Challenges of 2020

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Rebuild Down Under

“By 31st of March, the end of the NSW Bushfire season, more than 5.5 million hectares has been burned, more than 2,000 houses destroyed, and 25 lives lost in NSW alone.”

The team at Merino Homes have partnered up with companies Australia-wide and are offering access to complimentary architectural plans, interior design layouts and briefs to those affected. This initiative was originally put together to support the people devasted by the Black Summer fires but has now evolved to “Rebuild Down Under” helping everyone who has survived all the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us.


Day after day we all awoke to red suns, choking air and watching ash fall like snowflakes. All Australians were glued to the radio and the around-the-clock coverage on television. Heroic scenes played out of firefighters and individuals saving families, homes and wildlife. In the midst of this heartache we were never prouder to be Australian as our nation united.

Aussies are always stronger together.


After the fires, we were hit with excessive rain and flash-flooding. What the fires didn’t take, the rain destroyed. Just when we thought the worst was behind us, an invisible threat in the form of COVID 19 hit our shores and we as a country were put into LOCK-DOWN.



"Sydney received three hundred and ninety one millimetres of rain between 07 and 10 February,

which is more than three times the average rainfall for February and the city’s wettest period since early nineties"

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology BOM



Black Summer Fires






Social Distancing | Industry Shutdowns | Borders Closed

“Just stay home”

Scott Morrison Prime Minister of Australia.

Supporting the supporters

MERINO HOMES is a small family business run by David & Katherine Gleeson and their committed team. Everyone at Merino Homes is passionate about building custom homes, raising industry standards and delivering a quality product with integrity - every time. Everyone on the Merino Homes team was overwhelmed with the need to help and wanted to contribute in their own way. Being builders, they understood the enormity of the journey ahead for communities and individuals.

David and Katherine were born and raised in the Macarthur area. They value our community spirit and also believe we are better and stronger when we are united. “We live on a rural property and at one stage we stood at our front gate and we could see the flames coming from one direction. Later we had a 2am call to let us know there was a fire in our neighbours’ paddock, in the other direction, it took 7 firefighting trucks to put it out,” Katherine said. Although their home was safe and their property not directly affected, the threat was real.

The bushfires, floods and COVID 19 slowed down the economy, industry and many individuals in their day to day lives. For a lot of us, it’s been a time for reflection and reinvention and the team at Merino Homes were no exception. They have decided to open their “Rebuild Down Under” package not just to fire victims but to anyone of you hit by the challenges this year that is 2020.

In the spirit of being united, David and Katherine knew they couldn’t help everyone, so they partnered with Arei Designs and created three sets of house designs. They have also paired with The International School of Colour and Design (ISCD) for complete finishes schedules through the Merino Homes’ Annual Design Challenge.

“ISCD are one of the leading design colleges in Australia and internationally. I’ve been working with them on their curriculum for years now and Merino Homes is an Industry Partner so we were both really excited to work on this project together.” Katherine said.

Working closely with their clients on each custom build, the team at Merino Homes knows how overwhelmed people can get. From profile selections to wall colours to tiles and more, building a home is a production. When rebuilding your life, the stress is amplified.

David, Katherine and the team wanted to help minimise these stresses. “There are so many great builders out there,” Katherine said, “why not support the people who are supporting the supporters?” They knew they wouldn’t be able to help every person affected by the fires themselves but wanted to help with the process. The Merino Homes office went to work calling real estate agents, architects and interior designers in the affected areas asking what they thought would be in the highest demand for home styles. Once they had their top three, they partnered with Arei Designs to create plans to pay tribute to the best. The three home styles that came out on top are:

Modern Coastal

Modern Coastal is a fresh new take on beach style. With the use of natural light and soft tones, it produces the breeziness of the beach. Materials are light and breezy too – Colorbond roofing, cladded exteriors with a touch of natural stone. “Everyone wants a Hamptons Home but here in Australia we have our own unique twist on that theme. Modern Coastal is the very best of multiple coastal styles and that’s the difference between a ‘display house’ and a beautiful inviting home.” According to Katherine.

Shed Movement

Shed Movement is a lifestyle that embraces the current idea of declutter and making the most of every square metre you have. This funky way of living has evolved almost by accident here in Australia. Traditionally people would first build a shed on their property to live in. This allowed them the opportunity to build their dream house in their own time. Once in their shed, people found that it was all they really needed and shied away from investing in another build - they were already home. “Also known as Barn Style, it’s a really practical way of building – it’s quick and can be cost effective.”

Old Meets New

Old Meets New is a colonial/federation style home with a nod to modern living. It’s all about building something in a style that has stood the test of time. Classic selections with a focus on comfortable living. “This one really appeals to the people who are building that ‘forever home’. It’s for mature homeowners and anyone that wants the romance of a traditional style home. I mean who doesn’t love a cottage?”


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