Hailey McGinty and Glenn Wilkinson first met seven years ago when they trained together in the same squad, and their healthy appetite for competition and team spirit hasn’t let up since. In July 2014, Hailey and Glenn broke ground on building their dream home together in Sunshine Coast, Australia. As a project manager for a commercial construction company, Glenn’s knowledge and skill, mixed with Hailey’s eye for design (which is showcased further through their housewares and furniture business), made the challenge and restrictions of building on a smaller lot an enjoyable one. From pie-in-the-sky thinking and conceptualizing to accounting for every nook, cranny and corner, they managed to take a 210-square-meter lot (about 2,260 square feet) and transform it into the house of their dreams, completely customized to how they live, what they do, and how they function.
Lovers of the ocean, sailing and paddling, and with a penchant for designing, building and renovating, location was top-of-mind when searching for a place to call home. When they found this empty lot — a stone’s throw away from canals that link to the ocean — they immediately began rolling up their sleeves, eager to purchase it and start constructing. While the thought of building a home yourself is daunting for most, this wasn’t Hailey and Glenn’s first time working on a building project together: “We have very similar design ideas, which makes planning and building a stress-free activity,” Hailey says, “and we thought it would be a great challenge to build on a small block.” As one of the first houses to go up in this newer area, Hailey and Glenn unknowingly fostered their own community, which has attracted many similarly-eager and adventurous couples, who’ve all since become great friends on top of being neighbors. Hailey comments, “We were building at the same time as our friends next door who are also in the construction industry, so it was great having other people around to have fun with when we were working into the wee hours on a Saturday night!”
When it came to the interior of the home, the three months they spent planning and designing ended up going out the window! “I had originally planned a really light and bright interior scheme with pastel colors,” Hailey says, “but [by] the time we’d finished building we had a black house! The design really evolved as we went along.” But because they were building the space themselves, the couple had the luxury of being able to change their minds and tweak as they went, and 16 weeks later, the building of their dreams came to fruition. A mix of styles and filled with things they simply adore, their interior design was based around their love of timber and texture. The strong use of black is bold, but the open flow balances it out, resulting in an inviting space that’s light on furniture and heavy on built-ins. While some aspects of their home may not be for everyone — namely their open-plan ensuite and bedroom, their black toilet, and ceiling-mounted mirror in the bedroom — as Hailey says, “for the way we live, it is perfect!”
At the end of a long day spent by the ocean, Hailey and Glenn are grateful that they had the ability to create their own home by hand. “I’m thankful for the late nights laying the timber floor boards, the long days carrying the tiles and bricks,” Hailey reflects. “All of this has made us appreciate every brick, tile, painted wall, and each floorboard in our home.” Though the home is new, the story and hard work behind it gives it character — but perhaps even more importantly, walking down a set of stairs they designed and made themselves brings the couple a great sense of accomplishment, making each day a toast to their teamwork. —Sabrina
Photography by Jason Smith