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2017 Eden Beach Telethon Home

Brad McDonald (Design Manager for In Vogue) explains exactly what goes into the planning and design of such an iconic project


In their 39th year as a major contributor, Midland Brick are proud to see their very latest products featured in this year’s Telethon Home, built by In Vogue. Midland Brick’s Promenade Granite pavers, Contempo Grey slimline face bricks and Augusta Limestone two-course face bricks were used throughout the build to stunning effect.

To find out just how these and other products are selected, the team from Midland Brick spoke with Brad McDonald, the Design Manager for In Vogue, who explained what goes into the planning and design of such an iconic project.

How long have you been involved in designing Telethon homes?

The 2017 Telethon Home is the 10th I’ve designed.

Where do you find your influence or focus for each design?
Our aim is always to create designs suited to the WA lifestyle and be relevant to the local homebuyer. It’s all about getting it right for the Perth market. Our lifestyle, and the expectations we place on our homes, are actually quite unique. There are marked differences between Perth and the Eastern states; things like climate, materials, cost of construction, trade base skills etc. The end result is that Perth is recognised as having some of the best constructed homes in the country.

How far ahead do you start the design process?
We continually look at ideas to make the home a stand-out design each year, so it’s an ongoing process, but we can’t get into actual planning until we’ve secured the lot. Then it’s all go from there.

How important is the inclusion of new technology and materials – do you find that the market expects cutting edge stuff?
Yes, we always look to incorporate the latest technology and materials available. The Telethon Home is a great way for us to showcase new and innovative products. The challenge is to include these in a way that makes sense in context of the home and avoid a miss-mash of colour texture and style. However, there are some enduring products that we always specify to ensure the quality of the home is maintained, like the choice of Midland Brick bricks and paving, which have been part of every Telethon Home from the first.

When it comes to the fit-out and furniture, do you, as the designer, get involved there too?
Yes, it’s a task of selection and coordination. Colours of bench tops, cupboards and floor and wall finishes all set the scene prior to the furniture fit out, so on opening day the public see a seamless design throughout.

Being a Telethon Home, do you have to allow for any inclusions over and above the mandatory building requirements?
Yes, we do. The Telethon Home is a complete home in every sense. We try to make it a simple case of move in and start living for the auction winners, right down to the BBQ on the balcony in this year’s home.

In the 10 years you’ve been designing, is there a favourite that stands out to you?
For me, this one… as a designer, it’s hard to remain objective; but personally, it’s a close-run thing between this year’s home and the 2012 home, which was in Port Coogee.

Are your other home designs within the JWH Group influenced by the Telethon home – or visa-versa?
Yes they are. A challenge with the Telethon Home is that the new owner nearly always takes possession straight after settlement, which means that all the ideas we develop within the home are, in effect, hidden after settlement occurs. We often use the ideas or concepts in our next crop of designs, whether that’s on display or as promotional product on our web sites.

What’s the most difficult aspect of designing a Telethon Home?
It’s a balance – a 3-way juggling act between making use of the materials and products we are lucky enough to have access to, keeping any eye on the overall outcome we are striving for, and sticking to the time line to have the home open on time. And we’ve got pretty good at that over the past 12 homes.

What’s the most satisfying thing about designing a Telethon Home?
I’d have to say, carrying on a tradition of helping and giving back to the community, and working with all the trades and suppliers who give their time and products so freely. It’s a real privilege to be involved.

The 2017 Telethon home was auctioned as part of the 2017 Telethon weekend – October 21-22. The home sold for $650,000, with all proceeds being donated to Telethon.

To find out more about Midland Brick, visit the website here.

To find out more about In Vogue, visit the website here.