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An Australian Farmhouse with a Malaysian Twist

Posted Saturday, August 27, 2016

A little while ago, I wrote a story on the home of Etica Studio designer Carla Karsakis who downsized to a one-bedroom ‘apartment’ on a 200sqm inner-city infill block.

These days a lot of Perth people are downsizing and building on blocks that are smaller than they ever traditionally were. But we are definitely still seeing the opposite - people wanting to escape the traffic and noise of suburbia to build on a big country block, wanting loads of space, a big garden and the peace and privacy that a big block can bring. And with our population getting older and studies showing adult children are now living in the family home for longer, many families are designing their new home to cater comfortably for older relatives or adult children.

Just like the couple I am featuring on here today. Hock Lim Tan and his wife Wendy Lam have been living in Willetton when they decided a tree change was in order. They bought a big country block (2.6 hectares) of cleared bushland in Jandakot and started looking for a builder to build their dream house for them and their two young adult sons, Jian Wen Tan, 21, and Jian Hao Tan, 18.

Hock and Wendy wanted a house that would be a nod to their Malaysian culture but in a modern setting, with a lovely traditional Australian farmhouse exterior. Their dream house checklist included a prayer room, a formal visitor arrival zone, guest quarters for their frequent visitors and two kitchens in the main house - a traditional Malaysian wet kitchen as well as a big dry kitchen. The house also had to comfortably accommodate them and their two young adult sons for years to come, as well as have plenty of space for visiting friends and family to stay.

At first, achieving a house like that did not look like it was going to be easy. While a lot of people would love to design their dream home from scratch with an architect, it’s not always feasible or affordable – and project home builders on the whole have a bit of a reputation for not being open or able to make changes to their existing designs and floor plans.

But Hock and Wendy were to be pleasantly surprised. They had looked at numerous builders but decided on The Rural Building Company simply after meeting New Homes consultant Joel Merrin at a display home in Southern River, where they clicked with him immediately. “Joel is very, very nice!” laughs Wendy. “I would say we picked The Rural Building Company because of Joel. We went in and talked to him and he was very friendly.”

Hock says they felt like Joel would go above and beyond to deliver the house they wanted. “We immediately felt very comfortable with him,” he says. “And we are so very happy with the house and with Rural Building… we would recommend them very much.”

While some builders refuse to change a floor plan, Joel says The Rural Building Co. was more than happy to make changes to one of their existing designs, The Faversham, to give Wendy and Hock a house that would perfectly suit their needs.

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