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The Collectors

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When a Tasmanian couple wanted to incorporate salvaged pieces into their new home, Luke Davies was thrilled to take on this build.

Kerryn Ramsey

Senior Content Coordinator

When Tasmanian builder Luke Davies met a young couple at a property in Tasmania’s idyllic Tamar Valley, he was surprised at the pair’s conviction. ‘They wanted their dream house to look like it was a renovated ruin,’ he says, laughing about the challenges ahead. This refers to the clients’ expansive collection of recycled materials and vintage furniture.

As their land once formed part of a large merino-sheep property in the 1880s, they wanted the 309-square-metre home to look like a renovated shearing shed. It sits on the crown of a hill overlooking the Tamar, offering stunning views of a bend in the river, though the site is exposed and can be quite windy.

When designing this four-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling, Luke and his team at Davies Design & Construction worked closely to the clients’ sketches to create the unusual F-shape design so every room has access to natural light. The floorplan offers space to come together as a family or find a quiet space apart. The living and entertaining areas are in a quieter part of the home, while the kitchen highlights the clients’ stunning antique workbench. Carefully placed windows allow sight-lines to the river from all over the home. This includes two kid-friendly courtyards, well positioned so they’re sheltered from the wind.

The clients appreciate the valley views.
The clients asked to build a 'renovated ruin'
The kitchen mixes old and new
VJ panelled ceiling

When designing this four-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling, Luke and his team at Davies Design & Construction worked closely to the clients’ sketches to create the unusual F-shape design so every room has access to natural light. The floorplan offers space to come together as a family or find a quiet space apart. The living and entertaining areas are in a quieter part of the home, while the kitchen highlights the clients’ stunning antique workbench. Carefully placed windows allow sight-lines to the river from all over the home. This includes two kid-friendly courtyards, well positioned so they’re sheltered from the wind.

The innovative design would have been an easy build but the clients’ salvaged pieces, which they’ve been collecting for the past decade, added some challenges. ‘Every recycled door in the house was a different size and shape. But once we started building and seeing the results, it was well worth the extra effort.' 

As well as the salvaged timber doors, they also introduced recycled sinks and tapware. ‘They were really fearless with the recycled bricks and the plumbing,’ recalls Luke. Custom-made light fittings, custom-made brass plumbing, and old-school tiles added real impact. ‘In the kitchen, they added old woodworking benches. They also brought a laundry trough and old vanities they’d found on people's farms and in tip shops. Overall, they had a picture in their mind of where they wanted to use it. We incorporating all that into the brief, and the design was a bit of fun.'
Blue-mood exterior
Vintage fittings personalise the home
The home incorporates recycled bricks and doors.
The home maximises passive solar heating
Materials were chosen for their durability and low-maintenance. Galvanised cladding and bricks require no external painting. Minimised site cutting and earthworks kept costs down. ‘In fact, the finished build came in at $7000 under the agreed budget,’ says Luke.

Since the clients had a specific look, Luke and his team had compiled an intricate brief before the build started. ‘One of the core principles to a good project is to plan things out as much as you can before you start,’ recalls Luke, who first started working as a carpenter when he was just 16. ‘Since we were using different materials and styles, everything had to be customised. Even with our planning, the team still needed to make things up on the go. 

‘We made some internal doors and custom brackets during the build. Overall, it all went to plan. Most importantly, the clients weren't there every day changing their minds so that was good.’ 

For Luke, an award-winning HIA member, working on a one-off design and build is his forte. In fact, this has been his passion since his days as a child. ‘My family grew up on dairy farms, where we lived in lots of old rundown houses,’ he recalls. ‘I had a need to try and fix them up – making them comfortable. This involved real creativity in design. So as soon as I had the chance to work as a building apprenticeship, I knew this was my calling.’ 

In 2009, Luke launched Davies Design & Construction, with a commitment to quality building practices. The head office is based in the rural town of Sheffield, which is located 23 kilometres inland from Devonport. ‘Working on awesome locations and beautiful sites with great clients means you end up with outstanding outcomes.’ 
Polished concrete flooring sets the tone
A stunning black-and-white bathroom
"Perfect basin for two
"Rustic-inspired brickwork

It’s been so successful, Luke’s team is currently managing 24 projects. He’s also about to launch a debut book that will cover handy building tips. This covers six elements that can help create a dream home. 

With the shearing-shed-inspired home, the design and build took a full year and was completed on time. Its form and function is so outstanding, the firm won various HIA state awards in 2020, covering the custom built home, kitchen design and new kitchen.

Sustainability is always a priority for Davies Design & Construction. The award-winning Tamar Valley home was designed to maximise passive solar heating with north-facing windows. They catch the sun and warm the slab, which transfers heat throughout the house. This is augmented by thermostat-controlled hydronic heating under the slab. All windows are double glazed and there’s underfloor insulation. The house averages 20°C inside even when it’s 2°C outside – a real winner for clients dealing with a chilly Tasmanian winter.

When designing and building this home, Luke’s team – and the clients – appreciated the importance of both sustainability and originality. It makes this dwelling a real one-off piece. It incorporates recycled bricks, doors, fittings and timber floors, topped off by vintage works that personalises the space. As Luke says, ‘As soon as the clients moved in, they knew this was their home.’



2020 Custom Built Home, Tasmania 


Davies Design & Construction


Tamar Valley, Tasmania

Tamar Valley house at a glance

Builder and designer: Davies Design & Construction

Project manager: Will Campbell

Location: Tamar Valley, Tasmania


  • Roofing: Galvanised cladding
  • Flooring: Concrete
  • Internal walls: Brick, VJ panelling and plaster board
  • Exterior walls: Galvanised cladding
  • Interior flooring: Polished concrete
  • Joinery: Upcycled and solid timber
  • Bathroom fixtures & kitchen surfaces: Upcycled
  • Windows: Aluminium double-glazed from GP Glass

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