Couple kick off retirement by building their own home

David and Lisa Stuart wanted to design their own home – and thanks to Paal’s flexibility, they got exactly the outcome they wanted.

With retirement just around the corner, the couple decided to put off their plans to travel around Australia and instead build a house from scratch. To get more for their money, they left Brisbane for 10 acres in Severnlea, near Stanthorpe.

“One of the boxes we needed to tick was a new home,” David said. “We went to the home show and saw a few designs, but they were not what we wanted.”

With help from Mauree Grace and Jamie Thomson of Paal in Queensland, the couple discovered the popular Elizabeth design that offered the flexibility of a floorplan they could adapt, a budget that suited, and freedom to build at their own pace.

Although the Stuarts had no previous building experience, they rose to the challenge. “It’s a hell of a learning curve,” said David, but there was advice along the way from a builder friend and a neighbouring roofer. And Paal was always at the end of the phone

“It was easy just to ring up and there was someone who could talk you through what you were doing.”

The couple made unique modifications, such as raising the home up off the ground to capture the breeze as well as the stunning views. They added an alfresco area and verandah all the way around, turning the home into a modern Queenslander.

The kitchen was changed dramatically with the addition of a huge pantry, measuring by 4 metres by 1.6 metres. “Lisa is a baker and she now has a stall at the local markets,” David said.

The redesign also separated the kitchen from the family area, creating the perfect spot for the grand piano.

The couple were thrilled with the Paal building process and the final result, as well as being proud of their achievement.

“My wife and I are very fit now,” David said. “My golf has improved out of bounds!” With an ideal home to suit their new interests and lifestyle, they’re looking forward to the next chapter.

“We wanted to design our own home, with input into how it turned out. We also wanted to give ourselves the massive satisfaction of saying that we built this ourselves. This is exactly what happened.”