A grand country home that was right on budget

While their friends were all downsizing, Anna and Warwick Cottee did the complete opposite, purchasing six acres in Oxford Falls, north of Sydney and building an expansive Paal kit home. “We wanted the space,” says Anna. “We like the idea of the grandchildren seeing this as their second home.”

Initially the couple had architectural plans in place but when they were ready to go, building costs had skyrocketed. “The price of goods and services kept rising,” says Anna. “So the amount of money we thought we’d be spending ended up being almost double.”

As an interior designer, Anna knew exactly what she wanted and, by chance, saw a Paal home in High Life magazine that suited both her style and budget. “I spoke to Michael Christie (now based in Paal’s Canberra office) and that’s how we ended up going with Paal,” she says.

The couple chose the Derwent as it had the footprint Anna had in mind, including a vaulted ceiling in the living room. However they did make significant modifications. “Paal was incredibly flexible and accommodating,” says Anna.

Wanting the family room, kitchen and alfresco to have a northerly aspect, the couple flipped the design so the front became the back. They also increased the overall square footage of the house to create a grand and more spacious feel. “The hallway is almost 2m wide now and it made a big difference,” says Anna.

The couple decided against owner/building, and instead engaged Ray Collier, a builder recommended by Paal. “With the cost of the kit, the builder, the internal fit out, we were still within budget,” says Anna.

However, when it came to the interior fittings and fixtures, Anna had her own ideas: “Even though it was going to cost me more to do it that way, as Paal could do it at an incredibly affordable price, I wanted to do it differently.”

The overall build was a huge success, inside and out and the couple was thrilled with Paal. “People ask how Paal was to deal with,” says Anna. “And I say the truth that they were absolutely fabulous.”

Best of all, the couple now has a spacious home in an idyllic rural setting, close to the city, to comfortably host house guests and family functions.

“I’m so thrilled I came across that magazine,” says Anna. “I’m so thrilled Michael Christie is the person I dealt with. Overall a very positive experience and we’re thrilled with the outcome.”