Downs Designer Homes is a multi-award winning design and building company with a vision to make luxury homes more affordable and attainable. In their 20-plus years in the market, they have earned an unrivalled reputation for efficient, cost-effective house designing and building. With every home, they seek to bring dreams to life, and their long list of customer testimonials and industry accolades serves as testimony to their success.
The company was established in 1992 by Jeff Bubeck, whose lengthy experience in the design and construct industry has enabled the company to achieve as much as they have.
Bubeck’s career started when his father – also a builder – arranged an interview for him at a construction company. Bubeck got the job, and worked for a couple of years as a carpenter before moving on to a joinery shop where he did cabinet making and fit-out installation. Then, with that experience under his belt, he set out to build his first home – his own. Five years later, Bubeck formed his own company.
“When you first start out, you take any work you can get – whether it’s a renovation of a bathroom, or building a dog house,” he recalls. “Eventually, through a friend I got my first job, where I got to build my first home for a client all on my own. I haven’t ever looked back.”
Since their inception, Downs Designer Homes has grown and evolved into one of the most highly awarded house design and building companies in Australia. They have carved a niche in custom designing affordable luxury homes, and today most of their work takes place in the South East and South West corners of Queensland, with prices ranging anywhere from $450,000 to $2.5 million and above.
“We build all budgets, all terrains, and all styles,” Bubeck says.
When it comes to standing apart from the competition, Bubeck credits the company’s commitment to customers. Everything they do, at every step in the process, is designed to provide customers with the most pleasant and stress-free experience possible – and the product is designed to meet every one of their individual specifications.
“We make the design and building experience as flexible, exciting, enjoyable, and positive as possible,” Bubeck says.
“I really do realize that a new home is the biggest investment that our clients are going to make,” he adds. “So they get to deal with me individually, and they get to design a home from scratch – whether they have no idea what they want whatsoever, or if they’ve really done their research. We can deliver the whole package.”
Downs Designer’s status as both a designer and a home builder is another important selling point. By having both capabilities, they are able to “cut out the middle man” and save their clients time, money and headaches. The company’s dual-capacities also enable clients to be much more hands-on and involved, and ensure that their final design and product accurately reflects their original vision.
From a quality perspective, Downs Designer Homes also stands apart due to their unmatched attention to detail. Over the years, they have rightly earned a reputation for going the extra mile for clients, thinking of things that others might overlook – such as natural light and ventilation, concealing of down pipes and air conditioning, extra wide garages, ample power and light points, as well as ensuring the all-important placement of furniture works in the home.
“I’m always thinking of how to make the home better, even as we’re building. I’m always thinking ‘What would I want in my own home?’” Bubeck says. “I treat every project like that. If I’m not happy with the home, I don’t deliver it, and I really do have high expectations.”
The commitment of Downs Designer Homes to both their customers, and to the quality of their end-product, has been rewarded in a plethora of ways. One of them is client loyalty. According to Bubeck, Downs Designer often builds second or third homes for the same person, and often builds four or five homes for members of the same family.
“I’d be very confident in saying that I’ve remained friends with every single person I’ve built with,” he says. “Some of them are very good friends.”
Bubeck credits the satisfaction of clients to his policy of complete transparency, openness, flexibility and accountability. At Downs Designer Homes, they disclose all fees and prices upfront, they are realistic with their timeframes, and all optional upgrades are taken into account before anything gets signed.
One of Bubeck’s happy clients is also one of his biggest influences – renowned Sydney architect John Simpson, who Bubeck recalls receiving a phone call from in 1996. Simpson was sitting in the company’s Toowoomba display home, and “liked what he saw,” Bubeck says. He had two projects he wanted to do with Downs Designer – a home for his elderly parents, who were relocating from Sydney, and a major renovation of his brother’s home in the city.
“I completed both projects successfully, but it really opened my eyes to work with John,” Bubeck recalls. “We became good friends and he became, and still is, my mentor. We have done several projects together over the years and all of them were award winning.”
Though Simpson has been “semi-retired’ for a number of years, Bubeck says he is only ever a phone call away, no matter where he is in the world. “He is such a fountain of knowledge and has given me great guidance not just on building matters, but many other situations that life has thrown up,” he says. “I am so lucky to have crossed paths with such a talented man.”
Excelling in everything
Downs Designer Homes’ commitment to quality has been repeatedly recognised in the form of industry awards for design and building – of which the company has won more than 80. Their lengthy list of accolades includes HIA awards for Home of the Year and Australian Outdoor project of the Year, as well as QMBA Awards for House of the Year and Renovation of the Year. Most recently, in 2012, Downs Designer won awards for Best Bathroom and Best Kitchen and House of the Year, as well as Best Individual Home in Queensland valued between $1.5 and $2 Million.
“When you consider the number of entrants, and the number of homes you’re up against, it makes you very proud to win,” Bubeck says. “And it makes me very proud of the people who work for me.”
“I’m very fortunate to have three apprentices, a couple of carpenters, and a site foreman – and it’s those guys that are up on a roof on a cold July morning, not me,” he adds. “Our awards are a testament to their high standard, that they produce week in and week out on every job.”
Bubeck also values award recognition for the satisfaction it gives to the clients they built the homes for. “Sometimes we have the owners with us when we win these awards, and the look on their face is priceless,” he says.
According to Bubeck, the consistency in which Downs Designer Homes wins awards is due to the consistency of quality they deliver – and also their passion for innovation. “We tend to do all types of homes, a lot of cutting edge stuff, and a lot of the blocks we build on are difficult,” he says. “More than anything, however, it’s just the consistency of quality, and just the very high standard of finish.”
“Looking around my office now, I can see that we’ve won awards in almost every conceivable category – so it’s not just one area where we excel.”
Moving forward, Bubeck says he aims to continue Downs Designer Homes’ impressive award winning streak. He will do that by continuing to build luxury homes for affordable prices. The goal for the company is quality, not size, he explains. They build between 10 and 20 homes a year, depending on sizes, and Bubeck is satisfied with that number.
“We know our capacity,” he says. “My foreman and I spend a lot of time on site, and we keep the clients informed and interact with them – and that’s what people want. Once we feel we can’t do that, we’re doing too much work.”