A LOCAL builder has been awarded the NSW Master Builders State Award for Best Contract Home $501K-$650K.

The winning home was constructed by G.J. Gardner Homes Tweed Heads and commissioned by a local business couple. The block backs right on to the beach and while the aspect was easy to fall in love with, the constraints of the block proved a little more challenging.


Peter Leotta, Managing Director of G.J. Gardner Homes, Tweed Heads & Ballina, said the $500K-$600K section was the most hotly contested category at the Master Builder awards.

“This category attracts hundreds of entries across the state from some of this country’s most prestigious building firms,” Peter said.

“The fact that we were up against competition like that, makes this win all the more rewarding. The block was 12 metres wide and 56m long and the client, naturally, wanted to maximise the ocean views and connect with the beach. So technically it was quite a complex project, developing a design that was both practical and liveable on such a narrow block. We sat down with the client and developed a custom design based on the Hamptons style. For the design we used a lot of cladding and exposed rafters to create a sense of space, light and air. The design tested the expertise of the carpentry team but I’m proud to say they were more than capable of rising to the challenge.”


Peter said developing a design directly with the builder, rather than having an architect in the middle, brought with it numerous benefits.

“The MBA award judges made specific mention of ‘value for money’ in their summary of why our home won. They were impressed by the standard of inclusions and finishes for the budget.”

“When you work on a design, directly with the person who is responsible for its construction, you develop a plan that’s naturally builder-friendly,” Peter said.

“The builder can flag design problems before they even make it to paper and suggest budget-friendly alternatives that an architect won’t necessarily be aware of.

“This can quickly translate into cost savings that can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, meaning the client can spend more on those finishing touches that really impress when friends and family come to visit.”


As a local, Peter said he was proud to win the award for the community and show what the far north coast was capable of.

“This award is testament to the entire team who worked on the project; from the staff in the office to the dozens of local suppliers and tradespeople we engage from Tweed to Ballina,” he said.

“It’s also testament that you don’t have to spend big to get a beautiful award-winning home. A good builder should be able to incorporate all your wants and needs at a fair price.”

The owners of the new home Adam and Jackie Hall and their daughter Charlize, said they were thrilled when they heard the news that their new home had been declared an ‘award-winning design’.

“It’s wonderful to know other people love our home as much as we do,” Adam said.

“We put a lot of time and effort into designing this home so to have it win this award is a really great feeling.


“We wanted to take advantage of the beachfront position and make the most of the lifestyle aspects that make the block so special. We love the Hamptons style and being beachside it is a natural fit. We wanted a timeless and sustainable design that could manage the conditions. It was important to us that the home would not date easily and still look good 20 years down the track.”

This award is the third in two months from the Master Builders Association with G.J. Gardner also winning Best Kitchen and Best Bathroom under $25,000 for NSW.