Expansive home for the perfect location

Jon and Sarah Dunstan dreamed of creating a home to befit their magnificent block of land in Hartley, west of the Blue Mountains. They decided that Paal’s Richmond design best suited their vision and budget.

“We came across Paal a couple of times during our search and asked them if we could modify their standard plan,” says Jon. “They said we could. So, with these changes and the right costings, it worked out well for us.”

The couple wanted a generous floor plan in order to accommodate family and friends, while making the most of the awe-inspiring views.

Bedrooms and walk-in-robes were all increased in size, as was the pantry. A triple garage and a utility room were added.

They chose to orient the vaulted ceiling in the kitchen area at 90 degrees to the house length. While Paal had never done that before, the change wasn’t a problem. “They were happy to do it,” says Jon.

He and Sarah started out as owner-builders, but due to time constraints eventually employed a builder, with Paal giving ongoing assistance as required.

“Their ability to get in there and give us technical back-up was really good. Our builder found them easy to work with as well.”

Paal’s flexibility helped the couple to make the house completely off-grid – a significant accomplishment for such a large home. Features include boilers in the fireplaces that heat the concrete, well-positioned solar roof panels, and double-glazed windows.

“A grid connection was going to cost $50,000 and then we’d still have to pay bills,” says Jon. “I haven’t spent even half that, plus we don’t have any bills.”

Jon and Sarah are thrilled with their new home, which they say is perfectly suited to both their lifestyle and the picturesque surroundings.

“Unless you actually come to the house, it’s hard to understand why we built exactly where we did, and why the house has to be that size. But if you put in a home half the size, you wouldn’t be doing the view justice.”

The couple’s original plan included a 25-metre lap pool before they decided to forego the extra expense. Now Jon feels he has no choice: “The house is finished off so well, we’re going to have to put in the pool!”