Having worked in the fast-paced finance industry in Perth, Russell longed to retire in the peace and serenity of the country. It was in his blood; his father had been a farmer in Victoria and Western Australia.

As retirement loomed, the Spinks explored locations North and East of Perth, before being drawn to a large block with an old weatherboard home on the banks of tranquil Lake Clifton. Over the next 14 years they restored the old house and upgraded the property.

Then, in January 2016, the disastrous Yarloop bushfire ripped through and turned their lives upside down.

“We were having afternoon tea with the neighbour when we noticed the Easterly wind picking up. After sundown we noticed a glow over the trees. We had been monitoring the bushfire but thought it had moved on and didn’t think it could cross Forrest Highway,” said Russell Spinks.

As the fire gathered momentum and jumped over the highway, they decided to leave and had “just enough time to gather a few important papers and possessions, get in the car and flee North to Perth.”

“A neighbour with firefighting equipment bravely stayed and witnessed the destruction about 30 minutes after we left.”

“Even though our paddocks were bare, it swept across the ground like a blowtorch, firstly destroying our large machinery shed and everything in it.”

“It then swept into our home, reducing it to ashes, along with all our personal possessions. The fire front was simply unstoppable.”

The Spinks then lived out of a camper trailer, and at a friend’s property nearby.

Russell began visiting some home builders which gave him the impression that rebuilding his home was either too hard or too expensive.

“I heard about Ross Squire Homes through word of mouth. I looked at their website and liked the look and feel of their homes.”

The Spinks then visited the Ross Squire Display Centre at Innamincka Road in Greenmount and met with sales representative, Adam Steel. “Adam was extremely helpful, and we walked out with a design in mind!”

Based on the Beverley design from the Avon Series, the Spinks customised their home and added a 3.6m wide carport and a 3m wide verandah around the perimeter of the house.

Other modifications included an alfresco with raked ceilings, which perfectly framed the view of Lake Clifton from the living room, removing the entry to create a bigger walk-in pantry and master suite, and creating an island bench in the kitchen.

“Adam offered valuable suggestions and worked with us to meet price requirements and design features. Nothing seemed like too much trouble.”

Building with Ross Squire Homes has been a “very hassle free and satisfying experience,” with the house fully built in just under five months.

“We were very impressed with the build. My wife loves our new home. I didn’t think my retirement would involve re-establishing the property infrastructure, house and sheds but we are both delighted with progress so far,” he laughed.