‘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’.