Inspired - Room with a view - Design Builders




Room with a view.

Jeff Marra leads multi-award winning Design Builders Waikato. This incredible showhome, with its New York loft vibe, scored highly on the awards circuit. Jeff and Interior Designer Emma showed us around.

Emma, Design Builders are known for creating one-off homes. What makes this one unique?
Well, the view is spectacular from the site, so we wanted to create a house that brought the outside in. New York loft was the theme because it meant that we could use a particular style of window. They add that real ‘wow factor’ because they’re high and show off the view. The best of the New Zealand landscape with a real New York loft feeling makes it special.

This showhome has been incredibly popular. Jeff, what excites you about it?
I like how well it is suited to that site, and, like Emma, I really love the double height aspect. On a smaller note, I love the little things like the breakfast dining nook. I really think that it’s a neat little feature from mainly a functional side, and how well it would work for a family getting together at the start of the day.

“A real New York loft feeling makes it special.”

Large rural house exterior with brick fencing

What is your favourite aspect of the home, Emma?
Well, it’s back to those windows. I love all that glass and that overall look. And then again, one of my favourite parts of the house is the bath by the master bedroom. You step up into it, and then it’s got the most magnificent window that overlooks the river and green reserve on the other side. It’s quite magical. You can enjoy scenery and a soak.

“You can enjoy scenery and a soak.”


What is your approach to working with your clients, Jeff?
Listening, understanding, and more listening, and also challenging them just a bit. Just making sure that they understand what they want to do. Just pulling out a few things here and there that might challenge their thinking. It’s good for all of us to be open to different ideas and concepts.

When a client gives you that first briefing, what should they tell you? What do you want to know?
Initially, it should be more about the practical aspects of what they want. For instance, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of living areas. With two-storey homes, I like to understand what happens on each level, so how you split the levels is important. That’s really quite critical early on, particularly with multi-level homes.

Once you have teased out the practical aspects, what else do you need to know?
Those things that might be unique to the client, or important to them, and what they want to achieve. ‘I want to be outside, cooking on my barbecue, with shelter from that westerly wind.’ Gradually, over time, we carefully build up a picture of what they want, what will make it a home built around them.

room with a view
room with a view

“What excites me is coming up with a vision and options that are right for the client and the site.”

Jeff Marra, Design Builders Waikato

People say that they enjoy the whole process – seeing the ideas, seeing the build getting underway. What is your favourite part of the process, Jeff?
I think probably developing the plan is my favourite part. Some of it is ticking boxes, but really we’re trying to figure out how to achieve as much of what the client wants as we can. It’s a satisfying part of the process.

What do you love about creating homes in the Waikato?
There are different terrains and landscapes, hillsides, flat farmlands. We also do a lot of beach-side projects, incorporating ocean views. I like that mix. It’s exciting and inspiring.

You like to go and see the client after the job is finished.
Yes. I like going back and having a coffee with them a month, two months after they’ve moved in, and talking about the process and how they’re enjoying their home, which is the most important thing.

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.

Exterior deck living space of a house

Inspired Edition 02.

Inspired is our latest e-book. Enjoy a close-up look at original homes we created for our clients.

Where to Find Design Builders
New Zealand Map

Where to find us

Our nationwide network covers many locations, and we’d love to talk with you about a home built around you.

View Locations

Call Us
0800 456 456