I've been obsessed with finishes since I started. I'm very particular about the way that I like things, the little details that people don't see. If I was putting pipes in under the house I would make sure it's perfect, even if people don't see," Guy Bunder, of Made Architectural Constructions, says.
Bunder is the man behind two remarkable new builds in Merewether, and he and his team have been flipping houses for several years.
Last year his award-winning four-level home made headlines.
"The black house" received attention and sold for more than $2 million. This year, he's living directly behind it in his latest build, enjoying the view of the trees and the sky.
He's here with his partner, Madeline Fitzgibbon, who runs Author, a marketing consultancy.
Bunder worked with Space Design Architecture when building their current house.
"In terms of size it's pretty similar, but it's a completely different colour palette. The other house was quite masculine," Bunder says.
He wanted different touches on this one.
Enter the four-bedroom, three-bathroom house and you walk through the minimal modern kitchen with concrete dining table into a lounge room with huge windows and treetop views.
The double-glazed windows appear black from the outside, offering privacy and eliminating noise from the road.
"It's so beautiful, you lay on the lounge look at the sunset" Fitzgibbon says.
The view draws you in, and the three split-level staircases are also a feature. You can't immediately tell how huge the house is, but it is big.
Bunder has built a reputation for his staircases and this one is massive. The main staircase is steel and the lower one timber. Bunder built them after being inspired by the staircase at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).
Limestone is used throughout the house. The bathroom floors are concrete (which Bunder loves) with crackle "kit kat" tiles on the wall and brass tapware. The baths are from Concrete Nation and they've made sure the cabinetry complements the concrete basins.
The blackbutt timber floors throughout are stained black. The cladding is blackbutt timber as well, and the kitchen, laundry bathrooms and walk-in are all Queensland Walnut timber. They used reclaimed bricks from Sydney and painted them white.
The downstairs lounge opens to the pool and barbecue, adding a holiday vibe to the home.
"I wouldn't say I have a style in particular, we let the style dictate the house," Bunder says.
"To a certain extent, I like super minimal, clean lines, monotone. I hate mismatched materials, I like to keep it consistent throughout."
All the houses they have built have been low-maintenance and user-friendly. The Palm Springs-style landscaping is self-watering and features low-growing cactuses. The mineral pool is easy to maintain and good for the skin.
"We give them high-end houses so they don't have to go through the heartache and it lets us put our own bit of style on it as well," Bunder says of his clients.
The couple are happy living in the house at the moment, but will probably eventually sell it.
Fitzgibbon says the house would be perfect for a family.
"You could have three kids, it's about having that separation and the retreat upstairs," she says.
"The house has such simplicity that any kind of furniture will work. It's minimal so that anyone can put their own touches on it."
She thinks it's rare to find a builder with Bunder's style and opinions. Clients value his attention to detail.
"The architect will tell the builder what to do. Guy comes in and offers above-and-beyond service," Fitzgibbon says.
"All the little things add up."
Bunder takes pride in what he does, but is quick to mention his team's crucial role in the project.
"There's some great trades in Newcastle, my team especially. If anything, it's them that deserve a plug. Simon, Jade, Lachlan and Jack; they were core team that made this build happen," he says.
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