Monaco seaside home takes title

WINNERS: Richard and Raphaella Carver are proud of their home, the Nelson Marlborough 2012 House of the Year.
WINNERS: Richard and Raphaella Carver are proud of their home, the Nelson Marlborough 2012 House of the Year.

The self-designed home of Nelson architect Richard Carver and his wife Raphaella is its own reward, and now it has a supreme industry accolade as the ultimate finishing touch.

The builders of their cedar and stone seaside home in Monaco were last night awarded the PlaceMakers supreme award in the Nelson Marlborough Registered Master Builders 2012 House of the Year.

Nelson firm Harris Builders won the award in the new homes $600,000 - $1 million category.

The company also won the sustainable homes $500,000 - $1m category, the craftsmanship award and the outdoor living award.

Brockie Renovations was awarded the PlaceMakers supreme award for the renovation of the year, as well as the renovation award up to $250,000 for its transformation of a home in Atawhai.

The Carvers moved into their new home a year ago after a smoother than expected transition from a lifestyle block near Mapua to Monaco. They said their luck continued when builder John Harris became available at relatively short notice. They had him in mind from the outset, and circumstances meant he was available at the time they needed.

The home is striking its for its continuation of rich timbers and stonework from the exterior through to the interior, and the attention to detail in the craftsmanship, judges said.

“It was built for an architect, and the combination of the two working together is incredibly obvious with the attention to detail," Auckland judge Mark Wilson said.

The Carvers said the home was an amalgam of all the best features of their earlier homes, and they were extremely happy with how it had turned out. There is nothing they would have done differently, they said.

Its energy-efficient features and focus on sustainable living were also winning features. The Carvers were drawn to Monaco not only for its proximity to the sea, but also a popular cycleway which they used often. Their two youngest, who are still at school, cycle to college in Richmond each day.

Mr Carver said the house was positioned to maximise solar gain and shelter from the wind. It was also designed with their long-term needs in mind.

Mrs Carver said it had to be adaptable to suit the family's needs when all their four children were home, or just the two of them in future.

The home has a solar hot water system and a hydronic (water reticulated) underfloor heating system from Tasman Underfloor Heating (Tuf). A heatpump heats water which is then distributed through pipes under the concrete floor.

Mr Carver felt the home's lighting plan, which features mainly energy-efficient LED lights, was one of its best points.

Thermal heart aluminium joinery provides extra heat and noise insulation, which was needed to block airport noise. Proximity to the runway has had one major spinoff though: 17 year-old Harrison Carver has his sights set on a career in aviation and is now learning to fly.

Judges were impressed with the renovated Atawhai home because it "faithfully retained the looks of its era", but had been altered, primarily internally, to meet the owner's changing needs.

The exterior was replastered, but the soffit linings and fascias were retained. A new ensuite was installed by converting the old third bedroom, while another area was transformed into a study with borrowed light from glazing above the door. The living space has been opened out onto an extensive new deck to maximise views over Tasman Bay.

The 13 gold award winners from the Nelson Marlborough Region will now be assessed alongside others from the other 11 regions of the competition to find the national gold reserve finalists, which will be announced in September.

National category winners for the competition's house of the year and renovation of the year will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland in November.

Click here for a  full list of results.

The Nelson Mail