Jess Corleison is wife to Design Builders Taupo’s Matt Corleison. When the time came to build their own home, it was no surprise that they chose, you guessed it, Design Builders. Suddenly, Jess was both client and builder, which gave her a fresh perspective on the process of creating “a home built around you”.

Jess, you decided to go with Design Builders, for obvious reasons. But what do you think makes Design Builders a good choice?
Well, they didn’t really give me a choice when we were looking at builders. Design Builders “do different” perfectly – that’s what I think. We don’t build your standard set plan homes. I believe that we design and build homes with a real difference. They’re all built around the client and exactly what they want. There are no set plans. Instead, you’ve got such creative minds working for you. We will personalise your house to you and your way of life.

Can you just tell us a bit about the location? Why did you choose it?
We’ve built three houses near to each other. My parents’ house is one, and then we did a showhome, and then we built ours behind. So it’s just a matter of ease, I guess. Also it’s right opposite the school, which is handy.

Exterior of a house with a large wooden garage door
Kitchen and dining area with floral wall art
Colourful bedroom interior

Tell us about your brief.
The brief was about functionality; about making the most of the section size. Nowadays, as sections become smaller and smaller, you want to fit a lot into a smaller house. We wanted to make the most of a smallish area: three bedrooms, an office-playroom, two bathrooms, a living area, and a massive outdoor area. This home is only 190 squares, but I think we’ve still got a lot in there. We also wanted it to be low maintenance. We’re busy with our kids on the weekends, so we didn’t want to spend time working on the house.

Design Builders’ slogan is “A home built around you”. What aspect of your brief sums this up? What is it about the house brief that is unique to you?
There are so many things. The highlights for me are Matt’s “his and hers” beer and wine fridges, built into the edge of the bar. We married back in February (finally) and there was a bit about the fridges in our wedding vows! So yeah, we love the built-in bar fridges. And the doors that literally flow outside to our giant outdoor fire place – that’s definitely created the wow factor. We’ve got a playground, which Matt built for the kids, with a slide, sandpit, and fort, and all of that. I think our house proves you can build a cool family home that is based around your kids and your lifestyle.

Tell us what it was like working with Design Builders during the design.
The design side is something that I would never have thought I’d get into and be so passionate about. But it’s turned out to be something that was really exciting. Matt can actually visualise the design of a house from the start. He can see it clearly in his head, and tell clients that they need this kind of window, or they need this done, or this would look better than that because he can see the end result. Having someone who can visualise like that is very useful.

Let’s talk about the build itself. It’s an exciting time because you can see your house coming together.
Well, unfortunately, when it’s the builder’s own home it is always last out of the works. For most clients, the build process is fun. As a builder’s wife, not so much. I think this build took us nearly two years in the end. But that’s only because our clients always come first! The house was definitely worth the wait.

Kitchen interior with a mini bar fridge
Wooden kitchen interior with outdoor living entrance
Beige tiled bathroom with wooden cabinets and large mirror
Bedroom with black dotted wallpaper

What did you think when you saw the finished home?
We were on site quite a bit, doing bits and pieces. So it’s probably exactly what I imagined. But seeing that finished product, the carpets in, the flooring down, your appliances go in, you do take a step back and you go, “Oh wow. This is – all our hard work has come to fruition.”

It’s here and it’s right in front of us, and now we’re hanging our family photos on the wall, and it all feels a bit surreal when you’re actually in it. And, especially as ours did take a bit longer than usual, to then finally be in it and think, “Yep, that’s it. We did that. We designed that. We created it.” That is an amazing feeling.

Any tips for people who want “a home built around you”?
Trust yourself and trust your decisions. The more you trust yourself, the better. And stick with it. Pick something, pick a wallpaper, pick a carpet, and stick with it. Trends are always going to change. By the time you’re living in your house, a whole new trend will have appeared. But if there’s something you like, if you see it in a magazine, or on Pinterest, or wherever, trust yourself and stick to that design.

To see more photographs of this Design Builders original, click here

Outdoor living area looking into internal kitchen