For the owners of this award-winning Waikato home, everything just fell into place – from finding the location to the design and build. Despite a lockdown break, the process was relaxed and enjoyable.
Building wasn’t always part of the plan, was it?
No. We had been struggling to find a house to buy and had missed out on a couple of houses. We hadn’t even thought about building, but this section kept popping up in our searches. We arranged to meet the agent here. We immediately went ‘Wow!’ and put an offer in.
You didn’t so much choose Design Builders; they were already involved!
The section had been owned by a family who had engaged Design Builders, then decided they didn’t want to build. The Design Builders’ sign was still on the section. So we thought, ‘Let’s talk to them.’ We called in unannounced and chatted with Jeff about the design process. Interestingly, the previous owners had plans already drawn up for the site, which were very similar to what we had in mind. We looked at each other and just said, ‘This kind of fits; this kind of feels right.’ It was a great start.
What appealed to you about the location?
It’s a peaceful place. We’re overlooking the river across to Braithwaite Park. We see people biking and playing in the park. There’s a walk on the other side of the river, so there are people walking past. Actually, the river’s quite busy in the summer with kayaks and boats going up and down, and people walking along the banks. We didn’t realise just how much the river is used. It’s lovely.
What was your brief to Design Builders?
We talked about the size we needed and materials we liked. We’ve got teenagers, so they needed their own space – an area upstairs that we could pretty much shut off. We met weekly for about five or six weeks to work through plans. Each time we met with Jeff, he’d bring in ideas and come up with options. We spent hours talking, then met up. By the time they presented the final plans, we were both like, wow. They had pretty much captured exactly what we had in our minds.
The build itself is an exciting time because you can see your house coming together. Did you enjoy this part of the process?
Absolutely. I would do it again. It was so enjoyable. Most days, we would stop in or do a drive-by to see any changes. And every day it was, ‘Oh, they’ve done that.’ The main builder was great. We’d text him; he’d text us. Or we’d ring him, we’d pop in, and he’d always be happy to show us what they’d been doing.
How was communication throughout the process?
Before building we had weekly meetings, and then it was every couple of weeks once the building had started. I was in contact with the project manager probably every day, if not every second day, about things. We’d text each other or call or email. I never felt like I was being too needy or asking too many questions.
What did you enjoy most about the process?
I loved the interior design part, choosing materials, the flooring, the tiles. The kitchen is pretty much my design. And the wall colours and the fireplace area, that was all my design. I would do it as a profession if I could. It was so enjoyable. We didn’t want a cookie-cutter approach. If something was suggested that I didn’t like, I loved having the freedom to be able to say, ‘I don’t like any of those choices. I’m going to go and search somewhere else or use a different company.
What is it about the house brief that is unique to you and your requirements?
Well, I think having the different zones is definitely for us. Our master area is a zone. I think of it as a retreat for us, I guess. We’ve got a river view, and when we’re lying in our bed, we can see just trees and can enjoy that. It’s calm and peaceful.