The Playoust Churcher guide to building on the North Shore while living abroad


Whether you are in London, New York, Hong Kong or Pymble, if you are looking for a North Shore architect to build your dream home, you’ve come to the right place. And that’s because we have the connections and ability to make it happen.

Playoust Churcher Managing Director Brett Churcher explains,

“Working with expats isn’t something new for us. We’ve done it before, both for residential homes for families returning to Australia and also for holiday homes for families who want a beautiful space to spend their downtime while they are back in the country.

The result for our clients overseas is exactly the same as for our clients living on the North Shore. We design a home you will love to live in and protect that design and concept integrity at every stage of the project.”

Foundations of solid communication

Foundations of solid communication


One of the biggest concerns our overseas clients have is how we will communicate throughout the process. And justifiably so.

With any home design project, communication is always key. Good communication ensures that we understand your vision and can translate your family and home requirements into a design you will love.

While the method of communication may be different for an expat client vs a local client who can come into our office for meetings, communication is all part of our process. Brett explains,

“For our clients living abroad, we use technology like Zoom or FaceTime for our weekly meetings. Sometimes we meet daily, depending on which stage of the process we are at.

If something arises during the build phase, we can be on site with the builder in a video call with the client to get a quick resolution.

It doesn’t matter if you are around the corner in Lindfield or sitting in your office in Singapore, we will communicate with you every step of the way.”

3D Design of a big home with a pool

Bringing your design to life


When it comes to the design of your home, a remote working relationship with your architect shouldn’t mean that you are any less involved in the design process… or that there will be any surprises in the finished product.

Once again, we turn to the same technology as we use with our local clients to guide you through every stage of the design process.

“As architects, we use a range of technology to bring our designs to life for our clients,” says Brett. “What starts as a pencil sketch turns into a photo-realistic 3D walkthrough so clients can navigate their way around their home… from wherever they are in the world. We start with the building form and as the design develops we can layer that up with materials, textures and colours.

Being able to show these 3D graphics really brings the design to life. Although usually, our clients tell us that their kids take over, zooming around the design and quickly developing a brief for their bedrooms!”

Every design is unique to the people who will be living in the home. And through our innovative approach and exceptional design skills, you can trust that your dream home will fit you like a glove.

Backyard swimming pool with house in the background | Playoust Churcher North Shore Architects

Tried-and-tested process


“Our clients trust us with their homes. And we take that trust very seriously,” says Brett. “We have been North Shore architects for decades, and we have developed a solid process that supports our clients from the very beginning of the home design process through to the completion of the project.”

Our process is tried and tested. We know that when we follow our process precisely, our clients get the best possible outcome. It’s not possible to resolve every minor detail in the early design stages, but with our process that doesn’t matter because we are there to resolve any issues and provide detailed electrical plans etc. as they are required.

And for our overseas expat clients, who can’t be on site regularly to check on progress, knowing that we are taking care of those details on their behalf gives them the peace of mind they need. Brett explains,

“We don’t take shortcuts. We have a process and we know it works. For our clients who are located overseas throughout the design and build of their home, they can trust that we will protect the integrity of their design. And they will get the dream home they were looking for.”

Working around your schedule

Working around your schedule


Our process is a very structured one because we know that’s what works. But at the same time, we have flexibility within our process to take a blended approach that can adapt to your schedule. Whether that is time differences while you are located overseas, or scheduling specific stages of the project for when you will be in Sydney. Brett explains how this can work,

“For one client we worked with previously, they were located overseas but did make semi-regular trips back home. We structured our meeting timeframe around these visits so they could go through materials and colours with us face to face and see where the design was heading with the interior design elements. In the later stages of the build, we met them on site to see the progress of the build.

We still used the same technology to meet with them virtually while they were abroad so when they were back in Australia there were no surprises.

Some of our clients living abroad are also opting to move back into their homes when they return to the North Shore, to avoid paying Capital Gains Tax if they were to sell the home. We can then extend DAs or work with them on a renovation so the house meets their new family requirements on their return.”

Experience and capability


We offer every client the same thing… our exceptional design skills, passion for good design and decades of experience designing for the North Shore. And it’s all wrapped up in a proven process that delivers every time.

Contact us to discuss how we can deliver your dream home vision while you are living abroad.

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