With a background in dairy farming, Dale Alcock Homes South West Senior Designer Anthony Harris certainly knows what people want when they ask for a farmhouse.
Falling in love with buildings at the tender age of six, Mr Harris began drawing house plans at 15 and discovered a passion for tech drawing.
“I started in my career as a drafty in 1999 and was given my first design job more than a year later,” he said.
“I was working for a small design firm in Bunbury and from that moment I was hooked and knew I wanted to be involved in design every day of the week.”
Following this, a two-year stint and a close call with a cow saw Mr Harris potentially having to give up on his design career, but thankfully his childhood dream is still a reality with the designer now celebrating more than a decade with Dale Alcock Homes South West.
“I was kicked by a cow during milking one morning and shattered my left thumb,” he said.
“I now have nine screws and a wire holding it all together.
“Thankfully it was not my right hand.”
No stranger to country living, Mr Harris said the quintessential farmhouse-style home was a favourite and popular among his regional clients.
Captured beautifully by Dale Alcock Homes South West’s Stonebridge display, the design typically means raked ceilings, a central double-sided fireplace, a large alfresco and an entertainer’s kitchen.
According to Mr Harris, it’s also a style that naturally drives a thirst for indoor/outdoor connectivity, which allows him to practise what he does best.
“I really believe in connecting indoors and outdoors – in particular kitchens,” Mr Harris said.
“Kitchens are the hub of all homes and I really enjoy that flow from the kitchen to the outdoors.
“It just makes sense – the Western Australian lifestyle is so outdoor orientated.”
For Mr Harris, the kitchen is the main focus when approaching the house design, a viewpoint no doubt inspired by his wife’s job as a chef.
The veteran designer said this encouraged him to challenge conventional uses for the home’s engine room and consider design that inspired both cooking and socialising.
Aside from investigating how to get the most out of a kitchen, Mr Harris is sure to have sustainability on the brain when designing a dream home for a buyer.
Having watched environmental apathy virtually disappear as responsible design choices became integral to the WA building landscape, Mr Harris said people were tending to respect the orientation of a design more and wanted to make informed choices towards a responsible design.
At the moment, the industry is grappling with challenges created by the demand for eco-friendly property, particularly the issue of making sustainable design accessible to all clients.
Mr Harris said he was mindful of this when crafting a house and advocated for basic and tactile sustainable features like rain harvesting and solar power.
Though the environment enthusiast was headstrong about creating homes for the future, he admitted his favourite part of the design process was engaging with his clients.
“I really enjoy interpreting people’s visions – I love listening to the story and taking a design brief,” Mr Harris said. “You get to find out so much about people when you listen to how they see their new home and how they want to live in it.
“The challenge is then trying to turn that into a reality.”
Speaking briefly on his personal life, Mr Harris said he and his wife recently moved into an old home and were currently in the process of establishing their ideal aesthetic.
Mr Harris’ love of mid-century modern design was certainly a drawcard for the property, which boasts a mix of ageing, present day and restored pieces complemented by many indoor plants.
High ceilings, stunning wall strapping and jarrah floorboards complete the home, which Mr Harris said now leant toward a contemporary spin on the classic Queenslander.
CONTACT Dale Alcock Homes South West, 9242 9200, www.dalealcock.com.au