Monique, who has been helping to build the business ‘from day one’, decided on a whim to take a stab at entering the home into the HIA awards program in 2010. A major regional win then secured their chance at the HIA Australian Home of the Year accolade in 2011.
‘I actually apologised to the judges when they came over on the boat,’ Ryan says. ‘I really thought that maybe I was wasting their time. We went into the night itself not expecting much, and when we won both Home of the Year and Custom Built Home of the Year, I was really gobsmacked.’
While establishing themselves as a ‘go to’ local builder, the win gave the business a distinct advantage. ‘It really helped us in a competitive situation with [an] owner or architect to have the leading edge.’
Soon the win catapulted Ryan and his team on to more bespoke projects, more accolades, and more opportunities to showcase the natural environment and the materials he loved to work with. But, on deciding whether to expand or retain the volume of his business, the choice for Ryan was not what others would expect.
‘We only do two to three homes a year so I can form real relationship with my clients, to get to know them, and develop trust with them,’ Ryan explains. ‘It’s incredibly important to have a sense of understanding with one another, and it really makes it easier to put your heart and soul into creating something for them.’
Ryan adds that, for him, the journey of home building doesn’t always end with hand-over, with some of his clients now considered personal friends. Maintaining a simpler, personalised approach is something he values, and has shaped his career direction.
‘I wanted my family to have a life, I didn’t want to travel too far for work and I also wanted to provide stability for our trades and contractors. I even rented out my factory on the mainland and worked from my boatshed just so I could concentrate on what was important to my business, and be productive without distraction.’