Lara Knight – 25 November, 2019
Almost all Australian towns and cities are expanding with new homes. Land developments fill with formulaic, on-trend building designs that date rapidly through future decades.
The Junk Map appreciates those who try something a little different. A 100% recycled build is not always practical so we also look at projects that mix things up. For example the driftwood splashback above. It’s an unexpected kitchen surface that changes the white layout from standard to standout.
The McAullay’s are a young crew who love timber and are happy to experiment with characterful ingredients. It’s good to see them rewarded for it.
The photo of Manny, Marlon and Mason just reminded me of the white and blue shirt pics of the Hemsworth boys. Another Australian brotherhood in the spotlight 🙂
McAullay’s is a family building team. Can you run through who does what and how you ended up working together?
In the big scheme of things, we are just a really small family-run business. We have three directors who all happen to be brothers, in age order they are Manny, Marlon and Mason. The company was established roughly eight years ago when Manny and Marlon decided to combine skills to become a building duo.
Focussing on smaller jobs such as decks, patios and renovations we quickly became flat out and had a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. At this stage, Mason was completing his carpentry apprenticeship with another small local builder. Then things went a little bit pear-shaped. After just getting the business off the ground and finding our feet in the building game, an unfortunate accident happened which saw Manny with a serious spinal injury. This resulted in 5+ months off work and a long rehab process.
Leaving Marlon running a one-man team and trying to keep on top of the work load we had lined up just wasn’t realistic. This is when Mason finished his apprenticeship and joined the business.
Since then, the three of us have stuck together and built a great reputation around town. Nowadays our main passion is building client-focused custom homes, but we still love the odd smaller project like outdoor areas, renovations etc.
Over the years our team has grown with apprentices, tradies and different scopes of subcontractors. Behind the scenes in the office we have our little sister onboard too, keeping track of all our movements, accounts and making sure clients are happy, and Marlon’s wife is also savvy with some tricky behind the scenes stuff.
You took out 13 awards at the 2019 Master Builders Awards for Regional WA including Best Country Home, Small Builder of the Year, Excellence in Recycling and Excellence in Energy Efficiency. What areas were you most proud of?
Overall, we’re proud of the outcome on the night. We would have been stoked to walk away with one award, but to be awarded a few more was a nice bonus! I guess we are most proud of taking out the major award of the night, 2019 Best Country Home, to be honest it is what all builders were there for. But to be recognised for our efforts in recycling and energy efficiency is something we are definitely proud of too.
One of the McAullay signatures is recycled features mixed into a contemporary design. Is that direction coming from client or builder?
I guess it is a mix of both the client and builder. We will try to add a ‘McAullay Builders’ touch to any home or project we can. But in saying that, people that come to us to get a home built usually have a strong vision of what they want, or have liked the look of some of our past homes, being out of the ordinary and custom built. We are strong believers in building a good connection and relationship with clients and that allows us to propose ideas they may not have thought of. Touches that give their new home a bit more character and add their own personalities into the build.
When we (and our partners) built our own homes, we were able to explore using an assortment of materials. Each of us have different creativity and vision so it was cool to see what came to life. In the building game there is a lot of the same being built and we love building something different and unique.
Where have you used recycled materials in the past and what do you feel they added to each project?
In recent times we completed a custom home with a stunning driftwood splashback in the kitchen, topped with a fireproof glass housing to make it practical. We hadn’t seen anything like this before, so it was special to see it come together and our client was ecstatic. This house also featured some large wooden beams that created a feature in the entrance of the home. They were sourced locally and, after looking into the history of them, we discovered they were actually once part of the old Geraldton Building Company building. So to have a piece of Geraldton history incorporated in a modern build is something different.
Another recent award-winning home was riddled with authentic materials and recycled pieces. We were very fortunate to build this home for some amazing clients whose vision was very aligned with ours. They were super keen to live in an ‘out of the ordinary’ home. This made our job seem almost easy as we could let all our creative juices run free. Including recycled products in the design of a home/renovation etc is a no-brainer really. You can’t go into Bunnings and buy all these one-off pieces, they’re just unique. Like a bottle of wine, everything gets better with age.
Where do you source second hand ingredients?
Anywhere! We’re always on the lookout. If we hear of materials going to waste that we could potentially put to good use, we’ll snavel them up. We are self-proclaimed wood enthusiasts, so old bits of old timber get us really excited! We are lucky enough to have the Abrolhos Islands right at our doorstep, so we often head over to find washed up pieces of driftwood which are perfect for side projects or features in homes.
Salvage yards are a great place to source special one-off pieces of wood as well as just word of mouth. Living in a small town can definitely have its perks.
Construction and demolition have room for improvement in terms of waste. What areas do you try to focus on?
Construction is our main focus and passion. Right across the road from our family home in Geraldton is a local guy, Ian, who owns and runs a handmade furniture business. He actually has the biggest timber yard in the southern hemisphere spread across three blocks of residential land. (Okay, not really in the southern hemisphere but he has quite a collection!) We use him for all of our demolition and asbestos removal needs. He really doesn’t let anything go to waste and we know where to find it as it’s not too far from home.