Allie’s BuildHer Story

A story of optimism, designing your outcome and building a ‘dream team’!

Whether to knock down and rebuild or renovate is so often a question that we ponder and struggle to find the best answer to. When we are looking at creating our home it is tricky as there are no clear answers, no definitive solution to what is right or wrong…  Allie Harris is one of BuildHer Collective’s fabulous DevelopHers and did find a solution on how to resolve that issue. She built a team around her to make her build a wonderful and enjoyable process!

Allie’s BuildHer story started when she and her husband Owen brought a lovely ‘fixer upper’ in Thornbury. They had the same dilemma that so many of us have where we are starting to make a plan for what to do! Knock down and rebuild or renovate? They had a finite budget, so needed to work through each of these scenarios BEFORE they started putting pen to paper so they know they were designing a house that was right for them from the beginning.

Photography by SpaceCraft

Within a week of actually purchasing their home, Allie, rather proactively had already begun speaking to builders and designers and had engaged her dream team! None other than Shaynna Blaze and Matt from Elevate Building Group. Allie had seen them on ‘The Block’ and instead of thinking how nice it would be to work with them she had reached out and started a conversation.  When asked, why she chose Matt, she remarked, ‘ He was the one builders on the show that people kept on complimenting and he seemed lovely.’  You see Allie, is fantastic a creating a teams and managing teams and her model of working with a builder from the beginning was to ensure she was in control of the build the whole way through.

Top tip!    

Understanding the construction process means that you can manage the build and create a level of certainty from the beginning. It will not suit everyone, but working with the right builder and designer concurrently can give you clarity on build cost along the way and provide for value engineered solutions as you design.

Allie and her team had the same bumps that people often do when navigating the design and build process. The budget was stretched before they broke ground. But the team was in play and her builder, Matt from Elevate, was able to suggest structural changes that allowed her to save money on items you just don’t see. That way, they were able to keep all the fixtures and finishes. The things you want to be spending money on.

At BuildHer we love this type of ‘value engineering’ and it comes from understanding that there are many ways to achieve similar outcomes. By understanding all the different levers that you have, what different items cost and working with a team you are able to ‘Design your Outcome’ so you choose what is important to you.  There is no right and wrong when it comes to building, and because there are many ways to build you can be inadvertently adding cost on things that are not important to you!

One of the things that will strike you about Allie is her immense enthusiasm! It may actually be her superpower! She is a lovely and optimistic person and she whole heartedly believes in taking care of her people. So much so that her spreadsheet that she used to run the build included a line item for coffees and snacks for her build team as well as a document that lists all her trades, names and the coffee that they drink.  Yes, Allie is a fan of an EPIC spreadsheet!

We remember seeing Allies plans from the beginning of the build, which hats off to Elevate building group was not that long ago! Allie would bring them along to the Q&A’s and discuss the details, resolving the floorplan and the finessing the finishes it was clear she was on a mission, and was open and wanted to get as much advice as possible.  She kept an open mind and when she thought there could be a better solutions she chased it down.

Top Tip:           

Don’t be afraid to ask. Want to work with your idol and amazing TV super designer, Shaynna Blaze, well it can’t hurt to reach out!  Looking at your plans and want to know how you can get them to that next level, ask for help. 

Allie is a natural when it comes to managing a build and delivering a high end product! Her home is gorgeous and she has done such an amazing job of pulling it all together.  She was able to get the lovely stone bench, all the amazing joinery, beautiful timber floors, skylights in all the right places because she really worked her budget and her team.  People often feel that you need to be hard lined to get a great outcome on a building site, but Allie is yet another example how showing up and bringing your best loveliest optimistic self can motivate everyone around you to want to work with you!

When we spoke to Allie about the advice she would give to other BuildHers she spoke about:

  • Work with a builder from the beginning – this is how she achieved her ‘design on budget’
  • Bring optimism to site and take care of your peoples!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – if you love someone’s work then reach out!
  • Be part of an amazing community of love and support! (Yes that is us!) – yes you can reach out to us too!
  • Know your budgets and understanding worth, spreadsheets are everything!

‘Spreadsheets are everything!’ We too love a spreadsheet at BuildHer Collective and we have many tools for managing your build.  So many people put their head in the sand and don’t manage the numbers on the way through, but this means you are making emotional, reactive decisions without having all the information at hand. Great tips Allie! 

See Alli’s property listing here.

Contact Nigel Harry for more details on 0412 464 116.

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