A magnificent two-storey home, with a fabulous New York feel… But it’s not in Manhattan, it’s in Hamilton. We talked with interior designer Emma and builder Jeff about the inspiration, challenges and rewards of bringing a taste of the Big Apple to the Waikato.

Emma, why ‘New York’?
With every showhome, we want to an element of ‘something different’. With this one, you walk into that house and you see the view. It comes at you, in through those beautiful double-height windows. We haven’t seen this idea in many homes, particularly in New Zealand. These types of windows are a real New York-styled feature, but feel very much at home here. There’s also the beauty of the recycled raw brick from Christchurch, which adds to that loft vibe. I felt the home has quite a masculine feel, but the section softens that masculinity – the river views and a lot of greenery.

Jeff, the section is spectacular, but not without its challenges from a build point-of-view.
Yes, the site was very much a challenge. The build platform is limited, and it drops away quite significantly on two sides of the site. So working within that platform, the council guidelines, and the height boundary threw up some challenges. Also, on the geo-tech and engineering side of things, there were definitely some challenges there. However, a challenge makes you think differently, and we had to come up with quite a few solutions for the site.

And from an interior design perspective, Emma, what challenges did you come up against?
Getting those windows absolutely right was very important. There’s a different height between the living area and kitchen, and the windows had to work wherever you are. Other challenges? There’s a lot of timber here: timber floors, timber walls, timber ceilings, timber stairs. So again, just making sure that everything flowed. We were using different products, so we had to make sure the colours matched and got certain timber stained just the right colour. But all in all, there weren’t too many challenges at all from an interior design perspective.

Jeff, what are your favourite features about the house?
Well, the standout feature for me is how it actually works on the site, and how well suited it is to that site, with that feeling of the double height, and the outlook from both downstairs and upstairs. The breakfast dining nook is a neat little feature from mainly a functional side, which would work well for a family. And since we’ve done that little dining nook for this house, we have actually designed that into a number of projects that we’re currently building. People have looked at that, and thought, “Oh, yep, I like how that would work.” And now it’s become a bit of a more popular design feature.

Watch out for the next issue of Design Builders’ Inspired magazine. It will be coming out early next year and will feature this amazing home and many others.