Behind the Build with Natalie + Mark Pappalardo.

We chat with Natalie + Mark Pappalardo, proud parents of three and owners of a small building company. They share their story of finally constructing their own dream family home, following years of crafting homes for others.

Words by
dc+b editor
Photography Kit Haselden

“We see the value in going in-store and install was quick and professional. ”

— Natalie Pappalardo

  1. Tell us a little bit yourself and where you live.

We are Natalie (35) and Mark (37) and we reside in Strathmore with our 3 children Luca, Dominic and Ava.


  1. What type of home did you build – describe the style/design.
        1. A modern home filled with natural light, clean lines and timeless finishes.


        1. What made you want to build a home, rather than buy an established home?
      1. Together we operate a small Building company (Mark on site and Natalie in the office). After years of helping clients into their dream homes we wanted to create our own.

      1. Tell us about the planning process about choosing your builder and how you went about it?

      We used our own family business to build.


  1. What did you look for when finding land – location, size etc?
  2. It took 2 years for us to find the right parcel of land.  Location (close to schools and transport)  and the size, slope and orientation of the land (with respect to sunlight) were considerations.


  1. Did you look through any display homes for inspiration?
  1. Whilst drafting our initial plans we spent hours on Instagram/Houzz/Pinterest etc saving photos and designs of houses from all around the world and working out how we could incorporate those ideas into our own plans.

    1. Going into the build, where were you able to save money and which areas of the home did you want to splurge on?
    2. Mark is a carpenter by trade and very hands on. Whatever we could reasonably try to do ourselves to save money we did (landscaping is a big one). Mark even hand made our dining room table.


  1. What were the ‘must-haves’ in your new home?

Drafting plans through lock down gave us a good understanding of  what our forever home would need to cater for our family. We wanted separate study/work areas, a swimming pool, theatre room, a large dining space and plenty of storage.


  1. Have you added anything to your home post-build?
  2. No.




Modern Kitchen

Wave Fold Sheer Curtains in office nook

Motorised recessed roller blinds in theatre room

Modern home facade with Wave Fold Sheer Curtains in the front window


      1. What lesson(s) did you learn when building your own home?
      2. Have a clear vision – stick to it.


      1. When did you contact us during the building process and what benefits did dc+b provide?
      2. We contacted dollar curtains + blinds at the framing stage.  We wanted to incorporate curtain boxes into the ceiling. Rosa the manager at Niddrie was able to help us pick a curtain fabric and roller. Together with Rosa we could then work out the measurements required for the concealed curtain boxes (that Mark as a carpenter had to create).


    1. Was it beneficial to visit dc+b in-store?
    2. Visiting the store was important. The Niddrie store has a large curtain display at the rear of the store (6m high) and we were able to get an understanding of what fabric at that length might look/feel like. Our objective through adding sheers was to create softness without compromising natural light. We brought in a tile, stone and cabinetry palette.  Rosa was then able to show us fabrics options.

    1. How did you find the design, measure + install service?
    2. We provided Rosa with a copy of the plans and she was able to provide an initial quotation. But prior to anything being fabricated 2 team members came to measure the windows and provide advice on what would work ie. which way the sheers should stack, the size of the stack against the windows etc. Install was quick and professional.


  1. Did you originally know what you were after in terms of window coverings or were you seeking our advice?
  2. We knew aesthetically what we were after but the extra information Rosa provided with respect to functionality ie stacks, folds, timber weight bearing requirements, electrical requirements etc. was very useful.  We see the value in approaching a company like dc+b with what you might have in mind before the plastering stage.


  1. What’s your favourite room and why?

Natalie: The void dining area. Everything in this room (windows, sheers, furnishings and art) come together to make an uplifting space.

Mark:  The theatre room. It’s my oasis.

  1. When it comes to designing a home, what does your design process look like?

In the start we would draw a lot.  We started planning in winter and we would take it in turns at night to draw what we might like the facade of the house to look like. This then moved on to Mark drawing up rough plans for the house. By the time the architect was retained we had a folder full of saved photos and drawings of our own.


  1. What are your top 3 design/style tips for building a house?
  2. *Consider energy rating and efficiency (eg Solar Panels and Hydronic Heating) and natural light;
  3. *Take into account the orientation of the land when designing your house and work with this; and

*High Ceilings make even a small house feel large.


  1. You’re given a limited renovation budget; how would you spend it wisely to transform a home?

To transform on a budget:  fresh paint, floor coverings (ie re stain floors/new carpet/steam clean), new window coverings and spend some time in the garden.

“The aim of having sheers in the house was to add softness without compromising light. The sheers aesthetically add softness and in functionality still allow for a degree of natural light to come in. ”

— Natalie Pappalardo

  1. What are the 3 most important things that make your home feel like a home?

* Any were the kids and their trail of toys are feels like home.

* Furnishings

* Photos


  1. What is your most cherished possession?

New Swimming pool and wall art hanging in the house.


  1. What’s on your interiors wish list right now?

To have the kids pick something special to hang in their rooms.

What qualities do you look for when choosing materials, furniture and accessories in your designs?

When choosing materials and furnishings we always go back to the Palette (the windows, stone, cabinetry, flooring etc) and consider if they would clash, get lost or work to enhance the house.

    1. Are you a curtains, blinds or shutters person?
    2. Sheers and Blinds!


    1. What products did you choose from dc+b?
    2. Sheer Curtains and Blockout Blinds.


  1. How did our products transform your home?

The aim of having sheers in the house was to add softness without compromising light. The sheers aesthetically add softness and in functionality still allow for a degree of natural light to come in.


  1. Some people find it difficult to decide what to do with their windows. Any tips?

If you are struggling to find ideas of what window furnishings you require/might like go on the dollar curtain and blinds Instagram page or website (this is what we did). We found plenty of photographed spaces to take inspiration from!

  1. How do you find inspiration?

dc+b website and Instagram page

External view of double height Wave Fold Sheer Curtains

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