Design, craftsmanship create winner
Nelson builder John Harris knew he was on to a winner with Richard and Raphaella Carver's cedar and stone seaside home in Monaco.
The home designed by Mr Carver, an architect, won a national award in the Registered Master Builders PlaceMakers 2012 House of the Year competition at a ceremony in Auckland on Saturday.
It took out Westpac New Homes $600,000 to $1 million category, with Hybrid Homes and Living winning the Sustainable Homes under $500,000 category for a house in Hope.
Judges said the Monaco home was cleverly presented on two street frontages, and "a very worthy winner of a highly contested category".
"This comfortable home serves its family well with exceptional use of natural timber and stone brought together with superb workmanship by a builder who is quite rightly proud of his craft," they said.
The home was also a finalist in the Sustainable Homes $500,000 to $1m category, as was an Atawhai home built by Hybrid Homes and Living.
The Monaco house is positioned to maximise solar gain and shelter from the wind, and has a solar hot-water system and a hydronic underfloor heating system.
Mr Harris said it was great to win such a highly contested category and the award "just reaffirms that we do good work".
"I think there were 20 or 23 [houses] in that category. There was some good competition. There are some fantastic homes being built in New Zealand," he said.
The winning formula included a good working relationship between himself, the four men who worked with him on the project and the Carvers, who were at the awards with him on Saturday.
"It's a team thing. Richard and Raphaella were great, and easy to build for. The men got on well with them. The whole thing flowed really nicely."
The company was also a finalist in the New Homes $600,000 to $1m and the Sustainable Homes $500,000 to $1m categories.
Judges said the company's Sustainable Homes under $500,000 category winner - in Hope - was judged on a frosty day, but "toasty warm inside - showing instantly that the builder has got it right".
They said the building, which "sets the sustainability norm", was orientated to the contours of the land to provide minimum disruption to the natural landscape, and its placement used passive solar design elements.
"Among an extensive list of features is a staggered timber stud wall to allow a continuous thermal blanket. It is also very clear that the team took a considered approach to product selection to best adhere to sustainable construction principles."
Hybrid Homes and Living co-owner Natalia Harrington said the national award, the company's first, was "an amazing recognition for what we're doing".
Mrs Harrington said it was a challenge to keep within a lower price bracket while building sustainably yet still competing with mainstream builders, but "irrespective of people's budgets, we never compromise on the efficiency of our homes". Other Nelson finalists included Paul Brockie Builders, Stonewood Homes Nelson and Inhaus Developments.
The Nelson Mail