Family’s build saves $120,000 on a customised Paal home

Craig and Robyn Bowen and friends built Paal’s popular Camden home on a nine acre property in Theresa Park, New South Wales, saving an estimated $120,000 in the process.

“Paal’s design flexibility was a big advantage to us,” Craig said. The couple added a double garage and a spacious alfresco area at the rear, while changing the configuration of the front entrance and main ensuite. A guest room was added and the formal dining area became the lounge-room. The front verandah was relocated to the rear, adjacent to the alfresco. A cathedral ceiling was chosen for the family room. “None of our changes to the standard Camden design were a problem for Paal,” he said. Buying the home components in kit form was another major benefit.

“The great thing was that we didn’t have to order anything extra. There was no measuring or cutting either. Everything was the right size.” Construction was spread over 12 months. Craig – who holds an electrician’s licence – tackled the building work in conjunction with friends and family, except for the concrete slab, the tiling and wet areas, and licensed plumbing, where trades were employed.

He and his father-in-law completed the framing, while another friend helped with the roofing. Robyn also pitched in, keeping the site clean and looking after their three children. Craig’s father and brother painted the house, repeating the contribution they had made to his previous home. He said, “I’m not a practising electrician now, but I’m skilled at wiring houses and understand their construction.

The build was very simple and easy. Paal were available to help if needed, but we figured it out for ourselves.”

Of the estimated $120,000 saved by building themselves, $18,500 was conserved on the roof alone. Craig, Robyn and their three young children are now enjoying their new home, which is very private and set among trees down a long driveway.

“We’ve received lots of favourable comments, including the remark that it looks nothing like a kit home, which pleases us. And yes, we would definitely think about building with Paal again.”