A classically trained pianist, with a Bachelor of Music in piano from the Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane’s Rachael Turner ran a music school for a decade before turning to design and construction in 2013. “I decided to change careers and launch into construction as it’s something I have been fascinated with since I was very young. I can remember sketching up floor plans and house elevations from a young age,” says Rachael who is now a fully qualified builder with her own company, Front Porch Properties.
While Rachael started out flipping homes she now works on new builds too and finds most of her inspiration in American design. “I am hugely influenced by American style homes and I often draw inspiration from Cape Cod and Hamptons style. I love American-style barn houses, farm houses and cottages. I really love classic design as not only is it charming, but it won’t look dated in 10 years’ time.”
As for being female in a male-dominated sphere, Rachael sees it mostly as an asset. “I most definitely encourage women to join the construction industry. It’s a fantastic industry where women can really excel. We have a certain skill set that differs to men. For example, we are often great communicators, visionaries, organisers and multi-taskers and can add a real nurturing quality to a construction site which can make a positive difference. I also believe that dealing with clients and understanding a homeowner’s dream can perhaps be better understood and interpreted by a woman,” says Rachael who was recently a state winner and national finalist at the Australian Training Awards in Canberra (a nomination she received when studying for her technical building qualifications).
But it’s not all been straightforward on the gender front – there were some initial challenges. “Being a female in the construction industry was certainly tough in the early days, I don’t know what the tradesmen must have thought when an inexperienced female project manager showed up on site. However, now that I have a bit of momentum, confidence and experience behind me, as well as a great team of tradespeople, it’s less of an issue,” says Rachael who has appeared in several commercial television segments as well as magazines including Home Beautiful, Marie Claire and Inside Out.
And Rachael’s future construction dreams have a charitable focus too – she has plans to fund construction projects overseas for the less fortunate. “At the end of the day, money, fame and status really amount to nothing as you can’t take them with you when you die. I’m more interested in having an impact on people and leaving a legacy,” says Rachael.
Photography: Clare Sophia Photography & Liam Kidston