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Nunamara Forest House Story (Part 1)

Meet Murray & Fiona and follow their journey building their dream modular home in Tasmania during the year of the pandemic.

There’s a sought-after tradition in architecture that sees earth, water, air, and fire come together in a structure. In this forest home at Nunamara, built during 2020, there’s a place at the far end of the house where this magical fusion happens in effortless style.

In the sanctuary of the master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto an austere black eucalypt forest. Trees soar skywards from the earth, beautifully framed. In one spacious corner is a grown-ups’ retreat, two reading chairs set before a miniature wood-burner, which flames quietly. In the en-suite bathroom, two immense windows form one corner of the room, and the bather stands beneath the flow of water surrounded by forest.

It’s earth, air, fire, and water, come together in a moment of design perfection.

Yet this two-bedroom modular home was not an expensive build with a no-holds-barred budget. Its design was dreamt up by its owners, and drawn up by the Tasbuilt team. It was built in modular form at the Westbury factory, then transported and installed in the forest. What’s more, the clients were overseas and interstate for the entire build, due to international travel restrictions.

Murray and Fiona had always wanted to live on a bush block, to escape the hustle and bustle of city living. They had no connections to Tasmania but chose it for the lifestyle, climate, and ease of travel. The proximity of airports and connecting flights, they have found, makes it quick to reach family elsewhere, and to travel for business.

By 2019 they had purchased their eight-acre forest block in Nunamara sight-unseen. It was the first of many things they’d do online.

Fiona was teaching in Hamilton, Victoria, and Murray was nearing the end of an engineering contract in the Congo when travel restrictions were imposed. Electing to stay in Africa to complete his contract, Murray began the search for a company willing to undertake a build via a long-distance relationship. The idea of a modular build with Tasbuilt clicked straight away.

‘It sounded very good for the bush block, to build the house off-site and then transport it,’ he says. ‘Economically it sounded good, and it minimised the amount of work done here.’ He made contact through the website and found himself talking to Ben Trimmer (Project Leader at Tasbuilt) a couple of hours later.

Ben was asked to visit the site, before committing to a contract. ‘He phoned me via WhatsApp video call and walked around the site,’ continues Murray. Although mid-afternoon for Ben and three in the morning for Murray, it was a quick and easy way of covering off details like tree management to get transport trucks in. Murray was emboldened by Ben’s conviction that the block would make for an ‘awesome build’, and the contract was sealed!

Stay tuned for PART 2 of the Nunamara Forest House Story; where we delve into the construction journey and interior design process of Murray and Fiona’s dream home.


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