Mel and Chris received the keys to their new Hotondo home, located in Nowra, NSW, in December, 2018. An open, light filled home, it’s perfectly designed for everyday family life and has a warm, welcoming feel as soon as you step through the front door. We spoke to Mel about her experience building with Adam Sturt and the Hotondo Southcoast team, and we also received some insight from Hotondo Southcoast about the build.
The Search for a Builder
Because of the location of Mel and Chris’ land, which is in a flood zone, they thought most builders wouldn’t build for them due to the challenges of the land’s location. After looking at a display home on the South Coast Mel and her husband Chris had actually signed on to build with someone other than Hotondo Homes and were waiting for the tendering process to be finalised. When they finally sat down with the builder to pay their deposit, they were told the price had gone up by a whopping $30k. The builder couldn’t offer any explanation for this, and were quite uncooperative when Mel and Chris asked for an itemised pricing list to try and identify where the huge price increase had come from. They decided to look elsewhere and rang a slew of other builders in the area, but were quoted even higher prices which they found odd since they wanted to build a modest three bedroom home.
Mel rang Hotondo Homes Southcoast and after explaining her situation to the team in the office she was put through to speak to builder Adam Sturt straight away. Mel says, “Adam was very straightforward from our first conversation and said we should come in for a meeting to chat about what we wanted.”
Adam was able to sit down with Mel and Chris and give them an estimate based on their dream home vision, then suggested they meet with their draftsman to finalise the design so he could price it properly for them. Hotondo Southcoast’s quote matched Mel and Chris’ budget and their decision was made. Adam tells us that they showed Mel and Chris a few designs that would suit their blook and the flood zone and they loved the Killalea, which was modified to comply with council requirements. “We looked at the Killalea design, and made a few modifications to suit our requirements,” Mel said. “I really wanted a skillion roof, and having a window over the staircase was really important to me because I don’t like dark passageways and stairs. Adam was able to suggest the perfect placement for the window so that lots of natural light came in. Actually, he was great at suggesting things like the best placements for all the windows!”
A few changes had to be made to meet council requirements because they are in the flood zone, so the ground floor of their home had to be non-inhabitable. “Our ground floor is made up of the garage, laundry, and a storage room that also functions as a play room for our daughter, Ava. The best part is that it’s not visible from the street, which is great!” Adam says “We modified the design to comply with flood zone requirements which included double brickwork downstairs, and used flood compatible materials. We also included a solar system in the build to make it a more energy efficient home.”
Mel tells us that due to their land being classified as a 1 in 100 year flood zone, the floor must be a minimum of 1.6 metres off the ground, which was no problem for Adam and his team to work into the design specifications. “The only issues we had were with the council to be honest,” Mel says. “ Adam and Kayla dealt with all of it and kept us in the loop the whole time, so the communication between us and them was fantastic, even if the news was not so good. They would let us know and also tell us how long it would take to fix as they liaised with the local council. We didn’t have to deal with any of it, which was great.” The local council insisted the home be built with a concrete sub-floor which would have added $25,000 on to the cost. Mel told us that Adam was able to go back to the council with a record of homes in the vicinity that were built with timber joists, and they backed down and allowed Mel and Chris to built their home the same way.
Working With the Team
Mel says that the entire team was wonderful to deal with. “We wanted to do our own flooring, and Adam was happy for us to go in and do that before the kitchen was installed. We also got to do walk throughs anytime we wanted, and our foreman was wonderful. We couldn’t fault them!” Mel and her family were actually renting a home on the same street they were building their home on, and she said it was exciting to walk past the home and see the progress every day. “A lot of the neighbours also commented on how quickly their home was built compared to other ones in the area, and how tidy the job site was throughout the build.”
Adam tells us that the clients wanted a home they could entertain in, which consisted of an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area which would also flow through to a large external deck area. The clients’ colours were selected with the in-house colour consultant, and the home features a modern bathroom with matte black fittings to give it a unique feeling.
Mel, Chris and little Ava got the keys to their new home one week before Christmas in 2018, which was the best Christmas present they could have received! “Everyone said ‘oh, you’ve got your perfect new home, so Christmas is at yours this year!’” When we asked them how they’re going in their Hotondo Home eight months on, Mel said ““Thank god we had a bad experience with the other builder because I would hate to be living in that home now. I love our house! I used to go and stand out the front and stare at our house. People must have thought I was a total weirdo!” Adam and the Hotondo Southcoast team said “Mel and Chris were amazing to work with! They were just so willing to help and so understanding, and they worked with us the whole way with the build.”
Congratulations Mel, Chris and Ava! We know you’ll enjoy making memories in your beautiful home for many years to come and we’re so pleased to hear how much you love living in it as much as Hotondo Southcoast loved building it for you! If you’re looking for a builder to help you bring your dream home vision to life, head over to the Hotondo Homes website today to search for a builder in your area.