02 4934 1400 Remodeling and Home Design


Valley Homes has been building Australian homes since 1982. Over the years we’ve built affordable first home buyer housing, acreages, duplexes, and custom designed homes, some of which have been recognised with housing awards.

Our suite of services has been expanded to include large scale multi-house developments, such as defence housing projects and over-50s luxury estates. This expansion has proven to be an exciting and successful shift for Valley Homes’ expertise in greater Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

The property market in Australia has been shifting for some time towards both a high-density model in and around city centres, as well as the demand for entirely new suburbs to be created in the surrounding regions. This has opened up new opportunities for investors and developers to cater for this dual type of demand – requiring a builder that is experienced in multi-unit as well as multi-house builds.

People living in greater Newcastle and the Hunter Valley are in a fortunate position to choose between high density dwellings or choosing the idyllic lifestyle of a large backyard and fresh air, as provided in the new suburb builds currently being developed in relatively close proximity to the city centre. Valley Homes is an experienced new suburb builder with extensive private building knowledge, as well as years of working on government large scale projects. We have seen the benefits first-hand that these new suburbs offer for the investors backing them, as well as the new residents who get to enjoy them.

Of course, having the drive and the funds available to finance a new suburb build are paramount, but having a reliable and highly experienced multi-dwelling builder on your team will greatly impact your investment’s bottom line. Local information

and resources can make quite a difference in the efficiency of project management, as well as the ability to source from premium suppliers and contractors. This makes Valley Homes perfectly positioned to continue to build multi dwelling builds in greater Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, particularly as our past successes demonstrate our ability to complete projects on time, on budget, and finished to a high standard.

Experienced with large scale projects

From rows of beautifully appointed two storey terraces, affordable single storey duplexes, through to large scale, multi-phase developments, which require adhering to strict design guidelines and timelines, Valley Homes knows the ins and outs of a new suburb builder whether in the private or public sector. Through government-backed housing projects, such as our recently completed regional defence housing builds 5 stage, 200+ dwelling project, and the current construction of the over-50s lifestyle estate Tallowood Medowie, Valley Homes has gained experience not only in building incredible houses, but also building infrastructure to ensure each new suburb has the potential to become an outstanding community. This includes designing and creating shared spaces, as well as communal landscaping initiatives.

The strength and stability required for multi dwelling projects

Of course, knowing your builder’s experience level is vital, but in addition to this we understand that economic stability is just as crucial. Which is why we’re proud to say our business is financially well-positioned and highly secure to take on large scale projects. Our Capability Statement is available upon request and outlines the measures we have in place. This information should provide investor-developer confidence in Valley Homes’ ability to complete large scale projects, whether single or multi-phase, and means investors can be assured they will be moving onto the sales or property management phase of their project as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

Tallowood lifestyle estate

Booming market opportunities

Valley Homes’ head office is situated in Maitland, giving easy access to builds from greater Newcastle through to the Hunter Valley and beyond – which is a huge benefit to this highly sought after property market for large scale investors. The region is growing rapidly and building tastes are evolving, making multi-dwelling new suburb builds highly appealing for both locals and developers. This demand is supported by the fact that overheads are much lower in these regional areas in comparison to larger cities, yet the region has a very healthy economy and employment record – meaning top sales and rental figures can still be attained. Plus, recent government legislation changes have also streamlined some of the approval processes, meaning less red tape and more reasons to speak to experienced new suburb builders about getting your multi-house development underway.

For a copy of our development Capability Statement and to arrange a time to meet and find out just what our experience can do for your bottom-line, please get in touch.



Quality construction is our speciality.

Construction only or design and construct – we’re keen to make your chosen site shine!

Whether you have architectural house plans already drawn up by an architect or draftsman and are looking for a respected Hunter Valley builder. Or if you are at the beginning of your house design process and want to organise a builder to take care of both design and construction. Either way, Valley Homes’ suite of building services, including home plans and pricing, can be tailored to your needs.

Design with site specific data in-mind

We have a team of design specialists working in-house, as well as a selection of home plans and pricing that can be customised to suit your block of land. All key information gathered about your property through site inspections, surveys and geotechnical reports, can and will be used to customise your design to ensure a smooth construction process follows – on time, on budget, and as you dreamt it.

display house home build design plans

The importance of site surveys and reports

If you have already engaged an architect or draftsman it is likely that you have already completed some important early steps in the planning process. However, if you are approaching a builder as your first point of call, because they offer both design and construction services, just as Valley Homes does, you may not have taken the step to get your reports and surveys done yet. This is a step we recommend you complete earlier rather than later.

This is because the site information collected during surveys and reports will form the basis for some critically important elements of your build. They will impact not only the aesthetics of your house plans, but also site preparation requirements and chosen building materials, which will impact your final budget. Having this information early can help streamline your house design and overall build process – whether your builder is hired as a construction only service or not.

Some of the specific information that will be gathered will include the exact slope of your block, the soil type, and what natural elements need to be considered, such as trees, rock etc. As well as surrounding elements such as the bushfire risk, stormwater run-off, and service connections. Not forgetting solar access, site breezes and orientation that also need to be taken into account. So it soon becomes very obvious that if you have this information early it will save your architect or draftsman and builder time in the designing and tendering phases.

Why our home plans and pricing can be trusted

As local Hunter Valley construction experts, either engaged as a construction only service or as a full design and build provider, we always demand a high level of detail in all designs, whether provided by an architect or our in-house teams. This means that the costs outlined for construction in all our tenders to clients are incredibly reliable with very minimal chances of unexpected surprises and variations occurring during the build.

Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes kitchen open plan

We know that building your new home is a significant investment and we know that you also want to be getting value for your build. So if a house design has been signed-off to move into the construction phase, we will be highly confident that we know all there is to know about your site and any requirements have been addressed in the final house plans. We will have created a construction schedule with this information in mind and have selected construction materials from our local Hunter Valley suppliers that suit your unique site and house plans.

Budget is one thing, but customer satisfaction says it all

When researching which Hunter Valley builder you will award your new home construction to, it always pays to ask questions about previous builds. After all, you will want an experienced builder known for achieving great results. Valley Homes has an extensive history of building homes in and around the Hunter Valley and Newcastle, with a collection of testimonials and a building gallery to prove it. If there’s a specific previous build or past experience you want to ask us about, we’re only too happy to provide all the information.

So whether you’re interested in a construction only service or a full custom design and build please call or email us to talk home plans and pricing today.


Covid-19 may have slowed our normal lifestyles and altered old routines, but it doesn’t have to impact the planning of your dream home build. With many Australians having more time on their hands, now is the perfect time to create vision boards and plan to build a new home when your life returns to normal.

Q: So what are some of the things you could be doing right now?

A: Research, research, research!

Research is one of the easiest first steps of turning your dreams into a reality, especially as internet access is available to most Australians and many businesses are either online or only a phone call away. This means your custom design planning can be done without walking out of your front door.

New home research step 1 – vision board

Researching a new home build can seem like a daunting task at first, as there are many bits of information required over the entire duration of planning and building, but if you break it into manageable chunks it’s really quite simple. Plus, it’s very easy to get started, as step one in your home research journey is by far the most fun – creating a vision board!

If you haven’t heard the term vision board before, it simply means a visual collection of images, trends and ideas laid out on a page. Vision boards can be physical boards, like your old-fashioned corkboard, or an online document, such as a word doc or even a Pinterest board.

To fill your vision board all you need to do is spend some time trawling websites, catalogues and brochures and either copy or physically cut out the things that stand out to you as beautiful, striking or just ‘your dream style’ and pop them on your board. Things to collect are ideas you like, trends in finishes and interiors, design inspiration, and even architectural plans that align with your own style. During the process you might find that you change your style and remove ideas and inspiration that you previously thought were great. This is exactly why vision boards are such excellent tools – they are a refining process.

Vision boards allow you to play around, to see what colours, finishes, interior design features and materials work well together and give you time to try different custom design combinations. You might start your vision board thinking your new home will have loads of sharp lines and bold colours, but by the end you might realise that you actually love neutral tones and natural wood.

Vision boards aren’t just about looking inwards either. The location of your land may impact the style you lean towards. If your new home build is going to take place in Port Stephens or Newcastle, you might find yourself drawn towards coastal style elements. Or for somewhere like the Hunter Valley, country finishes and acreage floor plans might be more your thing. Whatever it is that you like, eventually, what you will be left with is a visual representation of your design style, giving both you and your potential architect or new home builder a solid starting point to start your custom design.

Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes living

New home research step 2 – design and floor plans

After your vision board is finished and you know your personal style and current trends, your next step in the new home research journey is who is going to design it. So you need to decide one of two things. Are you going to seek architectural plans and then engage a separate builder? Or are you looking to streamline the process to build a new home and go directly to a new home builder that offers a custom design service? With budget being a big considerations for most, the latter option tends to be more cost effective. But whatever option you think you might choose, before you make any final decisions the next step is…you guessed it, more research!

Of course, face-to-face meetings with potential architects or builders are a very important part of the process. After all, you need to determine if the person or firm you will work with has similar values, understands your vision, and generally makes you feel that you can trust them to bring your new home to life. Although the current restrictions might make this difficult for some people, fortunately there is always online platforms, such as Zoom or Skype, that allow you to be able to make eye contact with the person you are speaking to and build a rapport.

Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes alfresco


Here at Valley Homes we have measures in place to help you navigate the custom design planning process without compromising your safety. Simply call or email us and we can discuss setting up a socially distanced meeting or online meeting to discuss your new home build. We’d love to take a look at your newly created vision board and initiate the design and quote process for you. If you have land – Valley Homes offers a free concept design service, and work with you to design the home you want.


Valley Homes are specialist Dual Occupancy builders – we’ve transformed hundreds of Newcastle’s backyards and blocks of land into dual occupancy or duplex developments. In our experience, if there’s a single step that improves our clients’ chance of a healthy return on investment it has to be a comprehensive feasibility study.

If you’re not sure what feasibility studies are or what they entail, feasibility studies are a crucial step in turning a single dwelling property into a profitable dual occupancy, especially if you are new to property investment – because due diligence and a successful development go hand-in-hand!

So, let us help you get that all important spreadsheet started…

Valley Homes duplex Wadalba builder

Filling out your feasibility study spreadsheet starts with speaking to quite a number of people, such as:

1. Your accountant (preferably a property specialist)

2. Your loan manager or financial lender

3. A solicitor/conveyancer to estimate what their rates will be

4. Your local council for estimated DA and CC costs (oh and while you’re talking to your local council make sure you read their Development Control Plan and Local Environment Plan too)

5. A builder who is experienced in dual occupancy developments – beyond just simple granny flats to experts in single dwelling multi-bedroom homes (AKA Valley Homes)

6. A surveyor to discuss the potential subdivision of the land

7. and finally, the local real estate agent who will be the face of your sale or rental pitch.


Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

But before you speak to any of the people mentioned above, you’ll need to know what information to get out of them…

Figures you must include in your feasibility study:

1. Land purchase / acquisition cost: this section needs to account for the total costs spent upfront on the investment. This can be an estimated sale price – simply update later when your costs are finalised. When entering your purchase costs, stamp duty, land valuation, even conveyancer fees etc. should also be entered here.

2. Financing costs: If you are borrowing the funds to build your dual occupancy development this section of your feasibility study includes the total amount to be borrowed, and details your repayments and estimated interest to be paid over the period of the loan. Loan types can vary depending on your individual development, with many investors using a land purchase loan and/or a construction loan.

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

3. Council rates and regulations: While experienced builders help manage the council fees and permits, you also need to know what the council land rates are for your property as this will impact on your overall income if you are planning to rent one or both homes to tenants. There are also a number of other potential council costs, such as zoning regulations, heritage listings, and sub-division costs.

4. Construction costs: If you are able to lock-down a fixed-price contract it will provide you with the most watertight forecast from a budgeting standpoint. However, any detailed quote from an experienced builder will help indicate what will be one of the largest figures entered into your spreadsheet.

5. Utility connection fees: While this might not be a large consideration if you are simply connecting an additional single dwelling on the existing property, but if you are planning on a knockdown rebuild with a multi-unit development, then your utility connections may add up quickly.

6. Selling and marketing costs: If you are not selling or renting the new build privately, you should factor in the Real Estate Agency fees to make sure you have covered all of the potential costs this project will require. After all, you may have a quality development, but if you can’t sell it you might end up eating into potential profits at the last hurdle. Also, ask for the potential sale price or estimated rental income.

7. Insurances and GST costs: There are many types of insurances associated with a dual occupancy development. A reputable builder will provide their own insurances that cover the building process, but it is an astute investor who knows the insurance costs to cover repayments etc. Also, depending on how you are operating your investment project, i.e. as a business, GST may be something you need to pay.

8. Contingency: Just as the word implies, contingency is an additional amount usually calculated at around 5 to 10% of the overall cost of the project. Think of it as a rainy-day fund to ensure your project has the funds to keep going when and if unexpected issues arise.

Now for the finale…

9. Projected profit / income from your investment: All going well, and if your project is to be deemed ‘feasible’, this field will give you a positive figure at the bottom of your spreadsheet. If not, don’t give up hope. Speak to your dual occupancy builder, shop around for a more favourable financial institution, and of course, tweak where you can.

Valley Homes duplex Wadalba builder


Our saying at Valley Homes is, “We build houses like they’re our own home.” Joseph House, is one of our recent acreage design builds and definitely demonstrates our passion for detail and delivering acreage home designs we’d happily move into ourselves.

The team at Valley Homes is just as happy with the rural retreat as the new owners are, so if you’re looking for acreage home design inspo please read on…

“Our neighbour suggested we look at Valley Homes’ plans.”

When friends and family recommend a preferred builder, you’re onto a good thing. Valley Homes is proud to say word of mouth is one of the most common ways we get to work with our many Hunter Valley clients, just like the new owners of Joseph House.

It’s not uncommon for Valley Homes to become the preferred builder of neighbours and fellow sub-division residents once a new build is underway.

This is exactly what happened with Joseph House – the owners were recommended to us by their old neighbours, and in-turn, a new neighbour to their estate noticed Joseph House take shape and went ahead to build with Valley Homes too.  It’s just one of the joys of being a specialist Hunter Valley acreage builder with am extensive range of acreage home designs to inspire our prospective clients.

“Valley Homes were very good at understanding the house we wanted to live in.”

Starting with our sales team, our in-house designs for acreage, and our custom design service, through to our experienced site supervisors and our close relationships with premium local suppliers,

the Valley Homes signature service is built on the promise of bringing your vision to life as smoothly and as cost effectively as possible. Our acreage designs are fully customisable to suit any block of land – simply adjust to suit your surrounding landscape, site aspect, block size, budget and preferred style.

Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes alfresco

“Valley Homes were happy for us to make changes to tiles, taps, baths…”

Joseph House is full of personal touches, such as the tranquil alfresco garden feature with merbau deck and the bold kingfisher blue breakfast bar, matching tiled splashback and the barn door to the butler’s pantry. And how about the beautifully detailed penny rounds in the bathroom alongside the sleek tapware and contrasting wood finish cabinetry? The result is stunning. All of those finer details and architectural features are unique to the vision of Joseph House’s owners and were made possible with the dedication of our in-house designer, local suppliers and our trades, who were able to rise to meet the homeowner’s requests.

Being able to be part of the design process and customise simple things such as fittings and fixtures, as well as alter Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes kitchen open planmore fundamentals of the home, such as the size and locations of rooms, is vital for many new home owners. Customising our acreage plans is often what gives owners a sense of true connection to their finished home.

“We understood exactly what was going to happen before it happened.”

We work hard to make sure the building process is clearly communicated and understood by every one of our clients. Clear and open communication, transparent fixed price contracts, and realistic timeframes are just some of the contributing factors for achieving happy client relationships – the types of relationships where recommendations to friends and family occur. The owners of Joseph House were able to work closely with our experienced site supervisor, as well as visit local showrooms to personalise all aspects of their Hunter Valley acreage

External design choices, such as the PGH Blue Steel Flash face bricks and contrasting Colorbond Shale Grey roof and wall cladding are also the result of careful consultation with our clients. It’s our dedication to the details, inside and out, that make all the difference in any acreage build. Before you even reach the front door at Joseph House the façade materials, the outdoor alfresco entertaining area, and even the country-inspired gardens work so well together – the entire design grounds the home, giving it a real sense of place.   

“Our vision was realised when we moved in.” 

Valley Homes is more than your local Hunter Valley acreage builder, we’re your dream home collaborator. Of course, you can choose one of our acreage floor plans and opt not to make any alterations. Many clients are happy with a design as it is. But, if your vision is something unique, we’re here to draw your ideas, engineer the possibilities, and build your dream acreage home, just like Joseph House.


Get in touch to start your regional development

Whether you’re a local Hunter Valley resident or further afield in New South Wales, if you have a block of land that’s perfect for one of Valley Homes’ acreage plans, contact us to browse our existing range and get initial acreage house costs.



If you’re building a home with specific ageing or disability needs in mind it’s exciting to know that whichever home design category you choose – livable, accessible, or adaptable (see below for in-depth definitions) – style and beauty never need to be compromised. This article outlines the definitions of each term in relation to Australian standards and then delves into the design elements which can be cleverly integrated into a customised home design to make it both architecturally exciting and accessible.

Livable, accessible, adaptable – what exactly do they mean?

According to the Australian Government’s Your Home website, which is an online space designed to inform and guide Australians interested in environmentally sustainable and accessible home design, there are three key names to get to know: the livable, accessible and adaptable house.

Accessible housing, home builder, hunter valley, facade, roofline

Livable house: based on the ideas of universal design (discussed in an earlier article: Livable, lovable homes for your retirement: Duplexes and Dual Occupancy), refers to homes which are designed to allow long-term living solutions without the need for specialised modifications. These homes are designed around the concept of inclusivity from the outset, as outlined in the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. Houses that fall into this category are designed to allow simple transitions depending on the needs of the residents – for example pram access for small children, zones for teenage getaways, ergonomic home offices and studios, wheelchair access for elderly or disabled residents, and considered lighting to cater for a senior resident’s weakening eyesight etc.

Accessible house: designs are homes designed to be accessible for all people, including those with higher care needs due to disability and/or injury. Because this type of design is highly specialised it is usually built to cater for a specific person. Accessible home designs may be modified to accommodate a person’s need for wheelchair access, including a stair lift and customised bathroom and kitchen designs. They may include modified or specialised fittings for individuals with varying degree of limb function and/or they may be designed to help people with severe visual impairments live at home without the need for additional assistance. 

Adaptable house: begins life as a livable house, but with one major design difference. Either it allows for future downsizing, a design feature primarily used for elderly residents, or accessibility modifications, such as a leaving a cavity in the home for the installation of an internal lift if the need arises. Typically, an adaptable home has been designed with the eventual aim of transitioning from a large single dwelling into two smaller ones, or attempts to minimise the costs of major future modifications that will be required by a disabled or senior resident. This generally requires customised floor plans that cater for this in the initial building stages.

Accessible housing, home builder, hunter valley, internal lift, wheelchair access

Platinum, Gold, and Silver Australian Standards

Australian standardsPlatinum, Gold and Silver standards – set the benchmarks that a build must meet to be deemed ‘accessible’. Here at Valley Homes we were privileged to build a range of custom designed livable home solutions. One of our favourites combined modifications including wheelchair access and an internal lift with sleek modern design aesthetics – see our gallery for more. All 178 dwelling Valley Homes constructed for Defence Housing Australia were built to comply with Silver level Australian standards. We are also set to build a Platinum Standard house later this year, which we will be sure to share with you as soon as it has been completed.

Accessible housing, bathroom, home builder

Live your way in style

When comparing an Australian standard compliant livable house and a standard home which has undergone accessibility modifications, the difference is how seamlessly the customisations are integrated into the overall design aesthetics. Unsightly safety rails in mismatching colours or retrofitted ramps are very common in older homes. Future planning for accessibility from the outset means the visual appeal of the home is never compromised. Beyond wider doorways this can include:

    • Step-free access into the home, plus shower. Being able to wheel a pram or manoeuvre a wheelchair easily in and around a home with simple ramp designs can make all the difference for home residents.
    • Lever-style handles and single-handed fittings. By paying attention to the types of door and cupboard handles, as well as the tapware you choose, day-to-day activities can be stylishly simplified.
    • Low maintenance landscaping, accessible gardens, and protected outdoor spaces. Ramps and smooth pathways to protected outdoor spaces with varying garden levels can improve accessibility.
    • Spacious kitchen and bathroom with under sink cavities. We all love a spacious kitchen and bathroom, but with the addition of lower benchtops and under-sink and bench cavities a person in a wheelchair or with limited mobility can easily cook and clean without the need for additional assistance.
    • Integrated lighting and non-slip flooring. For people with limited vision and/or mobility, carefully considered lighting design, as well as non-slip flooring, can improve independence and safety at home…all done with stylish pendant lights, trendy downlights and the latest styles in tiles and carpets.

Accessible housing, home builder, hunter valley, verandah

We can customise our in-house designs or create a custom home just for you. Talk to us today.


There are some obvious advantages to building a duplex as an investment property. One of the most popular drawcards is the instant equity you can achieve on your land and you get the value of two new homes at a fraction of the price to build two freestanding homes. Plus, with the sale or rental of two properties you can even be either debt free or cash flow positive fairly quickly after completion, and savings can also be made with stamp duty new build policies.

But what we want to talk about today is yet another perk of duplex builds, something not all investors are aware of – tax depreciation.

Valley Homes Bolwarra Heights Maitland Duplex Builder

What is tax depreciation?

According to one of our local specialists in tax depreciation, Capital Claims, “Capital allowance and depreciation are some of the largest tax deductions available to property investors.” So if you’re looking to build a duplex as an investment property, either as first-time developer or even if you’ve been a long-time investor, but don’t know how to capitalise on your investment property with a detailed depreciation schedule, you need to read on.

Tax depreciation can literally mean thousands of extra dollars in your pocket annually.

Basically, tax depreciation is a term that describes substantial deductions that are available at tax time. These deductions are available to investors in both commercial and residential property markets and are calculated on the depreciating value or both the building structure, as well as the plant and equipment components of the property. Plus, tax depreciation new build guidelines are the most beneficial to investors under the current government policies.

How much depreciation in deductions could you be earning?

Plant and equipment deductions are all dependant on the specific items and their annual decrease in value as determined by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It is calculated by starting with the purchase price, and then depending on the item, there is a period of depreciation that you can claim.

Structural depreciation otherwise known as capital works deductions are determined on the cost to build a duplex, calculated over a 40 year period from when your new duplex was built. NAB recently wrote about Tax Depreciation, for a “new building that cost $200,000 to build, you could claim up to $5,000 each year for 40 years”.

Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex

You can work out how much tax you could be claiming using online tools, such as the BMT Tax Depreciations calculator, but it is always recommended that you engage an experienced and specialised Quantity Surveyor. It is the Quantity Surveyor’s job to collate a report outlining the deductions available to investors and developers – and this can be done before the duplex has even been built or is ready to rent. This allows you to have a complete and comprehensive idea of your exact expenditure and ongoing investment returns, up-front.

After the new duplex investment property has been built the Quantity Surveyor can then issue you with a Tax Depreciation Schedule that you simply forward to your accountant to receive the ongoing benefits of tax depreciation on your new duplex build. You can download sample depreciation schedules to gain a clearer indication of exactly what you can claim and the % amounts.Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex

New duplex builds are even better investments with astute tax depreciation claims

As mentioned in the introduction, and outlined in previous articles, new duplex builds are one of the best investment property options available in this current market. The cost to build a duplex, while slightly more than a single freestanding home, is not as much as building two freestanding homes, yet you get to benefit from the increased value of owning two homes with dual income opportunities. There are a wide range of duplex plans and prices available, ensuring you can tailor your build to your budget, block requirements, and what the buyer or rental market is demanding. Plus, Hunter Valley and regional Newcastle block sizes are well-suited for a comfortable duplex build that has all the street appeal of a freestanding home.

Discuss property investment with us today – we’re your local duplex builder and have years of experience designing, planning and constructing duplex investment properties in your area.

Previous articles:

Disclaimer – the information in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute professional financial, legal or taxation advice. Please consult a registered financial planner, legal practitioner or tax accountant for specific advice about your individual circumstances.


What will wow in 2020

Trying to predict future design trends is about as easy as knowing which of your new year’s resolutions you will actually end up sticking to. But it’s a lot of fun, gets the creative juices flowing, and can inspire some incredible homes – which is why we think looking forward to 2020 is definitely an exercise worth indulging in! So our team has pulled together some of the most exciting home styling, interior design and building inspirations, to help kick-start your home refresh plans for 2020.

The overarching trend – spaces that embrace nature (biophilia)

Biophilic design is all about creating connections to nature and it is a trend that incorporates interior design, external elements such as façades, and of course, all other homes details, which of course also includes landscaping too. It has been on the rise for a few years now and is set to take centre stage in 2020.

One of the UK’s sustainable architecture and interior design experts, @Oliver_Heath, is a huge advocate for biophilic design and his quick video Exploring Biophilic Design with Oliver Heath is a great introduction into the design trend that is all about harnessing natural light, using natural textures and surfaces, water design, and embracing views and greenery wherever possible. 

Nature inspired 2020 trends – available from our local suppliers

Some of our best-loved suppliers, such as Carpet Court, Valley Kitchens, PGH Bricks and Pavers, and Amber Tiles, are experts in bringing nature into your custom home designs. And here are a few ways they are doing it:

Tallowood retirement lifestyle resort village over 55s medowie Port Stephens

Timber and mixed material wall panels

Popular as feature walls such, behind bedheads, as well as along large living area walls in open plan living homes, timber wall panels are going to be in high demand in 2020. Carpet Court ready-made wall panels are a cost effective, versatile and simple way to add wall panel features to your 2020 home build. From vertical timber designs through to striking geometric patterns, or even smooth curves, this interior design trend is all about personalisation and embracing your own sense of style.

Terrazzo, timber, natural stone, and marble kitchens

Valley Kitchens’ wide variety of benchtop and cabinetry solutions mean greater connections can be made with nature, day-in-day-out, such as with the wide selection of timber and natural stone benchtops. Terrazzo is still growing in popularity for home styling and can be offset with timber for striking breakfast bar and kitchen worktop combination.

Outdoor and mixed living zones

Raw, rough and textured tiles, pavers, and bricks are increasingly used to create earthy, relaxed and inviting living spaces and gorgeous façades. As 2020 is set to celebrate the outdoors through DIY projects as well as to custom home designs, outdoor rooms are also on the rise. Incorporating fully appointed outdoor kitchens, entertainment units, and of course dining and lounges, custom fire pits and landscaped water features, outdoor rooms require carefully curated flooring tiles and expertly designed brickwork to seamlessly transition these rooms into indoor spaces.

More interior design trends and DIY home refresh solutions

Acreage build Joseph House Valley Homes bedroom

Organic tones and textures: Whether it’s fixed features, such as floor and wall choices, through to décor and paint colours, there is an understated calm is created in spaces which embrace nature’s colour palette. Even small refurbishments and cosmetic improvements can integrate all living spaces in your home to create seamless transitions from one room to the next, giving your home a greater sense of space and cohesion.

Large scale art and floral wallpaper: As home builders, some of the 2020 trends in home styling and interior design are out of our scope of work. However, good early planning can mean that if your custom home dream is an expansive wall to hang your favourite piece of art or a floral wallpaper statement wall, we can design the floorplan that will provide you with those interior design opportunities, e.g. ceiling heights, window and door placements, and even lighting choices made with our in-house design team.

Velvet lounges, cushions and curtains: Velvet is a textural delight that oozes both comfort and luxury. Nothing sets off a sleek timber wall panel or a concrete benchtop or floor like this sensuous fabric. Best used as a statement piece, velvet can be added to your home through home styling choices such as lounges, cushions and even curtains. And again, while our task is floor plans and construction, if you know what design choices you are likely to make, we can help guide you through choosing the right floor, wall and ceiling finishes that will help bring them all together.

Talk to us about embracing what’s new in 2020 for your custom home design!

Tell us what you want us to write about in 2020!

While clients have told us our team is pretty good at writing the types of articles they want to read, we understand that there are still many topics we haven’t covered, and some of those might be the ones you are eager to read about. So please tell us. Simply drop us line or speak to one of our team and just ask, “Can you please put some information together about…” and we’ll schedule it in. It’s that simple.


Yes it’s true! 2019 has been planned, designed, knocked down, and then built back up again – now we’re ready to lock the door and handover the keys ready to do it all again next year. But before we do…

Our 2019 builder highlights

If you’re interested in seeing just how eventful the past year has been for our clients, contractors, suppliers and our hardworking in-house team, then check out this video from one of our happy clients, or head over to our gallery. You’ll get to see some of our favourite builds from the past year or so, including a duplex in Newcastle, custom-designed homes like the two storey stunner in Fingal Bay and a 2×2 storey townhouse in Kahibah, a multi-unit development in Jesmond, a customised acreage design in Aberglasslyn, and who could forget Stage 1 and 2 of the DHA Wirraway Estate in Thornton.

Nesbitt Family testimonial

The Nesbitt family share their experience building with Valley Homes.

Your favourite articles of 2019

Beyond our successful builds in and around Newcastle, another highlight of 2019 has been the great responses we’ve had to our Valley Homes articles. Each month we share industry developments, design trends, and helpful checklists to help make client’s future builds with us more exceptional and more informed. Here are the five that were either read, talked about, or shared the most – together in one place for anyone that may have missed them throughout the year.

So counting down from five, let’s get to it…

5. Knock down rebuild or renovate?

If you’re not sure if your home is destined for a knock down rebuild or undergo a complete renovation then this article will discuss some of the major elements to consider. The article is particularly targeted towards understanding costs, the time impacts of either option, long-term future proofing advantages, and how speaking to a real estate might help clarify the financial pros and cons of the finished results.

4. Project homes vs custom-designed homes

Next on the list is an article which attempts to answer a question our team gets asked all of the time, can project homes stand-up to a custom-designed home? Spoiler alert, of course they can. But it isn’t as simple as that. It all comes down to the classic builder’s balancing act of weighing budget, block of land specifics, council requirements, design and lifestyle aspirations, and individual needs to determine which type of build is going to tick the most boxes. The article goes through what considerations to keep in mind, because we know all too well that building homes, even project homes, require a personal approach – which is Valley Homes’ speciality.

3. Developer checklist: questions to ask your multi-unit builder

It’s easy to understand why this article rated so high amongst our clients – multi-unit developments require a considerable financial investment, and as such as an astute client you can never do enough research. Plus, after building so many multi-unit developments, and being asked all sorts of questions along the way, our team knew they were in a good position to pool their years of experience to make the process as simple as possible for the next first-time, or even sixth of seventh time investor. It’s a great read if you’re thinking about investing in a multi-unit build.

Oakhampton Acreage Property House Design

2. Luxurious acreages in regional Australia

The appeal of regional living is on the rise; young families are tired of exhausting inner-city commutes, recent graduates are taking advantage of remote working opportunities, and empty-nesters are after a quiet space to call their own. Yes, many Australians are discovering that regional Hunter Valley towns have a lot to offer. With all this growing interest in the regional property market, luxury acreages are enjoying a well-deserved boom for both home builders and investors alike. Especially with improving infrastructure and access to top-level amenities. Are you ready for a tree change?

Drum roll if you please…

1. Fast-tracked approvals for dual occupancies

Coming in at number one, this article discusses some recent policy changes that make gaining approvals for dual occupancies quicker and easier. It was, and still is, an exciting development in the approval process for anyone with ample land and the means to make the most of it. Dual occupancy builds are especially appealing for inner-city Newcastle land owners, where available land to build is at a premium – so it is easy to see why this one got our clients talking the most. And if this year was anything to go by, this article will continue to guide investors throughout 2020 too.

Valley Homes corner dual occupancy project Hunter Valley Property Bloom

Photo courtesy of Property Bloom

Tell us what you want us to write about in 2020!

While clients have told us our team is pretty good at writing the types of articles they want to read, we understand that there are still many topics we haven’t covered, and some of those might be the ones you are eager to read about. So please tell us. Simply drop us line or speak to one of our team and just ask, “Can you please put some information together about…” and we’ll schedule it in. It’s that simple.


When building a personalised, architecturally designed dream home, a lot of focus might be placed on finding the right architect or even draftsman to put your big ideas onto paper. But finding the right builder is just as important, if not more so.

The builder will often dictate the timeline and building schedule. They’ll source many, if not all of the materials, which can greatly impact the overall house cost. Plus, the builder does what they do best, build house plans. This means, the quality of their workmanship is going to heavily influence whether your home will be defined as an architectural masterpiece or a money pit of misadventure. How do you select your ideal builder though? Let’s find out…


Sometimes the most obvious answers are the best. Yes, research is going to be your best friend throughout the entire house design and build process, especially if this will be your first foray into the world of house designs, architects and builders, and house cost budgets. Every single step of the building process will require some level of research. Below is our list of main research milestones that will lead to selecting the right builder for your dream home:

Darramba custom home design valley homes

Research: overall budget and scope of project

Before getting swept up in the excitement of it all, talk to your bank or financial advisor about establishing a realistic budget. Take into account your savings, income and borrowing capacity. You may already have an idea of land prices in your area, but you also need to account for the architectural drawings and pricing, as well as building costs. So get some concrete prices outlining your maximum spend, and realistic repayments. You will return to these figures repeatedly throughout the planning and building phases, so make sure they are as accurate as possible.

Research: land options

Now with your overall budget in hand, break it down to three sections: land, architect and build. You may need to tweak the respective allocations of budget during the process, but dividing your funds like this can help keep aspects of the project that may blowout in-check. The next main hurdle is acquiring land if you haven’t already. Some people opt to go to an architect before the land has been secured to get an idea of potential house designs, and this is entirely up to you. Doing this can help if you are having difficulties envisioning the land potential, but it has its downsides too. Such as the land selling and increased architect fees due to additional time spent on your project.

Research: council regulations and requirements

If using a local architect, and indeed builder, they will have a very good idea of council requirements and this may remove this research burden. However, having an idea of what is legally possible before can streamline later processes and make sure your expectations of what can be achieved are realistic.

Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

Research: architecture that appeals to you


Research: architects that have a reputation that aligns with your design ambitions

These two research points work hand-in-hand. While researching your preferred home designs and local architects, and even browsing dream homes plans and pricing on websites or magazines, log what you like. Creating a spreadsheet or jotting notes down in a book can help you realise what features are most important to you and it will start to direct you towards the architect that fits in with your own aesthetics.

Research: builders who have worked with your architect previously

Many experienced architects will already have established relationships with local builders and a working rapport can definitely benefit your build. Especially as good working relationships may help streamline a few processes along the way, which generally equates to potential savings. However, any professional architect will be able to relay their plans to any reputable builder with ease.

Affordable architecture build plans builder hunter valley

Research: builders who are known for great projects

You need to feel 100% comfortable that your builder is up to the task. So, if an architect or draftsman’s recommendation doesn’t feel quite right or they don’t have one, shop your house plans around. Reputation is a key indicator of performance in the building industry, as is an extensive portfolio, a reliable team, the ability to provide upfront quotes and costs, and site managers that keep you informed throughout the entire project. A little bit of legwork here to research local builders can mean all the difference when it’s time to receive your front door keys.

Valley Homes can build your dream home

You can research our past and current projects, hear from our previous clients, and browse our list of suppliers and local partners, right here on our website. And of course, you can speak to us directly too.



It’s probably no surprise that Valley Homes would recommend a knockdown rebuild over a renovation 90% of the time. After all, building homes in and around Newcastle is what we do, and we have a team of knock down and rebuild specialists who have years of experience doing just that. But there is much more to it than building being our business…

When it comes to answering the question – knockdown vs renovate – sometimes the house in question should be preserved. It may have historical relevance, tell unique tales of the suburb, or even be part of Australian culture. In such cases it would be a shame to lose that part of our collective story, which is why councils have regulations requiring approvals before any builder can go ahead with any major construction on a home. But if you have the all clear to renovate or detonate then you might need to read on, because we are about to state our case for a knockdown rebuild with construction facts that are hard to ignore.

Valley Homes Knockdown Rebuild Slab

Renovations can be disruptive

Sure, it is true that any rebuild or renovation will impact on your life while the build is in progress. But one of the most common reasons people consider a renovation over a rebuild is that they can save money by living in the home while it is being renovated. The reality is, larger renovations tend to stretch over a much longer period of time than a rebuild, which can negatively impact your lifestyle if you are living in the home throughout. This is largely due to the fact the home owner may be responsible for scheduling trades and sourcing materials in and amongst usual weekly work routines, quite often needing to also save for the costs during the process, which means that your life may be dominated by the changes to your home for a much longer period of time.

Cost to knockdown and rebuild home

However, if you are able to outsource to an experienced renovation builder to take care of project management and trades for you, and you already have the funds available, then a renovation might be looking good. But, this brings us to our next point of discussion – cost. The truth is, most of the time the cost to knockdown and rebuild home is cheaper than a full renovation. Why is that? With a rebuild you can optimise construction materials and base designs by opting to build with a reputable knock down rebuild builder. In the case of a rebuild additional savings can be made because you don’t need to match materials with pre-existing structures, and you don’t need to commission a bespoke property architectural design.

Lewis House Aberglasslyn


Custom home design build driveway Valley Homes


Less maintenance with new

Speaking of architects, another common outcome of a renovation is that the build generally doesn’t address the entire structure of the home – most renovation agreements are to add extensions or additional floors. In which case, yes, you will have new sections of the home with entirely new elements that will last for many years to come, but you also still have the existing structural elements that may require ongoing maintenance.

So, at the end of the day, a knockdown rebuild is a fresh start. Your ongoing maintenance bills are going to be minimised.

Rebuilds and real estate advice

Valley Homes knockdown rebuild, Maitland, Hunter, Newcastle, build, develop, property

With fresh starts, such as a knock down, you might also attract better sale figures when and if you choose to move on. This is where it might pay to speak to real estate agents in your surrounding suburbs and run some figures. We suggest getting an evaluation on your property as it currently stands, a value estimate after the renovation has been completed, and a sale estimate of a brand new home. If your quotes for a renovation are on par or similar to a full knock down and rebuild project, but the sale figures are in favour of a new build, it can be hard to argue with a convincing bottom-line.

Future proof your knockdown rebuild with us

Plus, with a rebuild you have the options to do things that weren’t really a consideration when your original home was built. For example, solar passive design and or the choice to land renovate, which might alter the position of the home on the block, are modern approaches to home building you could take advantage of. Our team has so many knockdown rebuild ideas and experiences we would love to share, so please get in touch if you’re in the Newcastle or surrounding suburbs to discuss your property’s potential


With so much to offer, it is easy to understand why the Hunter Valley is fast becoming a shining star when it comes to luxurious acreages for all types of tree-change adventurers…

Have it all in the Hunter Valley

A tree-change has long been a popular choice for retirees and empty-nesters who are looking to relax in a slower paced environment, as well as for families wanting to spend less time commuting and more time together. Now it is also a growing market for younger Australians too, people who want to create stronger connections to the environment and improve their work-life balance, while still building on their careers.

The Hunter Valley’s regional property market is still considered strong with Newcastle and some of the wider suburbs achieving solid results and continued growth. But it is further afield in the Hunter Valley that this quiet revolution is taking place. The tree-changers who are seeking something unique, tranquil, and nestled in nature, are discovering you can have all of that while still having access to some of the state’s best facilities and amenities, a regional airport for relaxed getaways or business trips, and fast road access through to employment opportunities in Newcastle and Sydney.

Locals like us know all too well how great it is to live in the Hunter Valley; it’s a part of country New South Wales where space is ample, land is available and property prices aren’t astronomical. It’s also wine country, big music acts drop by, it has solid career opportunities, and has a university not too far away too – and the best part – building your dream home is still an achievable Aussie dream. Which is why many people who make the tree-change opt for an acreage build in the Hunter Valley.

After all, if you’re going to the trouble of uprooting your life, saying so-long to good friends, or switching jobs, then you’re going to want to make the most of your new surrounds – and live large with an expansive Valley Homes acreage.

offer more than interior space and rural luxury

The lifestyle a tree-changer is drawn too often has more to do with the country town itself (or an escape from the city), rather than a particular block of land or set of acreage plans. However, once the dust settles after the move, it is often that particular block of land, its development potential, and the array of house designs for acreages available that make the change to regional New South Wales a resounding success.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that the specifics of the block of land and the eventual country house designs which are built, are what help complete the transformation from ‘tree-changer’ into ‘a local’. More than that though, the home in which a person lives needs to be a sanctuary, a place to rest the mind and re-charge. Valley Homes have been building acreages in the Hunter Valley for many years now, and if there is something our team excels at, it is matching acreage home plans with lifestyle ambitions to help Australians live their best-life.

Acreage home design Hunter Valley
Acreage homes plans
for everyone

When it comes to knowing what house designs for an acreage will suit each new home builder nothing beats a personalised consultation to go through acreage plans and country house designs, to visit the site gaining an understanding of vistas and rural landscaping, as well as discussing the acreage house price and get a building quote – and that’s just part of our standard service.

Customisation and personalisation is something any good acreage builder will offer – our in-house designers happen to be passionate about fine-tuning all of our acreage home designs to suit personalities and lifestyles – and it is an essential element if the build is to work with the block of land and tick all of the client’s boxes. A bigger entertaining area, a guest suite to wow your visitors from the city, creative studio or workspace, or even an eco-friendly solar passive design are just some of the regular requests we build for our acreage clients.

As long-time local builders in regional New South Wales, we have a reliable team of contractors and suppliers who know the country lifestyle, after all it’s their lifestyle too, and they know how to make the most of the surrounds with quality, long-lasting materials. Which means, if you choose to build an acreage with Valley Homes, you know you are going to be a long-time local too.

Talk to our acreage team

If you’re thinking about making a tree-change, but are unsure, there are some fantastic articles filled with real people’s regional stories and advice on making the big move away from cities such as Sydney. If you want to know more about acreages, please read our recent Luxurious acreages in regional Australia article. And if you’re ready to make the change and want to talk acreage house costs and home designs, then talk to us.


The Hunter Valley continues to invite a lot of interest from all levels of property investment; from young families through to professional property developers one of the most requested developments in the Hunter is dual occupancies. This is why…

The perfect property storm for regional Australia

The recent Sydney and Melbourne housing boom pushed first home buyers and young families to explore more affordable lifestyle opportunities further afield, and took them to regional centres with solid career opportunities just like Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. In-turn this created a steady demand for home ownership and properties to rent in regional areas.

In addition to that, the current decline in the Sydney market means investors are also driven to investigate better value development options in regional markets that offer better returns on investment. This situation means both buyers and investors are choosing to spend their money in places like Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, which is why the land values and property prices are faring very well in this current market.

Duplex home design builder
Looking beyond Newcastle for property investment

Newcastle city offers a variety of employment prospects for a number of industries and can provide a coastal lifestyle with great access to first class amenities, all with a substantially smaller price-tag than that of Sydney. But while Newcastle continues to be a relatively stable and appealing property market, ideal for developments attracting sales or tenants, there is a nearby property player starting to make even bigger moves.

Through added infrastructure, such as the Hunter Expressway, economic opportunities through the growth of regional tourism, the wine industry, mining, and agriculture, plus luxurious lifestyles due to lower overheads and more affordable land values, the Hunter Valley is set to be one of Australia’s big regional performers.

Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex
Dual occupancies
in the Hunter Valley

It is definitely hard to deny the appeal that the Hunter Valley holds when you compare value for money on similar investments in city-based locations, particularly when the demand from families and first-homebuyers is steadily growing and land prices are holding their own. Basically, dual occupancies are a flexible and stable investment, which is why dual occupancies are the developer’s go-to for new home builders.

Many existing Hunter Valley homes are on a large block of land, as well as there being many generous size empty blocks available, which is why dual occupancies are so ideal. That is, buyers are attracted to new home affordability, and investors appreciate the relatively low risk investment that increases equity in the land for sale or rent, as well as provide opportunities to develop ongoing income streams.

Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex
resources for dual occupancies

There are a number of regional councils that make up the Hunter area, including Cessnock, Maitland, Dungog, Port Stephens, and nearby Newcastle. Each council has different processes and development requirements, that as local dual occupancy builders, we are very familiar with. Cessnock city council has some very helpful fact-sheets available to download: Urban dual occupancy, Rural dual occupancy, and Subdivision of rural land. Or on the Port Stephens Council website it states, “Dual occupancies can be subdivided where the resulting allotments meet the minimum lot sizes for the zone under the Local Environmental Plan 2013.

Detailed information such as this, which relates to regulations, highlights how important it is to know your local council requirements. As your local dual occupancy experts we can help you wade through all of the facts.

Valley Homes three Villa project Hunter Valley Property Bloom

Photo courtesy of Property Bloom

Dual occupancy vs Dual dwelling

Maitland City Council also services areas of the Hunter and its website has a variety of online forms and brief supportive information regarding DA Applications too, but another big question we get from clients after visiting council websites such as this is, “What is the difference between dual occupancy and dual dwelling properties?” Well, basically a dual dwelling refers to a small structure built in addition to the primary home, often referred to as a ‘granny flat’ or ‘studio/retreat’.

Dual dwellings or granny flats are standalone buildings and are usually self-contained with a small kitchen and bathroom, and usually have one or two bedrooms. But these structures must comply with size restrictions and as such must not exceed a set square meterage. Depending on your local council this is about 60m2 floor space. A dual dwelling is not as large as a standalone home, as is the case with a dual occupancy, and generally is not fit to sub divide.

Hunter Valley dual occupancy builders

Valley Homes have a lot of regionally specific dual occupancy information to share. Simply phone 02 49341400 or email sales@valleyhomes.com.au and our specialist team will answer all of your dual occupancy questions.

We also have a range of articles outlining the benefits of building a dual occupancy. So, please have a read:

Subdivide, build, increase equity and achieve your property goals

The developer’s go-to: dual occupancy

Fast-tracked approvals for dual occupancy


When looking to build a new home there are many options available. Each option has their pros and cons, yet sometimes it can be difficult to determine what type of build will best suit your overall needs.

In Australia, the two most commonly selected building options are custom home designs and project homes, also known as off-the-plan homes. For freestanding, single dwellings, an architecturally designed build is also popular, but the uptake isn’t nearly as large as the first two categories. This makes project homes and custom home designs a great starting point to understand your new house options. So let’s get to it…

Project homes

Are built from existing plans by a builder who has negotiated bulk prices for their local contractors and materials, making the overall build competitively priced and economical.

Valley Homes medium density project Hunter Valley Property Bloom

Photo courtesy of Property Bloom

Project homes utilise a suite of professionally designed house plans drawn up by a draftsperson. For example, Valley Homes currently has 18 floor plans to choose from, with prices starting from $242K for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 car, single level home, through to expansive and luxurious acreages and multi-storey homes.

A project home builder makes savings on new house plans by buying large quantities of materials and negotiating discounted labour rates. Those savings are then passed on to the client – making project homes one of the most cost effective house designs to build. This means quality inclusions, such as air-conditioning, stone benchtops, alfresco entertaining areas and generously appointed kitchens, can be included at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke architecture build.

Architectural home design build custom

To capitalise on these savings, clients are required to choose materials, such as the tiles or roof materials, from a set list of products. Choosing materials not included in your chosen project home’s package is possible, but it will result in additional charges. Many people see this narrowed down list of products as a positive, because it simplifies the house design process, which can become a very time consuming and stressful endeavour. Plus, you can often see the materials as they have been used in local homes by checking out your builder’s gallery.

Floor plans are also customisable, however, if any changes are requested, they will negatively impact on the savings you have made by selecting an off-the-plan build in the first place. Choosing a home builder with a good range of floor plans to choose from will help mitigate this issue and keep your project home costs down. Also, project home floor plans are usually designed for standard, rectangular, flat blocks of land. So, if your property has a substantial slope or is unusually shaped then you’re probably going to get the best outcome for your block from a custom home design. So, read on…

Custom home designs

Allow you to work more closely with a home builder to have greater impact on the overall design. You create a home to suit your needs, and your block of land at a fraction of the price of a bespoke build.

Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

 Basically, custom home designs sit somewhere in the middle between a complete architecturally designed build and a project home. The in-house draftsperson or designer makes sure the final home plans are both unique and professionally designed, while taking into consideration the site’s specific requirements, the budget, and the lifestyle ambitions of the client.

The timeline to build a custom home design can sometimes take slightly longer when compared to a project home. This simply comes down to allowing more time to finesse the finished floor plans, as well as to arrange individual material orders, labour contracts, and finalise building schedules. So, if a quick build is more important than customisation, then a project home may be a more suitable home building solution.

architectural custom design home build valley newcastle

When opting for custom house designs there are advantages of choosing a home builder that offers both custom and project home designs. This is because they will have an established network of local suppliers working with them on a substantial number of project home jobs. While a custom home design can’t attract all the discounted rates, it can still benefit from the strong relationships the builder has forged with their local workforce, which can only be a benefit to the overall quality of the build.

Of course, the biggest benefit for choosing custom home plans is choice. You can be as involved as you like in the house design process to get your floor plans just as you want them. Beyond a unique home, benefits also include incorporating solar passive design to save on future heating and cooling costs, through to taking advantage of the best aspects of your site features, which may be views, landscaping, or slope. So, if your budget suits a custom house design, and unique features appeal to you, then this may be an ideal choice.

Custom Designed duplex newcastle Valley Homes builder

Ready to start on your new home plans?

If you need personalised, reliable advice for building a project home or custom home design, then we can help. Our specialised team will talk you through your unique pros and cons for each type of build. Contact us today.


Duplex builds have broad appeal across all demographics, are relatively low risk, and can offer solid returns, such as a dual income stream – and while ensuring you have an experienced builder managing your new build is essential, so too is finding the right block of land. So, let’s delve into the two main factors you need to consider when starting out with your duplex development – which suburb to build in and what type of block should you be seeking out.

 Choosing your duplex suburb

When choosing the most suitable suburb for your duplex build, both central and outer suburbs can hold great appeal. Outer suburbs can mean there is more available land to choose from, which often translates into less expensive land values. Plus, if you’re lucky, the block of land may have already been cleared or doesn’t have a structures on it to clear at all, meaning the knockdown and site preparation costs can be minimal.

However, while there are all those cost-positives about outer suburb duplex developments, the sales prices and rental returns will in most cases be less than you could expect to get on the same quality of build in a more centrally positioned development. You’ve heard it before, but location counts. Of course, sought after locations generally have a higher land value. So yes, those inner city and central developments may attract bigger resale and rental prices, but they also require a bigger investment in the first place.

Valley Homes Duplex builder house design Newcastle

In addition to that, a suitable block of land, one big enough for a duplex build, can be hard to come by in inner city locations where block sizes tend to be smaller. Also, finding an empty block of land is going to be near impossible. So, you will need to factor in clearing the land into your development budget. Another consideration is that a block of land which has an existing structure is often more expensive than an empty block of land – so that’s just something extra to keep in mind.

Essentially, inner or outer, the final decision is going to come down to your finances. That is, how much money do you want to pay for your block; a more modest budget may mean an outer suburb is going to be the best solution, but if you have a larger financial resource to draw on, then the potential sales prices and rental figures of a more centrally located duplex might lure your development closer to a city centre.

Keep in mind, to achieve the higher figures often seen in city sales, your buyers will have greater expectations for premium fittings and designs, to reflect the prime location. So, building a duplex with an experienced duplex builder who knows the ins-and-outs of the local buyer’s market is recommended.

Regardless of the suburb you end up selecting, be sure to take note of all the other services and amenities available in the local area. This will be a key selling tool later on. For example, if your local suburb has a University, a large regional hospital or medical centre, quick access to the Freeway, or a highly sought-after school, you will want to know this before any development build starts, so that you overall design can cater directly for that market, maximising the potential for your duplex investment to be a success.

Duplex home design builder

Finding your duplex block

Once you have your suburb sorted, finding the perfect block of land to build a duplex can be quite a challenge. As mentioned earlier, you may need to look for blocks that already have buildings on them, which can increase the land value. If that is the case, ideally you will be looking for properties on the market that have rundown houses on them. The less interest the market has in the house itself, the more favourable the price of the investment will be. The old adage rings true here. You want to be looking for the worst house ion the best block. Just make sure that block has the right sort of zoning you will require to build a duplex development.

On the other hand, you might be fortunate enough to find a decent size, empty block of land. And that would most likely be cheaper than a block with a building on it. But before you jump at it, make sure all of the site-specific features of your block suit a duplex build. If it has a heavy slope and/or has large trees on it, the site preparation or increased slab requirements may mitigate any savings you’ve made by buying an empty block.

Empty or not, the block needs to be big enough for a duplex build, and that generally translates to either width or length.

Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex


Here at Valley Homes we have an extensive range of duplex plans ready to view online, that outline the square metreage required, as well as the floorplans. Also, your local council will have minimum size requirements and distances from boundaries that you will need to adhere to – so do your homework ­– or simply talk to us, and we’ll help do it all for you


With a custom design build you can create your sanctuary, entertainment hub, business HQ, or whatever you’re into, on a more modest budget than an architect’s plans might deliver on – no wonder custom house design services are in such high demand. So, let’s get inspired…

Tailored floor plans and future-proofing

The opportunities to customise go far beyond property considerations, such as building on a narrow, sloping or unusually shaped block – they can provide the flexibility to create your dream property. A custom floor plan that suits your lifestyle now, as well as your family’s needs in the future, means you can benefit from your home design for a much longer period. Customisation of floor plans generally begins with establishing the number of rooms needed and where they are to be positioned in the home, as well as the size of the rooms, e.g., do you plan to entertain a lot, have a house full of children, get into gourmet cuisine, or make the most of your natural surrounds through integrated inside-outside spaces? By gaining an understanding of your needs – now and future – will mean your home design can be future-proof.

architectural custom design home build valley newcastle

However, future-proofing is more than simply considering bedroom sizes and numbers. Other common features to help future-proof your home design might be to increase door widths and bathroom sizes, add custom fittings, or even to include accessibility ramps. This can be particularly important if you’re nearing retirement years and intend to stay in the house long-term. Financially it also makes good sense to consider your future needs from the outset. This can reduce alteration costs in the future or avoid having to sell prematurely – reinforcing the affordable nature of custom house design, if careful planning has gone into the project.

Valley Homes Custom Design Soldiers Point New South Wales

Other special additions:

As already mentioned, a custom house design can help a new home builder address site requirements and future-proofing. But how about the fun stuff? You know, those special spaces you’ve always dreamt of and all of your unique home design ideas…

Artist studio/teenage retreat. You might have always wanted your own artist’s studio to paint, make music, write or a place simply to hideaway and relax. As you might imagine, studios require good natural light, can especially benefit from quiet areas of a home, and are often detached from the main building. So, a spare bedroom generally won’t compare to a well-planned, custom design studio. A good studio needs a bit of open space, often larger than a standard bedroom allows, and that is where customisation can provide a simple and affordable property solution. Studios can often double as guest spaces or can make an ideal teenager hangout as your family needs change.

Open plan kitchen home builder Maitland Newcastle Hunter Valley

Epic home entertainment. Many modern homes feature home cinema spaces as a standard, but the beauty of a custom house design means you can take the standard home cinema to the next level. This might include allowing for tiered seating, wired in tech, block-out screens, bar area, you name it.

Complete office set-up. And while all this talk of injecting fun and life-long dreams into development planning is exciting, business needs are increasingly on a client’s list of requirements. A substantial home office might be needed at the property, beyond a study nook or a converted spare bedroom. To meet many people’s modern work demands, the ideal home design includes a fully functional workspace, possibly with external access so clients don’t need to access the main part of the home. A complete office set-up could also save businesses from paying unnecessary office rent, adding to the overall affordability of a custom house design.

Valley Homes Bolwarra Heights Maitland Duplex Builder study

Workout in comfort. Also, as health is an increasing focus for many people living in and around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, a home gym is also a popular request when clients are using our custom design service. Forget being relegated to a cold cement garage to run on your treadmill or lift weights – design a purpose-built space with air-conditioning, insulation, carpet if you prefer, even with wall mounted screens and surround sound speakers.

Affordable lifestyles

Custom house designs are the perfect middle ground for most people looking to build in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and surrounds – they have a quality assured starting point with streamlined building efficiencies, which might include slab engineering, roof pitch, structural materials, orientation, through to certain finishes and fittings. But then you get to take that starting point and create something truly unique. Plus, the customisation ideas outlined in this article are just the beginning.

Valley Homes Custom Design Soldiers Point New South Wales

Contact our team today to book your personal planning session and start your custom house design journey with local home builder experts.


Once a multi-unit build is underway, a developer and builder need to work closely together, possibly for an extended period of time, to achieve successful results. So, to establish a healthy building relationship from the outset, one that continues to deliver throughout the duration of a multi-unit development project, we suggest you ask your potential builder as many questions as possible. This includes questions about past clients, as well as sub-contractors and suppliers.

Reputation is a key indicator of performance

Establishing the builder’s reputation is not often achieved via direct questioning of the builder, but rather it is uncovered by asking the broader development community their opinions and knowledge of track records. The importance of how a builder is perceived can never be underestimated, especially when it comes to an investment as large as a multi-unit development.

After all, the building industry is no different to any other industry in Australia; people talk and dissatisfied people tend to talk the loudest. So, ask around, and if you start to hear negative buzz surrounding a builder, pay attention and do plenty of research relating to their suitability.


Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

Ask to see the builder’s portfolio

Ensuring a builder understands the style and unit designs required for a development is critical. If the builder specialises in a certain style, be it large scale off-the-plan projects or small bespoke unit designs, make sure it aligns to your style and investment plans. In addition to the many styles available, past multi-unit developments’ project size and budgets are other points to take note of when looking at a multi-unit developer’s portfolio.

Take special notice of materials, finishes, and the unit designs floor plans, which will all indicate the standards you can expect from them if a future development were to go ahead. And while photographic portfolios are a great place to start, try not to rely on portfolios such as these to answer all of your development questions. By visiting some of the completed projects that enjoy some similarities with your multi-unit development, and the specific unit designs, can help determine if that particular builder is up to the scope and budget of your multi-unit investment ambitions.


Their team will be your team, so get to know them

A multi-unit development is a complex and often multiple-staged project. As such, there are many more people involved beyond the core team of sales, drafting and builders. A multi-unit development builder will also rely on the skills of their sub-contractors, plus the quality of the materials sourced from their suppliers. So ask any potential builder who they work with and try to gauge if they have a good relationship with them. A long-term relationship with suppliers and sub-contractors is a good sign that the builder operates professionally, and in-turn it may indicate the potential for future developments’ success.

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

Registrations and insurances are a must

All registered builders have builder registration numbers, so that is an easy and obvious check to make. Builder memberships can also be useful to know, as it can provide assurances of industry approved performance levels, and these include the likes of Master Builders Association etc.

Then there are insurances. These are critically important, legally and financially. A multi-unit development builder is required to have adequate public liability insurance, as well as construction insurance. And you must make sure your build is going to include a Home Warranty Insurance. Any reputable multi-unit builder will be more than willing to outline this information without any fuss.

Costs and payments, what is the builder’s process

Costs to build a multi-unit development rely on many factors and you should become familiar with all of them. It is vitally important for any investor to understand all of the clauses in the contracts and read the fine print. Importantly, before signing anything you should know what is included in the fees; ask if the surveying fees are included and if soil testing costs are covered. Find out what is the pricing structure and the processes relating to unit designs variations or changes to the schedule of work. Ask, what are the payment processes? Also, a percentage of the overall cost to build a multi-unit development is expected before work commences, and you should know exactly what the costs to build a unit are, up-front.

Don’t be afraid to get into the specifics either. Specifics could include invoicing procedures, plus payment terms and schedules, as well as establishing the expectation of finalising payments at the conclusion of the build during handover.

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development back yard

It’s easy, simply contact our experienced multi-unit team to arrange a meeting.

OR start completing your checklist for unit builders Newcastle right now by clicking the links below:

Hear from some of our recent clients

Browse our portfolio of recent projects

We build using quality materials, fittings and fixtures from our long-term suppliers

Discover our select range of partner services to ensure every build is of the highest standard


As experienced duplex builders Valley Homes has been bringing to life a range of duplex designs for many years now. While the duplex plans and prices may vary depending on the block size, developer budgets, and build timeframes, one thing is always consistent for the developers – the location of their development underpins the project’s overall success.

Duplexes are as popular as ever in the Newcastle region

Duplexes in and around Newcastle are still steadily rising in popularity for many reasons, including reduced land availability and the rising cost of land. Duplexes are also still one of the best ways for a first time developer to enter the property market, and they are also an incredibly sound investment if you have chosen to build a duplex as a means of increasing the equity in your land. So duplexes have a lot going for them.

However, no matter how great your duplex designs are, or how attractive the affordability of duplex build costs are, choosing the best location to build your development is essential. Because as all experienced duplex builders will tell you, a duplex build needs to be servicing a demand for housing in the area in which it is being built. That is, having the land and the plans are one thing, but having the market demand is another requirement entirely. And this can be where it pays to look beyond city centres to the surrounding suburbs for your duplex success story.

Valley Homes builder newcastle hunter maitland duplex
Outer Newcastle suburbs continue to attract duplex developers

When deciding to build a duplex the position of the land, especially in terms of natural features, community services, and regional amenities, is paramount. Fortunately for the Newcastle region it definitely ticks a lot of boxes when you go through a builder or developer checklist, proving itself to be an ideal area to build, particularly due to the region’s fast growing economy and population.

But like all regional centres, Newcastle city itself makes up only a small part of the areas geography, and popular duplex and townhouse designs and prices are just as well-suited to surrounding suburbs that can offer greater land availability, more competitive block prices, and good proximity to other drawcards the region has to offer, beyond city-living appeal.

For years we have been working with many local developers to refine our cost to build a duplex, as well as our duplex designs. Over this time we have started to see new opportunities in a number of suburbs, suburbs that are being sought-after by the developers we are duplex builders for. The suburbs of Kahibah and Jesmond are just two of these rising regional stars, and they seem to be coming out on top for good reason…


Jesmond: beyond the student marketDrury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

The University of Newcastle is a major drawcard for Jesmond developers, particularly when it comes to duplex plans and prices targeted at providing student housing solutions. But a growing trend is seeing developers look beyond the student market to also service the thousands of staff that work at the University. After all, many Australian academics, as well as international professors, need a well-appointed place for their families that is also close to where they are working. Jesmond also has a shopping precinct, close proximity to a number of public parks, is next door to the new bypass, and is minutes from the freeway – making it an attractive suburb for property investment.

minutes from quiet beach escapes and the region’s biggest shopping centre

Kahibah is a town that is definitely on the move. It has great coastal access to Redhead and Dudley beaches, is only a stone’s throw away from Glenrock lagoon, including its walking and bike tracks, and Kahibah is neighbours to Charlestown, which boast a massive shopping and entertainment centre. Plus, only a few minutes on the Pacific Highway in the opposite direction will take you to Newcastle’s city centre. Yes, Kahibah is a central location and so it follows that duplex builders, like us, are seeing unprecedented interest from developers who are requesting information on the cost to build a duplex in the town. This seems especially true for families and first-time developers who recognise the opportunities in Kahibah’s generous sized blocks that also happen to be well-suited to our extensive range of duplex designs.

Valley Homes Duplex builder house design NewcastleDuplex designs Newcastle
, Kahibah, Jesmond…

Valley Homes has ten complete duplex plans and prices ready for local developers to start their build. The collection includes townhouse designs and prices, as well as single level duplex designs, featuring a variety of facades, finishes and fixtures. And of course, we can customise duplex plans and prices depending on the individual developer requirements.

Our team of duplex builders know Newcastle. We know the ins-and-outs of duplex build costs and we know outstanding duplex designs. Plus, we also know what is already working for the region’s top developers. So contact us today to find out how our expertise can help your duplex plans become a reality.

Interested in duplexes in and around Newcastle: take a look at some of our recent duplex builds



If you’re interested in property in regional Australia a rural acreage offers more than spacious living solutions, acreages are also positioned in a strong sector of the property market.

Right now regional Australia is one of the most stable markets on the current property landscape and an astute investment in regional land ownership is a relatively solid one. In fact, in New South Wales, regional blocks of land that are suitable for generous acreage home plans are plentiful, as well as being quite economical, which makes them an attractive building investment.

However, if you are unfamiliar with regional living or are unsure about what to look out for in an acreage block, the prospect can be daunting. So this article will help you start to think through your options.

Acreage, country home, design, build, house designs, rural, Australia

Know your acreage plans and property ambitions

A cleverly planned house design for an acreage is a great starting point to establish your building budget. This step ensures you have a clear indication of acreage house costs, as well as initiates and establishes a relationship with a regional builder. But there is something just as pressing to know – your property purpose.

Is your property for permanent living or is it going to be a weekender? Are you planning on building a retreat on the site to create an additional income stream? Is it your plan to run a hobby farm with a few animals? Or plant a small crop such as an orchard? Or are your house designs for an acreage part of your retirement plan with a focus on long-term easy management?

When thinking through these questions listed above, it will soon become obvious that your acreage purpose will determine size, type and even the location of suitable properties. So now ask yourself, do you want a:

  • small block of about 3 to 5 acres,
  • medium 40 plus acres,
  • larger scale farm that would require 100 plus acres

Knowing the intended purpose of your acreage can be a critical element to the overall success of your rural property venture, because there are more outcomes to consider than simply size and budget. There can be restrictions placed on certain blocks of land by state or local authorities, including the fact that some blocks are not able to be cleared. Such restrictions might mean you can’t build that stately acreage or become the Hunter Valley’s next boutique vineyard on your particular rural block of land.

Clearing may also be the least of your problems if soil type, access to water, climate, or connected services are not suited to your needs either. So once you know your purpose, make sure you determine what specific characteristics your block of land requires.

Acreage home design Hunter Valley

Get to know your neighbours

Once you have nailed down your purpose, block requirements, have a budget outline and have a rough idea of acreage house prices by talking to an experienced acreage builder, the next course of action to take is spending time in the particular area. Some developers suggest a minimum of a year researching your chosen part of regional New South Wales to allow the entire scope of seasons to be observed. Of course, that may not be possible to many. So another great avenue for property research the area is to talk to the local land owners.

Find out what they do and how they manage their property through the seasons. Plus, even though rural neighbours aren’t necessarily on top of you like it would be the case in the city, the activities or business conducted on their property may create dust, smoke, noise or even odours that could affect your own business plans, or hinder the type of lifestyle you wish to create. So a quick chat at this early stage can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Acreage Home design valley homes
Valley Homes acreages
represent country living at its finest

When designing your acreage house plans there may be increased fire safety measures to consider, or more fencing required than your last place. However, the good news is, acreage house prices are often less expensive than their inner-city counterparts even though the acreage house plans can take in much larger space. This means you can design your acreage to give you and your loved ones space to breathe and take in the natural surrounds, while you are also saving investment costs on the purchase price of your block of land in comparison to buying a much smaller city block.

If you want to find out more about the types of acreage designs our team can build for you, or ask about a custom designed architectural build on your prized piece of New South Wales land, then please take a look at our extensive range of acreage designs. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our experienced team members who will offer acreage advice, as well as get your project underway.


Just about every person we spoke to over the last year was busy, and in 2018 that was certainly true for Valley Homes too. We built a house a week as part of a unique defence housing project, Wirraway Estate, and after a lot of hard work and clever systems design we won an award for our WHS Management System. Plus we consistently provided local families and astute investors budget advice, all while delivering quality builds on a range of different building options. This included acreages perfect for modern families and duplexes and dual occupancies to suit the unique needs of retirees.

Of course, being busy is great for Valley Homes and so we are working hard to make sure 2019 will include more big partnerships with estates and larger scale projects, as well as more unique home plans to provide our local families, retirees, first home buyers, and investors new home builds that inspire. And because 2019’s New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, now is the perfect time to celebrate the successes of 2018 and then swiftly look ahead to what is in store for you in 2019…

2019 – Trends and Inspirations

Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

Our design team is always on the lookout for the latest décor styles and building products, so here are their big 2019 tips from their favourite design sites and trend forecasters:

Colour trends

Taubmans Colour Inspirations showcase a range of looks from coastal to industrial and more traditional palettes with bold and spirited colours for the home that reflect harmony and nature. Colour giant Pantone has also released their must-have colours and Living Coral is Pantone’s pick for 2019. So while millennial pink may be out of favour, vibrant corals are set to be adding pops of colour in on-trend décors.

Interior design inspiration

In 2019 recycled, sustainable, textural, and natural designer pieces will continue to grow in popularity. Texture is a big one as it is both a visual and sensory experience, and some of the best interior designers will be carefully layering large pieces of marble or stone with soft timber tones. Natural wool and cotton rugs, velvety and soft cushions, and flowing window dressings are set to be partnered with warm metallic materials and clean, sleek lines. Gold is the metallic colour of choice for 2019, particularly popular with the modern art-deco movement, brought to life as bar carts, striking mirrors, and bathroom and kitchen fittings.

Architecture Trends

The kitchen continues to be the centrepiece of home life and the best house plans are reflecting this. Open plan living is still in high-demand, but the 2019 version includes greater focus on fostering conversations and creating design flow for keep families connected to each other, as well as connecting them to the world in which they live. The internet of things will really come into play with smart fridges being one of the most sought-after appliances in modern kitchen designs.

Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

Industrialism is also set for a comeback in 2019 with matte black and concrete featuring in many architectural home plans. Also, just as recycled and sustainable interiors are popular, eco-friendly architecture is also set to dominate in 2019, which seamlessly connects to our next trend…

Landscaping and Outdoor

Landscaping is no longer a solely outdoor undertaking. In 2019 we will see more indoor living spaces featuring green walls and even micro urban farming units transforming homes and living spaces in meaningful and nourishing ways. Outdoor rooms are predicted to increase in popularity and one of the most fun outdoor predictions is the emergence of adult-treehouses. Another favourite here at Valley Homes is the movement towards private oases cleverly tucked away in your very own garden. They’re perfect for day-to-day luxury resort-style living, while also offering unique entertaining opportunities for guests.

Investments in 2019

Property market investment trends are probably the most important to pay attention to for developers looking for their next investment project, and also for our local families, couples and retirees wanting to either get into the property market, upsize or downsize in 2019. The good news is while some markets are on the decline regional Australia is tipped to be where Australia’s property market stays strong in 2019. So it seems Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens residents are predicted to benefit from a healthy property market in 2019.

Hunter Valley NSW Australia wine region property investment build own live

2019, let’s get into it

Whether your New Year’s resolutions or 2019 goals are looking towards a refurbishment, renovation or a completely new construction, hopefully now you are armed with all the design inspirations and trends to get your started for what will no doubt be a busy 2019 – and if it is quality construction and building, and architectural house plans you want in your year ahead, talk to our team.

Our top 5 Articles of 2018:Valley Homes WHS Workplace Health and Safety Award win 2018







Tallowood exclusive builder

Lifestyle estate and resort-style community for the over 50s

Valley Homes is the exclusive builder for Stage 1 of Tallowood Medowie. Offering people nearing retirement a resort-style lifestyle at an incredible location just outside of Port Stephens.


Duplex Specialists

Valley Homes’ duplex designs are diverse and fully customisable.

Our duplexes can accommodate a range of block sizes, be single or double-storey, feature three bedrooms or greater, open plan living, entertaining areas, two bathrooms and intelligent storage.


Acreage Series

Everything you would expect in contemporary country home design.

Whether you have a property in the Hunter Valley or a sprawling plot closer to the city, our Acreage Series provides generous living spaces, luxurious design features and clever storage throughout.


Contact our Team

Valley Homes is proud of its reputation as a builder of quality dwellings.

Offering a range of house designs, unit developments and building solutions to suit your needs and budget. Sold at competitive prices with no hidden expenses. Talk to our team of experts to find out more.

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