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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Rowe BA Hons MDIA

Your New Project Home | Tips

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

‘Project Home' or 'Boutique Home' – Do I select my home from a catalogue, or do I build a one of a kind custom original ? . . .

As an interior design consultant with experience in both the boutique or custom home building industry, and the volume or project building industry (catalogue homes), the question posed is well worth considering before making any moves to build your dream home, or investment property. And the answer may surprise you.

Choosing a top 'volume' builder to construct your home, is actually not about choosing a 'one-size-fits all'!

Straight up, if you are a person with many design ideas when it comes to the interior and exterior of your home, you may have held the belief that you could not engage a volume builder because they just offer a one-size fits all? … ie. may I have a pickle with that?

But you may be just as surprised as me to learn (coming from a lifetime of boutique or custom built homes, project managing, one-on-one client based service), that the highest rated volume home builders in Australia offer so much more than my preconceptions about the limitations had led me to believe.

Yes, the options are limited to some degree when you invest in a specific package with specific inclusions, as this caters to a price point based on the companies’ ability to purchase the standard inclusions in large volumes.


Do your research and add on particular Promo offers, and the value for money is quite outstanding.

Add to this, the variety of homes or ‘products’ to choose from, inclusive of the basic plan, plus the opportunity to choose your favorite façade from numerous designs on offer, and your dream home is already coming together in a neat lil’ package with a price tag to fit your budget!

Spec home, or a spectacular array of home designs to choose from ?

In the volume building industry the top companies have a variety of homes to suit the diversity of budgets and design requirements across the Australian demographic, likely many more than you ever imagined.

And, it is not just the Floor Plan of which you have dozens to choose from, there are a selection of potential facades you can choose from associated with the selected floor plan, the standard inclusions for that particular range, along with upgrade options both structural and in reference to the fixtures and fittings that round off the whole package.

The different packages offered are generally centered around first home buyers, expanding families, retirees and investors, but there is really something to suit every budget. The home packages are as diverse as the target groups themselves.

The most popular Home Packages sit within the mid-level homes with customers either choosing to stay with the standard inclusions and promo offers, to those who choose to upgrade everything (including the kitchen sink, and mixer tap) to obtain the luxe level they are looking for.

The designer brands are at the table. . .

You may also be unaware that the top volume builders carry the high end brands based on exclusive partnerships with luxury global brands such as Gaggenau, Siemens, Villeroy & Boch and Caesarstone with a range of finishes from 2-pac to laminate to match any custom cabinetmaker.

It’s actually the diversity of designs, fitting and fixtures that took me by surprise when it comes to volume building, along with their alignment to quality global brands, and their lifetime structural guarantees. For instance, it overrides the small boutique builders and small volume builders that may not be around to honor any lifetime guarantees. The number of home building companies whether boutique or volume that go into bankruptcy each year is to be noted, do your homework and choose wisely.

You've already made the move to build from a catalogue, but what's next?

So, let's say you’re on board the with a project home, you have selected your Floor Plan, your Façade, your std. inclusions and your Promo Packs, the next step is a 3-4hr Studio Appointment to select all your interior and exterior materials, finishes and fittings.

In the Studio Appointment you will choose such things as:

· The material used on the roof (ie tiles or colorbond, rotary roof vents, gutter, fascia and downpipes)

· Your Front Entry Door design, size, paint or stain finish, clear glazing or translucent.

· The Caesarstone for your bench tops,

· The configuration of your Island Bench

· To the wall hung vanity or a gun metal Zip Tap,

· and the list goes on…

Do your homework…

The point is the selection process offers far more than you may have considered, yet naturally there are limitations, so your homework is to research standard inclusions, promo offers, and suppliers linked with the volume builder, all information which is readily available.

If you do your research and your favorite tapware supplier or undermount sink supplier is not included or you can’t have the design detail you have been dreaming of when you finally build your dream home, a project built home may not be for you, I’d highly consider a boutique home builder who will work with you one-on-one to build your dream home. But even then, with a project builder and their high-end products/homes, much more time and individualized service is available.

Working with a volume building company is about surrendering to what is on offer, and not making it about what is not, for in fact, there is so much more than most of us have dreamed of.

Preparing yourself for the Studio Experience.

So we come to the Studio Experience – (and yes, it is actually possible to complete most homes in 3-4hrs due to the resources available in the studio and experienced staff) but…

What I have observed is that many people come unprepared to their appointment.

When clients book a design appointment with a Boutique Home builder / architect or interior designer they often come well prepared and well researched – there is a level of expected responsibility, however, I have not observed that same level of commitment with many of the customers preparing for their project home Studio Appointment.

Often the customer then feels somewhat overwhelmed by this part of the process. Don’t get me wrong, most studios have highly trained interior designers to support the process of selection for the customers as mentioned, but the stress could almost be fully removed with the customer making a deeper commitment to the process. Afterall, it is your home and no one can make all the design choices for you.

Here's my recommendations for preparing for your Studio Appointment:

1. Study the documentation, studio selection guides, brochures, promo inclusions given to you by the Building Company. ie. Specifically what is included, who are the suppliers, and what are the potential upgrades.

2. Book in / take advantage of your guided Studio Tour by collecting colour samples and brochures, asking questions, and hanging around after the tour to do a walk through alone as it can be a lot to take in on the first run through. If this cannot be attended in person, take a virtual tour.

3. Visit the company’s Display Homes – these offer a great visual aide. Note: colours and finish that inspire you, note the Front Entry door; note the stair design; the roof colour; etc. Again, if not in person, the company’s website will be an excellent resource.

4. And lastly Google, Insta, Pintrest, collating images of both exterior and interior designs and finishes that you wish to emulate in your home.

This preparation will support you and your Interior Design Consultant to deliver the project Home of your dreams within the allocated time frame. Again, if you are one who to and fros over the design decision-making process, then a Boutique build may be your best option.

Overall, I have actually been both inspired and amazed by the top Volume Building Companies in Australia. Not only the diversity of design options and brand alignment, but also the process of actually building with a large-scale builder from start to finish. From the support from your initial Sales Consultant, to your Pre-Site Manager, to your Interior Design Consultant, to your Building Support Coordinators, to the Construction Team to Hand-over, and the speed with which all this occurs, means you can be in your brand new home in record time.

If you haven’t already, before you start your Boutique Home Build maybe take another look at the Project Home Building industry, it just may surprise you !


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