- Maya Anderson

A young Perth woman had described building her first home in the northern suburbs as a rewarding, fulfilling experience. Maya Anderson reports.

For some people, building a home may not always be the most rewarding experience. But for first-homebuyer Sandie Bertrand, the setting up of her three-bedroom, two-bathroom northern suburbs home is something she can
always look back on with joy and pride.

Ms Bertrand, 23 bought her house half-built in April last year and moved in December.

“I had heard some negative stories of what builders could be like but Rosmond Homes and John Crosby who built my home, were absolutely fantastic,” she said. “They went above and beyond and helped me with stuff that wouldn’t even be their problem, I was very impressed.”

Ms Bertrand said she appreciated the fact that the builders allowed her to change the original planned features and colours in the house to suit her taste.

Ms Bertrand said she appreciated the fact that the builders allowed her to change the original planned features and colours in the house to suit her taste.

“I changed all the tiles, paint colours, floors, blinds, lights, the garden and fittings,” she said. “Under their contract they did not need to do so as I’d bought the home half-finished.”

Being new to the home-building process she said she also appreciated that Rosmond Homes were helpful in answering all of her
questions. The tiles, plumber and electrician had also been great to deal with.

Green elements were incorporated in the homes fit-out. One such example is the fluorescent down lights throughout the home that use less power, while another is the water-saving toilet in the powder room, which works by using the water in the hand basin to flush the toilet.

Ms Bertrand also requested a skylight in the powder room, to use less electricity, roller shutters to keep out heat and noise and give added security, and higher ceilings to help keep the house cooler in summer.

Wanting to save space, she looked for economical storage solutions, such as small wall-mounted cabinets in the bathrooms.

A photographer by profession, she decided on classic black, white and grey colour scheme and selected colours and furniture that would not easily date. Trendier items, such as the laser-cut stickers attached to the living area walls, were bought cheaply so the interior could be updated without too much cost.

Ms Bertrand bought the stickers, called Graffiti Wall Art, on Ebay. She had a French background and added a touch of France to her home with Paris,-inspired items including a row of framed photographs, window boxes and Eiffel Tower sculptures.

Keen to save money where she could and with an eye for a bargain, she shopped around for many of the fittings, furniture and decorative elements.

I didn’t want it to look as if all the furniture had come from the one shop so I bought some of the larger furniture items, such as lounge suite and TV unit, from different places,” Ms Bertrand said. 
“Having eight months to prepare for the move allowed me the time to look around and find a lot on sale, and I love to shop so I didn’t find that was a hassle at all.” 

After her building and furniture shopping experiences, Ms Betrand has some first-hand advice for other young people looking to buy or build her own first home. 

“Decide on a colour scheme first and before buying,” she said. “I’m a photographer and I’ve always liked, grey, black and white.” 

“My main idea is to pick the things that are more timeless and classic that won’t go out of fashion too quickly. Also go with your first instincts - you’re the one who has to live in it, so pick things in a style you like. I wanted my house to be quite simple, homely and comfortable, with a little bit of ‘me’ thrown in.”

Ms Bertrand said interesting details and focal points do not have to cost the earth - her series of four alarm clocks on the wall show the time in London, New York, Paris and Perth and were bought from Ikea. 

She said she was fortunate to have worked
with a good bank to her he loan. 

She advised people wanting to own their first home to not be scared away from buying due to the global financial crisis, but to research the suburbs they were interested in and look at facts and figures.

Contact details: Rosmond Homes, or 9440 6644