Meet Jennifer Crawford, your New Home Coach

Imagine being able to have a house that you always wanted – beautifully built, functional, sustainable, tailored to your family needs. To be able to pick everything yourself – from the number of the rooms to the size of the bathroom, from the colour of the house to the kitchen sink.

Oh, what can be sweater than the great Australian dream of owning a “dream” house!

Unfortunately, a dream can often turn into a nightmare. Building from scratch or renovating can be daunting, time consuming and stressful, never mind expensive.

So, for many of us, the homes of our dreams remain just that, dreams. But if you are brave enough to take a leap and turn your dream into reality, you need to find a professional to make it happen. An architect is your best bet. With an architect, you get a one-off design that takes best advantage of the site, in the style you prefer, and meets your personal needs.

Dream requires inspiration, and the architect has a vision for how to create a beautiful home that looks and feels right. But it’s important to find an architect who understands your style and needs. You need to gel with the architect as you will be working together for a long time. You want someone you can be comfortable with, who can understand your vision, listen to your ideas and respect your budget.

Enter Jennifer Crawford, your New Home Coach. Jennifer is a registered architect who has helped hundreds of people make the right decisions when building or renovating their dream homes.

Jennifer grew up in Sydney’s west in the ordinary house built by her parents. Like many Australian houses of that era, family’s home was unsympathetic to Australian landscape and built with little understanding of Australian climate. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Her childhood house inspired Jennifer to become an architect and help people built the right homes that were well-designed, practical and sustainable, homes that everyone could emotionally connect to.

Today Jennifer runs her practice Our New Home Coach in Sydney’s inner-west. Her work is gaining traction as more and more people discover that her practice is different to others. Jennifer can not only pick your home design and assist with the built but tweak your existing plans, make suggestions for alternative layouts, go through your plans with you to see what’s included (or not) or just confirm that you’re on the right track with your renos and save you from the costly mistakes.

I chat to Jennifer about her approach to residential architecture, her design philosophy, what inspires her and what is on her bucket list.

What is your background?

I grew up in the outer western suburbs of Sydney with my parents and younger brother. I have lived in Sydney my whole life and have lived in the Inner West for the last 21 years.

Why did you choose to study architecture?

I chose to study architecture when I was still in primary school. I liked the idea of architecture because at school I was good at art and mathematics. I saw architecture as a nice combination of the two.

What inspires you?

People that do work to help the community in general inspire me as well as those who make complicated things accessible to regular people. People like David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Brian Cox. Also, there are many people much closer to home who are very generous with those around them.

What is your philosophy?

As it relates to my work, I want to make architecture accessible to everyone.

What is the most challenging part about being an architect today?

The answer to this question depends on who you talk to. Some people see technology as being a challenge, while others see it as an opportunity. Some see the role of the architect as being diminished due to changes in the construction industry. I believe architects have so much to contribute to the community but we need to step forward and offer this help rather than waiting for people to approach us.

What do you most and least enjoy about your job?

I love helping my clients work through their ideas and come up with something that exceeds their expectations. I also love it when my clients are so happy with their new or renovated home. What I least enjoy is when there are conflicts that happen on the job, either with Council or builders. Luckily, this is quite rare and can usually be resolved.

What was your favorite project so far?

My favourite ones are where the client has really pushed themselves and their project to create something that they could never have dreamed of in the beginning. One of my favourites to date is still yet to be built. It was one of my very first clients that put a lot of faith in me to deliver the design for her home.

What is your dream house?

I don’t know if I have one dream house. There are features of many houses that I really admire. Often, they are small houses that are really clever in their design to make the most of limited space. I love the cleverness and simplicity of many Japanese houses.

Your practice ‘Our New Home Coach’ is different to others. How is it different?

Yes, my business is not a standard architectural practice. I support people renovating or building their ideal home who feel unsure of the choices they are making because of the financial and emotional risk involved. I highlight what works well and what doesn’t, suggesting new design options when necessary, so they’re confident to proceed with their improved design.

Sometimes people say that their architect doesn’t seem to hear what they want. People have their own ideas. Can you incorporate them into your design?

Yes of course! I prefer to have my clients build houses that they truly love full of their ideas. Often, though, many of my clients may have been working with an architect or draftsperson that has basically drawn up what they were told to draw. Some of these clients would like to have more of a discussion of the different options that are available to them potentially creating something special that never would have occurred to them in the first instance.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

One of my proudest moments was when my son took my business card to school to show his class for news. It was obvious to me that he was proud of what I was doing.

How do you manage the demands of family life and work?

It is always a challenge but I know that I am not alone in this regard. Many working families have the same challenges. I have a great network of mums at school that help me out regularly. It is swings and roundabouts too as I help them out in return when I can.

We all know that life is very demanding. How do you relax? What brings you pleasure?

I do love a good massage. When things get a bit too frantic, I just need to say enough is enough and reward myself by switching off and taking some time for self-care.

What is on your bucket list?

I would love to do a lot more travel. There are so many places that I would love to visit. So many buildings to see and experience.

Describe yourself in one word. Why this word?

Determined. As you know, running your own business is hard work. Sometimes, it just seems that you are spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. I know that I am finally getting somewhere and am determined to get there.

What is one thing people don’t know about you?

I am rather an open book. What you see is what you get. I am left handed and maybe some people don’t know that. Being left handed is not a big deal but it can give you a slightly different perspective on how to use items and spaces.

If you want to connect with Jennifer Crawford and find out how she can help you with your dream home, check her website for more details and her contact.

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