Living Design projects is a multidisciplinary construction and development company that believes homes should be “designed for living and built for life.” That philosophy has driven them to deliver a long line of high quality residential, commercial and industrial projects across Australia, and has helped them earn a long list of customer testimonials and industry accolades along the way.
“We’re a boutique company, backed by more than 40 years of experience,” says Paul Dermatis, Director of the company. “We strive for excellence in design, we strive for excellence in quality, and we have a proven track record that backs that up.”
Paul – along with his brothers Dimitri and Alex, who also serve as Directors – grew up around the construction and development industries. His father, Constantine Dermatis, started a company called Long Term Investments in 1971. He initially focused on developing commercial properties during the growth Canberra was undergoing at the time, before progressing in the early 80s to the residential side of the market.
In 1997, Alex and his brothers founded Living Design Projects as an offshoot of Long Term Investments. The company’s primary purpose was to focus more intuitively on residential property development and construction, which it has successfully done in the many years since.
Today, Living Design Projects proudly remains a family business, which is one of the company’s key advantages. Growing up, Paul and his brothers spent a lot of time around construction sites, and developed an extensive grounding in building.
“We’re steeped in the industry,” Paul says. “Dimitri and Alex both studied construction management in school, and have been involved in building ever since. Dimitri alone has over 20 years’ experience in construction management, and many of those years were spent working with larger building companies like John Holland and Hindmarsh.”
Always in control
Through their parent company, Living Design Projects offers clients a range of services, from construction and design management, to interior design for commercial and residential properties, investment syndication, property investment and management, and real estate development.
The company provides these services to clients throughout the ACT. Starting in the late 90s, they have also continuously served clients in Sydney, where they have focused on the luxury home market. Over the years, they have completed a number of projects across the city’s eastern suburbs and north shore, including duplexes, single houses, and multi-unit developments.
Historically, Living Design has worked on the mid-to-high end of the residential market. Recently, however, Paul says they have expanded into the lower end of the market, where they can serve first home buyers. The first phase of that initiative has successfully kicked off in Canberra, and construction on some of their early sales has already begun.
On the commercial front, Living Design Projects is also evolving. For example, they have recently completed a new building in Canberra, in the Gungahlin Town Centre. That new building houses an early learning and child care centre, as well as a dental clinic. According to Paul, the successful completion of that project is the first step in a push towards providing more community-focused service buildings. They have already embarked on a partnership with their child care tenants, and have acquired a few more sites in the city where they plan to replicate their model.
No matter what kind of project they are working on with – be it residential or commercial, on the higher end of the market or the lower end – Living Design Projects is set apart by their personal focus.
“We’re a small and boutique company,” Paul says. “We take a lot of pride in every project we take on, and build every home like we’re building them for ourselves.”
“Many times, that has literally been the case,” he adds. “We have three brothers in the business, and we end up as residents in a lot of the properties and developments that we develop. So we do put in that extra effort, and go the extra mile to make a project special. That pays dividends in terms of the satisfaction we get from buyers.”
The company implements their personal touch right from the start of the development process, when they get closely involved with their designers and architects. Paul says they then spend “an inordinate amount of time” at that stage, because they want to do everything they can to lay the groundwork for a final product they can be proud of.
From there, Paul says they make sure quality control is always at the top of their minds. It’s important to every member of the team, from the top down, that quality never slips.
“It’s in our own best interest to make sure the quality is as good as it can be,” he explains. “If it’s not, it’s just going to create issues later on.”
“Quality is just part of our ethos as a company and as a family,” he adds. “We strive for excellence at all times. And we’re able to manage that quite easily, because we’re not a huge company and we’re always in control.”
Over the years, Living Design Projects has delivered a wide variety of projects of various sizes and dollar values. What’s remained consistent, however, has been their exceptionally high quality – and that consistency has not gone unnoticed by the industry.
In 2004, the company won their first accolade at the HIA Housing Awards for ACT & Southern NSW. A year later, they won their second. In 2013, they added two more prestigious prizes to their count, with awards for Townhouse / Villa Development of the Year and Townhouse / Villa of the Year.
“I can sincerely say we take a great deal of pride in seeing projects come to fruition,” Paul reiterates. “We derive a great deal of pleasure from just being able to walk around the finished product. It’s definitely personal for us. So we really love it when we get good feedback from buyers, or from awards bodies like the HIA. That means a lot.”
The award winning development is located at 12 Gilmore Crescent, Garran. Prior to taking it on, Living Design Projects had recently constructed an upmarket terrace-style development in Sydney, where they learned first-hand what to include and what to avoid when designing and building terraces. With that experience behind them, they partnered up with the innovative team at DNA Architects to create something well lit, that’s both aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable to live in.
In their comments, the HIA judges said the development “sets a new benchmark in terrace-style living.” In particular, they complimented the project’s “clever planning,” and praised the central courtyard for its potential for outdoor entertaining while still offering owners excellent private living.
Paul credits the award to three main factors – the quality of the design, the quality of the finishes, and the tireless hard work of his team. He says it all came together so well that the properties “basically sold themselves,” to people who walked in off the street before the project was even complete or before marketing material was even available.
Paul was so pleased with the finished product, he even moved into one of the properties himself – which is essentially the very best indicator that he stands behind his quality.