Kicking off retirement with a challenge

Tom and Pam Haskins had no plans to build a home when they retired – until a six-acre block in South Isis changed their minds. “We liked the area,” says Tom. “It’s close to everything and close to the beach, yet in a rural setting.”

The couple explored building options and eventually found Paal. “I’d been looking at steel frame homes and was very interested,” says Pam. “And Paal had a reputable name.”

The couple met with Mauree at Paal’s Caboolture office and chose the Windsor as they liked the design and were able to adapt to suit their vision. “Paal was very good,” says Pam. “They’re more flexible with being able to move rooms and walls.”

Despite having little building experience, the couple went owner-builder, a daunting yet satisfying decision. “We got a lot of trades to help along the way and Tom and I did the rest,” says Pam. “It was a big job, but we’re happy we achieved it ourselves.” It was also a choice that proved cost effective. “We estimated we saved about $60,000,” says Tom.

The couple customised the design, firstly by raising it off the ground. “It’s on a slope, so the lower end is about 600mm off the ground and the other about two metres,” says Tom. They also added an al fresco area, extended the verandah and opted to render the exterior cladding. “We also put the colour in the render, which was better than rendering and then painting,” says Tom.

“The instructions were very good, and Mauree and Jamie were very helpful,” says Tom. “I only had to ring the Sydney office a couple of times and had great support from them too.”

The couple was so pleased with the process, they’ve suggested Paal to others. “We’ve recommended Paal to a couple of other people who’ve gone with them and have been happy too,” says Tom.

It may not be how the couple planned to start retirement, but now they’re enjoying their beautiful home in an area they love. “Probably a bit crazy at our age,” says Pam. “But you’ve got to take a challenge now and again.”

And they certainly rose to the challenge. “We’re happy with it,” says Tom. “We’re pretty proud of what we’ve done.”