Nature calls with this remarkable showhome by Design Builders Wellington. The imaginative design makes the most of the natural location.
Mark Davidge from Design Builders Wellington goes back to nature.
Mark, this is a stunning showhome. What do you think makes it stand out?
Well, a big part of that is the way it has been constructed over a narrow, rocky ridge that protrudes into New Zealand native bush. Thanks to the design, every room takes in nature. In fact, the further you move through the home, the more native bush envelops the home.
What is the main inspiration for the design?
I don’t think there was any one single point of inspiration. While the site immediately suggested ideas, we really wanted to simply create a warm and welcoming home that felt comfortable as soon as you walked in. We wanted to capture an ‘I could move in straight away’ feeling.
What were the challenges that you had to overcome in creating this home?
For a start, the site is long and narrow, and the only real purchase available is a two-metre rocky ridge. This provided a good challenge for the design team to start off with. That challenge carried through to the engineering structural design, as we obviously needed to anchor the home into the rock.
This home has got so many wonderful things going for it. What’s your favourite feature?
If I had to choose one, I’d say my favourite is the amount of sun we get through the home. The home is private and north facing, so it enjoys all-day sun, from the morning in the kitchen through to the evening in the outdoor lounge.
Who do you think this home would appeal to?
People who love nature love this home. Anyone with ‘green fingers’ would love to live here. This home has a tree-house feeling, and that gives it a very special vibe. The Design Builders Wellington team are extremely proud of it.
All clients are different. How do you work with yours?
It’s really important to have a good relationship with your client. I try to put stock into this in the front end, to ensure the relationship starts off on the right foot. This means listening to what they want to achieve and managing their expectations from the beginning. We’re aiming to create the best home they will ever live in, and a great relationship between client and us is key to that.
A new client always has lots of questions. What’s the first thing they ask you?
Well, quite understandably, they will want to know about budgets. What will it cost me? It’s a great question, but it can’t be accurately answered until all the client’s must-haves and wants are unpacked. That said, we can provide a broad idea. This showhome is a great example of a Wellington building – it’s on a hill, like quite a few Wellington buildings. So we have been using costings from it to provide us with some big guidance.
Generally, when offering any budget advice, using the most recently completed project that aligns with what a potential client wants is the best way to offer budget guidance. A word of warning about square metre rates – SQM rates: they really mean nothing unless you want a home that’s been built many times, so it comes with well-established efficiencies, and it’s on a flat site!
What do you love about creating homes in this region?
Most sites in Wellington offer a new challenge, and that makes it really interesting. I love building unique homes, and Wellingtonians give me plenty of opportunities to do just that.
Is that what gets you excited about your craft?
Yes. That, along with all the amazing new ideas, incredible materials that are available now, the designs… the list goes on!
As someone who’s created many stunning homes, do you have a favourite stage in the process?
I do. For me it’s the last 10 per cent. That’s when the whole vision comes together, and everything comes to fruition. All the fruits of your labours!