Built as a showhome investment, this home is the essence of lakeland style with its choice of materials and stunning views. Matt Corleison from Design Builders Taupo takes a break to show us around.
Matt, can you let us know what makes this home unique.
It’s on a fantastic section with incredible views across the lake, and towards town and Mount Tahara. The design makes the most of these views. With our design software, we’re able to model views and see how they will look from the house before we build. We wanted to make the most of this home’s position.
What was the inspiration behind the home?
We wanted a true Taupo lodge feel – a casual, relaxed style, with oak floors and groove ceilings. There are lots of great details. There are chunky skirtings and architraves, plus stonework outside, which we’ve brought inside around the fireplace. It’s one big, large kitchen, dining, lounge area. The living areas are fairly modest in size, but the focus is indoor to outdoor flow. The living area effectively doubles in summer.
This was a showhome, and the clients invested in it. What is your approach to working with your clients?
It is always collaborative. We try to tease out what they want in a home rather than showing them what they can have for their budget. I do truly feel that it is the difference between us and other companies.
Like the slogan says, ‘a home built around you’…
Yes. We’re not showing our clients one of ten plans that work for their budget. We work through everything with them and design their home to suit them. This showhome is a great example of that. It’s designed for the site and what the owners desired.
When potential clients first talk to you, what do they usually ask you about?
When someone gets in touch and says they’re looking to build, I always say, ‘Can we catch up on your site and have a chat about what you’re after?’ It means I can get a feel for their dreams or aspirations. Standing on the site gives me an idea of what they want – sun, views or whatever’s important to them. I can also quickly spot any concerns or pitfalls or anything that might impact their budget. It helps to start the process.
When a client gives you that first briefing, what should they tell you?
Be as realistic as they can be with the budget. That’s a good start. We have an in-depth process which asks all the questions to help us understand what they’re after. I’ll also ask specific questions, such as ‘How do you see this entryway working in your home? Do you want an open plan or separated areas? Where do you see a particular room orientating or working with other spaces?’ I work to understand the budget and the practical aspects of the house, as well, and bring those two things together. Then we start finding out about the styles they like. Everything is built around the client.
Do you have a favourite part of the process?
Probably around the time we see the framing go up. It’s the validation we’re bringing to the client’s dreams and ideas. It’s the point where you can actually stand in there and walk around. We always spend a lot of time on design… now we can actually see it.
What do you love about the region that you operate in?
We’re lucky working in what is really a holiday town, and the majority of builds are holiday homes. There’s a nice, relaxed feel to the building process here. It’s less about someone wanting to get into or build their home that they need to live in as quickly as possible. In some ways, that relieves a bit of pressure. I find clients also have a bit more fun and try something that they wouldn’t in their main house. Bright orange kitchen or something like that – why not?!
You’ve built for a few years, Jeff. What still gets you excited about your job?
It’s coming up with a vision and options that are right for the client and the site, developing those ideas, and seeing it progress through the design stages onto the build itself. That is probably the bit that excites me the most.