House Of The Week
When a new build on the outskirts of Whangarei was half-done and people wandering by expressed how wonderful it was to see such "a beautiful old home being restored", the owners were delighted.
Kath and Peter Hill say the misconception was the perfect reaction, and just what they'd hoped to achieve in building a new but classically-styled family home.
"We'd looked at old houses in Auckland and Wellington, photographed features we liked and took it all home to Chris, my brother-in-law, who is an architect," explains Kath.
The decision to build wasn't made until after much research and contemplation. The couple looked at the option of buying a big old 1800s home in the area, but thought it would involve ongoing maintenance, a task they wanted to avoid.
"The home looks quite simple from the outside, but we put a lot of thought into making it look simple and getting the lines right, and once we'd achieved that we worked on the inside."
The two-storey home is clad in Linea weatherboard, and the window surrounds and cladding corners are given bulk to create a traditional look. "The pillars are laminated and, like the Linea, this eliminates warping and twisting."
Kath is intimately familiar with the build, having project-managed it in-between caring for two pre-school children.
"I'd talk to the builder, drop the kids at kindy, be back to deal with things and then be back to the kids. In the evenings Peter and I would be measuring up materials as they came on to site to make sure they were exactly what had been ordered."
The lower level has three-car garaging, a bathroom, a laundry, a day room connecting to the kitchen, a formal dining room, a formal lounge, a study and a spacious entry foyer stretching 12 metres and three metres wide. Upstairs there's a nook, two bedrooms (for the children) with a shared bathroom, a guest bedroom and a master bedroom with an en-suite and walk-in wardrobe.
"We have glazed tiles in the kitchen, day room, entranceway, and bathrooms, some with a travertine insert, all with under-floor heating and the rest of the area is wool carpet. Double glazing is throughout, with a gas fire and three air conditioning heat pumps."
The build took a year, it was the first home the couple have built and they loved the experience. They have achieved what they envisaged: a classically-styled family home that looks out to the north towards a grouping of old stone walls, the feature that attracted them to the site in the first place.
Architect: Chris Howell, Main4 Architects, Whangarei
Builder: Marcus Bracey Builders
Size: 356 square metres plus verandas
Materials: Linea weatherboard, custom-made window surrounds and corners, aluminium joinery, brick chimney and garden boxes.
Energy Efficiency: Double glazing, over-specified insulation of batts (internal walls insulated to stop noise between levels and rooms), heat pumps, concrete slab insulated and water harvested from the roof and stored beneath the children's playground.
Done Right: "We thought for a long time about the style of home and how we live in our home. We had old houses in the past, which had amazing spaces built for New Zealand's hot summers and rain. We knew we wanted covered verandas, so went for a style of home that catered for this.
We loved the look of old homes, but didn't enjoy the maintenance. We are so pleased with the classic style of the house, it is very homely.
In New Zealand, a covered entertaining area is a must, and we would recommend this to anyone building here.
Project managing ourselves, we could ensure a high level of detail and a project that was delivered on time."
Done Wrong: "We did over-cater to cold winters. We have double-glazing, three heat pumps, a gas fire, internally insulated walls and under-floor heating.
In retrospect we didn't need under-floor heating."
Unexpected: "We didn't expect the process to take as long as it did. After two years of living in the house we can say it is finished. It's been five years and now we feel we can sit back and relax knowing we have minimised the amount of maintenance by building a new home."
Recommend: "We would recommend designing a landscaping plan in conjunction with the house design. We started planting as soon as we purchased the section, and within five years have a very private and established garden.
We would also recommend getting to know your architect before starting the process so that they have a clear understanding of your needs and wants.
Also, be realistic about your budget, we used our contingency funds, but finished within budget."
Next time: "We would build a similar style to what we have. Although, if we were lucky enough to build a bach, we would do the opposite of what we have here and go completely minimalistic and modern. It would be interesting to see what that style is like to live in!"
- © Fairfax NZ News