Grand Designs Australia

Fantasy gamers build medieval home on Grand Designs Australia

Can $500,000 turn a fantasy hobby into a fantasy home?

Anglican reverends Neil and Ruth Mathieson wanted to turn their love of all things medieval into a dream home in Adelaide.

They've spent the past 20 years living in church accommodation and various rentals, but with their two kids Hamish and Christina growing fast, decided the time was right to build their own home.

So how do you translate your passion for gothic architecture and fantasy gaming into a house?

After all, when Neil isn't playing Dungeons & Dragons, or working at his parish in Port Adelaide, he and his family don their costumes and hit the closest medieval fair.

To capture the medieval spirit in their new abode, the couple used suitably old-fashioned building methods dating back 1000 years, essentially handcrafting the building out of woodwork.

Ruth said: "I think seeing the beautiful craftsmanship and workmanship that can be involved in using timber, particularly when using the more old fashioned medieval styles, has led to this."

The bones of the building were built medieval style by hand, with eight huge timber A-frames, manufactured off site.

The external cladding, meanwhile, skipped to the 21st century, with high-tech insulated panels for the walls and roof.

Their time-frame of nine months and budget of $500,000 didn't make things easy, nor did the fact that they started with no accurate estimate or fixed contract.

Neil helped make the frames and beams, along with a small team of carpentry experts. It may be a dying art, but luckily for Neil the team happened to be in Adelaide.

With such a tight budget, certain parts of the project could only happen because of goodwill, including a childhood friend who helped make the windows.

They eventually moved into the unfinished project, but two years later it still isn't finished.

Neil said: "We initially said we wouldn't go over budget in terms of getting extra loans and we've stuck to that so that's why it's dragged out a bit."

Ruth added: "Both our parents have been very generous in helping us out though."

You can't rush beauty, especially when incoporating your life passions into the build, and the couple estimate another six to 12 months to complete their home.

Like this artice? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered striaght to your inbox.

By registering you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Privacy Notice


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.