At Rosewood, we have always been passionate advocates for high standards in our workmanship – we work hard at making sure all the details on our homes are perfect. So it was refreshing and reassuring that the builders in the Hamptons were similar in their thinking.
I have written about our 2019 trip to the US to see the real-life Hamptons homes on this forum before (Part 1 & Part 2). Designed as research for our senior team, it was a great opportunity to see the style of homes that have really resonated with Australian homebuyers in their natural habitat.
Gina Krajc (Rosewood’s Creative Director and my wife) had identified the Hamptons design style as a trend that had great potential in the local market, and the launch of the Hamptons-inspired Liana has been a big success for our company.
So many things we learned during our trip! Thanks to a couple of local trade shows, we even had the opportunity to meet with some of the builders in the Hamptons and gain exclusive access to their classic American-style home projects.
The generous local builders even explained some of their techniques and finer details of their processes, which was fantastic – and so educational for us.
Level of workmanship
The inspections were eye opening. The level of workmanship internally in the fit and finish of their homes was very impressive and at a level of quality beyond what I’ve seen in Sydney.
I felt that the joinery, tiling, carpentry and painting were all examples of a standard hard to find in Sydney’s domestic construction market.
I spoke to one of the local builders, who talked about the dramatic shift in the demographic of their skilled trades – away from the traditional white workforce of previous decades to a predominantly Hispanic trade base.
He told me that their supervisor has needed to learn to speak Spanish in order to communicate with their skilled trades. A great example of adapting to meet modern labour challenges.
I also observed that the construction of the Hamptons homes was quite different to the norm here in Australia, which is part of the reason that direct replication of the style is neither practical nor affordable to Rosewood Homes’ target market.
With the harshness of their cold and snowy winters, the general domestic construction there comprised underground basements with a suspended slab over at ground level – a style that would not be applicable to Sydney.
However, there were elements that we realised we could incorporate practically and cost-effectively into our homes – see our breakdown here
In the Hamptons, timber wall framing above the ground floor slab was typically clad externally with their version of particle board sheeting, over which these walls were then finished with cedar cladding (traditional shingles, horizontally oriented boards, or vertically oriented boards).
The wall frames were then insulated heavily before internal linings (composite material panelling or ‘sheet rock’) were fixed in place. Roofs were typically conventionally pitched, sheeted, then clad with either cedar shingles or bituminous shingles.
These are all interesting elements that we can adapt for Australian conditions.
Windows and glazed doors were always double-glazed and of a standard of quality well beyond the typical domestic systems found in Australia. I think the team picked up some valuable tips here that we can include in future designs.
All in all, our trip was an educational and valuable experience – much to think about, adapt and consider for our future plans.
Key points I learned
- Quality always wins! Attention to detail, especially on the internal fitout, means that homes will last the distance.
- Architectural elements can add character – the timber fretwork details found in classic American homes will resonate with our customers.
- Classic styling – the elegance and understated style of The Hamptons will last through the ebb and flow of Sydney’s fickle housing market.