A Creative Builder's Dream Home in Lilli Pilli

When a creative builder builds his own family home, the results are bound to impress.

Sydney-based Neil Hipwell runs Futureflip – a boutique building and construction company specialising in luxury family homes and duplexes (*this word sounds very American to me but I am going with it).

Not surprisingly, Neil’s own home has all the bells and whistles – not to mention one seriously spectacular outlook! Ahh, Sydney.

Lucy Feagins

The impressive house exterior. Photo – Mitch Fong.

An interior corner with light pouring in from the dynamic skylight. Photo – Mitch Fong.

A bright and airy double-volume hallway. Photo – Mitch Fong.

Vast, panoramic views are the feature of this open-plan living space. Photo – Mitch Fong.

The inside space seamlessly extends to the incredible outdoor area. Photo – Mitch Fong.

If the views aren’t enough for you, hit the pool! Photo – Mitch Fong.

Bedroom with open ensuite (that bath!) and balcony with views of the bay. Photo – Mitch Fong.

Dark, built-in cabinetry provides ample storage in this spacious, bright bedroom. Photo – Mitch Fong.

View from the top – outdoor views with lush greenery. Photo – Mitch Fong.

Lucy Feagins
23rd of February 2018

‘My wife and I knew that this would be our dream house site from the moment that we stood on this block of land’ says Neil Hipwell of Futureflip. The land he’s referring to, is basically a cliff face, facing North-West, with unsurpassed views over the Port Hacking River and across the Royal National Park in Lilli Pilli. Not bad!

Like many builders, Neil had been envisioning ideas for his own home since he began his apprenticeship at age 14. After years building beautiful homes for other people, this site presented him with the opportunity to finally make his dream home a reality.

The house is built to maximise the view, with the entire North side of the house glazed with oversized windows. Shared zones and private zones are treated quite differently here – living and entertaining areas are up high, whilst bedrooms are mostly underground to eliminate the need for excessive heating and cooling, whilst the lowest level of the home is 200-square-metres of basement space, which provides Neil’s office, workshop, and car parking.

Having been an ‘outdoorsy kid’ his whole life, Neil was very focused on creating functional, beautiful outdoor spaces that could be used year round. ‘When it came to designing my own outdoor dream space, I knew exactly how I wanted it!’ he says. Each level opens up to large outdoor areas, whilst the pool area is enveloped by the house, completely sheltered from the wind.  The yard itself sits at the highest point of the land, to overlook the house and captures the best possible views. There’s also a rooftop garden!

Being his own client was a challenge for Neil. ‘It was definitely a difficult process!’ he recalls. ‘Just to add to the pressure, my wife was pregnant with our first baby and we had just four months to build the entire structure!’ Neil was onsite every day to keep a close eye on everything, and the team worked 12 hours a day six days a week for four months to get it across the line.

For Neil, the most enjoyable part of the project has been sitting back and seeing how his family interact with the dream home he had been imagining for so long. ‘As a father and an obsessed builder/designer, I’ve always dreamt of the moment that I could do this, and be able to use my passion and experience to give my family the perfect house’.

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