Meet Ryan Lee, General Manager of Rivergum Homes


With the popularity of renovation television programs such as The Block and Airbnb as a disrupter of how homes are designed, Rivergum Homes is leading the way with innovative and cutting-edge design. Rivergum Homes GM Ryan Lee takes time to chat with Waterlea Living to talk about the importance of detail. On the side-line, we talk major league sports.


As Rivergum GM, you have repositioned its business model to up the ante and focus on interior design.  Was your decision instigated by the popularity of home renovation reality television programs such as The Block?

The interest in television programs such as The Block further validates our decision. Our key message is to focus on the simple for a better outcome. The making of a liveable house starts with the details – from bathrooms that are ergonomically efficient to the solar orientation of the house to maximise energy efficiency.  When the small details are well considered, the big details follow suit.

Toward that end, Rivergum has engaged John Eckert as the National Design Director to oversee a team of designers who are creating bespoke joinery items, pushing the envelope to future proof homes, and curating colour schemes.  This service removes the burden from our buyers who benefit from the expertise of design professionals.

Rivergum Homes has identified a phenomenon that is trending with short-stay accommodation platforms such as Airbnb. Please explain why you believe this will impact house design and the upside for homeowners.

Airbnb is the most disruptive influencer in decades. We cannot think of anything that has influenced house design on this scale since the formal living and dining rooms were discarded to make way for open plan living and family rooms.

Rivergum Homes and our design team are reimaging residential design to take advantage of the Airbnb phenomena by building homes with self-contained living quarters.  The benefits are more than incremental income for the homeowner.  It provides separate living areas for teenagers, boomerang kids or grandparents who come to live – everyone has a place to live comfortably and independently.

Viewing from a crystal ball, how do you envision Waterlea in 2030 in terms of population, infrastructure, and recreation. Who lives here and why? Taking a long shot, what are the chances of Waterlea as a host city for a professional sport league?

What we do know is the predicted population for regional Ipswich 2030 is 550,000 plus.  With major infrastructure programs in the works, Waterlea is well in the mix to be in high demand. I see Waterlea as the home to established families and young families of multi-ethnicities who take advantage of affordable living on the outskirts of Brisbane as a thriving metropolis.

It is sustainable growth and infrastructure that attracts major sports leagues to a new region. Similar to the Gold Coast with its professional teams, there is every good reason that kids of Waterlea and the greater Ipswich region will have the opportunity in years to come to play or follow their professional teams – both men’s and women’s leagues.