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Working with a builder who understands & listens

Tanya and Richard had been in their Leeming home for about 20 years, so they kind of knew what they needed from a renovation. They’d been through all the weather seasons and lived a lot of life in the house – they knew which parts of the house worked and which didn’t. What they wanted to change and also what didn’t need changing.

Not every building company knows how to listen.

Before contracting John at One Design and Construct, Tanya and Richard had a representative from one of the more prominent building companies come out to see them, but the rep didn’t take the time to listen to anything they had to say. He trotted out some “whacky idea” about demolishing a fair bit of the house, and taking a lot of the roof off. According to Richard, “They wanted to destroy the whole house and not even try to understand what we wanted.”

John was very easy to deal with

One of their friends had renovated with 1DC, and that’s how they got John’s number. When they met him, he listened to what they had to say. They said, “John was really good at listening to what we wanted and working out how he could build what we wanted from the start. He’s just really easy going. Even when the build was going on, I would say, ‘What about this idea?’ And he was like, ‘Oh, yeah. Yeah. Sure. We can do that.’ Nothing was ever too difficult. He was just really easy to get along with and very happy all the time. Nothing fazed him, or any of his team. Also, we’d seen his quality of work from our friends who have renovated with 1DC. We’d seen the quality of work, and that was quite a significant factor for us as well.”

We lived in the house during the renovation, and it all worked out.

“The building team were a really great bunch of guys, and easy to get along with. Because, basically, we lived in the house when they renovated, so it was good to know the guys quite well. They turned up every day. It was good coming home after work and seeing what they’d done during the day. John and the team were also able to section parts of the house off so the dust would be minimised. The noise was also minimised so we could still function. They worked around and helped us out, so we didn’t go without a kitchen or bathroom for too long. Things like that. It was very well organised.”

Nothing was a drama

“I remember one night there was a very unexpected summer storm that came around eight o’clock in the evening. It started to bucket down. There was no roof on half of the house at that stage. We were running around going, ‘What do we do? I don’t know what to do.’ as there was all this building stuff out there like bags of cement etc. We were about to give John a call and say, ‘Look, there’s stuff here. What do you want us to do?’ But we didn’t need to. Within five minutes or so the guys had turned up at in the dark of night without us even asking. They probably came from their own house in the middle of dinner. They just came and sorted it all out, and said, ‘When things like this happen, we come to sort it.’ Things like that, just to double-check everything is okay. I was quite happy. It was really impressive.”

I trusted them

Tanya said, “I have to say, I trusted them. I could tell from the outset that I could trust what they were saying to me. They would give me some options and I would say, ‘Do you think that’s something I should do?’ And they’d say, ‘Well, it’s your decision. But if you do it like this, this might happen. If you….’ Rather than tell me what to do, they would give me the options and explain what it would look like. They’d give me enough information so that I could make an informed and the right decision.”

Any recommendations?

Richard’s advice is, “Do it now. Don’t wait.” And Tanya adds, “Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and ask for help. Because we’ve never renovated before, ever. And we had a rough idea of what we wanted, but not of what was possible. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘What do you think? What would you do in this situation?’ or ‘What are your ideas?’, because it wouldn’t have ended up quite like this, I don’t think if we hadn’t asked for John and his team’s thoughts on certain parts of the project. John gave us so many ideas. He even took us around to other projects he was working on so we could see what things looked like in real life, or showed us photos of ones that he’d already done. That really helped us make the right decisions and pick the right colours that we wanted and know how it would look in a particular environment.

So do you feel that it’s all been worthwhile?

Richard thinks the renovation has made a huge difference. There’s a lot more room for them to do things and it’s more modern. They definitely feel better about entertaining people now because it’s a nicer house to entertain in. They couldn’t really fit a lot of people before! And Tanya says, “Absolutely! I love every bit of it. I still love it. It’s been a year and I still, on some days, get up and go, ‘I love my house’, which I never used to do before. It turned out better than I expected it to. I’m so happy about that. It just makes me happy. I’ve got to be honest. It just makes me happy being in this house. I love being here. And I would definitely recommend John and his team, obviously.” 

View project details and the photo gallery

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