience.
What do you like about minimal, understated design?
The street in which we have built is beautiful and we wanted to blend in to the gentle nature of the other homes there. We were downsizing and moving just a few hundred metres from a much-loved but more complex home, also in Swanbourne. Simple, clean lines and a light and bright home with features which suited our lifestyle were the objectives and those objectives have been met in full.
Why did you want a low-maintenance home?
We have moved home over 30 times and we have built four times. We are both retired but very busy, we have no idea where we found time for work. We have reached the age of contentment and we just want to enjoy life in our amazing, friendly suburb and have time for our interests and our beautiful grandchildren.
Which features and finishes were most important to you?
Architect Helen Marchesani picked up very creatively on our somewhat vague thinking and produced a wonderful indoor/outdoor flow, which is in itself most enjoyable but also highly practical for entertaining with larger numbers of guests. Overall the high quality of finish throughout says a great deal, but does so very quietly.
How is life different to when you were living in your previous home?
Life back here in Swanbourne is a dream. We are closer to public transport, shops and our grandchildren. We are living in a smaller, but highly pragmatic and lovely home with a yoga room/ study, a sewing room, a marvellous alfresco area and beautifully landscaped outdoor areas created by Martin Cuthbert Landscapes. We don’t take our good fortune for granted.
Having gone through the building process, what advice would you give someone about to go through a new build?
Checklist the key elements of your lifestyle, interests and budget. Work through the design options carefully and make sure you have met your criteria. Humphrey Homes built within the budget we had set and that let us sleep soundly at night. Having been sensible about all of the above, go with your intuition and pick a builder/architect with whom you feel you can have an effective working relationship and where you have a sense that there is going to be mutual trust.
If you had your time again, is there anything you would have done differently?
We probably should have started this earlier than we did. We ended up selling our previous home in a pretty flat market but we are so glad we just did it and moved on to this next phase of our lives. The building experience itself could hardly have been better.
This story first appeared in The West Australian's New Homes liftout on November 2, 2019.