“When I grew up in Newcastle, Teralba seemed to be so far away, but now it’s some of the closest land there is to Newcastle if you want to build,” says David Howard, the builder and owner of a new display home in Teralba
Their main office, Graph Residential, is in Adamstown, but for the time being, he and two other colleagues work out of the display home’s six-by-six metre two-car garage.
The house will be a display home for the next three years, and they’re building three other homes.
Their point of difference is that their homes don’t come with a suite of different design plans from which to choose. Rather, Howard and his builders sit down with the architect and analyse the block and the direction of the sun to get the best results. They built this display home in the passive-solar style, with north-facing windows.
“(For this house) the western wall has no windows at all, so we’ll never have the problem of hot western summer sun. It’s going to be naturally more comfortable,” he says.
When they built the display home, he and the architect wanted a house that sat well on the land. It’s a split-level single-storey with an outdoor eating area, tall ceilings and a generous entry way.
“It’s designed to be a house that ticks all the boxes – four bedrooms and two living spaces, an open living area and one area that could be a theatre, play room or studio. The master bedroom has an ensuite and a walk-in closet. The three other bedrooms are private from the living space. We have a walk-in pantry closer to the laundry. We’re really happy with it,” he says.
The skillion roof is a modern feature; it’s a seamless build that most builders don’t offer.
“It looks really fancy, clean and neat, not an awkward split,” Howard says.
“The architect does all of that.”
All of the current interior design was selected and displayed by Freedom Furniture.
Howard believes the backyard, and the big bifold doors that open up an entire wall, will resonate with people. Either side of the house has a walk-through area.
The winter and summer outdoor areas add functionality to the house all year long.
“On the northern side of the house is nice little deck,” Howard says.
“It’ll still be nice and warm in the middle of winter to read the paper, the sun will be there all day during winter time.
“Then the bigger al fresco area is the southern side; it’s covered and will be cooler in summertime, there’s a big table where you can eat outside with your family.”
He said that often, until you live in it, you don’t really appreciate how comfortable temperatures can be.
“We get a lot of people coming to build with us and we’ll ask them if they think if it’s too cold or too hot in winter,” he says.
“So many people say one or the other; either too hot in summer or too cold in winter. We’re trying to bring in the sun in winter and keep it out in summer. It keeps your energy bills down and it makes the home more comfortable.”
He said many of the houses in the area were project homes where floorplans were just put on the block. If you built this way, you were likely to get it wrong, he said.
“It just takes a bit of thought,” he says.
This house was also really good for entertaining.
“Our first social event here was last Thursday during the hailstorm. It started right as people were getting here; it was super loud,” he says.
The inside is all hard surfaces, meaning rain-drenched people didn’t do any damage. He said they fit more than 50 people in the space quite comfortably.
The area where they’re building is called Billy’s Lookout.
“It’s obviously going to be a new house community, and there’s something really nice about that,” Howard says.