Moving to a new home is an exciting time. Meet a couple who decided to make the leap from Wellington to sunny Hawke’s Bay. But before that happened, they needed a house to move into. We asked them about how their Hawke’s Bay haven was created, by Design Builders.

“We were living in Wellington and, for a few reasons, decided to move to Hawke’s Bay. My mother was living in a rest home here, and my two sisters were living here. My husband was also attracted by the good weather. As any Wellingtonian will tell you, the weather in Wellington can be inconsistent and sometimes summer doesn’t really happen like it should. I remember that in my twenties I said, ‘I will never move back to Hawke’s Bay’. I have a friend who said the same thing. I’ve moved back and my friend is living down the road from us! Just goes to show, priorities change through life”.

Why did you choose Design Builders your new home?

We first looked at a section on Joll Road, Havelock North. A house had been shifted back to create three new sections. We were interested in building on one of the sections. Well, it never happened for various reasons. However, during this time, we were introduced to Design Builders. They were recommended to us, and we had a meeting with Scott who headed up the local office at the time. Scott mentioned that there was a piece of land that he was about to develop. We got first look at the plans, and first choice of the sections. We were excited by the possibilities, so we jumped on board.

What appealed to you about the section?

I remember when we wandered down to the section to look. In the end, we chose this section for a couple of reasons. One of the other sections had a nice view, but also had a bank that needed to be maintained. We were after a low maintenance section, so we chose ours based on that. That was it. A great sunny location, with low maintenance, just what we wanted.

What was your brief to Design Builders?

Our brief was to maximise the sun. If you’re going to ‘buy sun’ you need to work the design around it, so we wanted lots of glass. We had other requirements. We needed three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small hallway. We wanted to avoid wasting any space, oh, and we also wanted an open plan aspect to it. We were never told that we couldn’t have something, Design Builders just came up with a plan based on our brief.

Did you supply any inspiration to Design Builders, like Pinterest or magazine photos?

We gave Design Builders some photos of our house in Wellington, but that was about it. It had similar features and a similar roofline. Design Builders came up with an initial plan and we made a few tweaks, but really it was spot on, 95% there.

Can you tell us more about the design phase?  It’s a crucial part of the process.

For us, it was a fun thing to do and very stress-free. We worked closely with Scott and Josh. It turned out that Josh was the greatest guy, the kind that you want on your team. He kept everything moving along, and he was kind of the glue that held it all together.

The build itself is always exciting because you can see it all starting to come together. Did you enjoy that?

Yes, we loved getting the updates, and we’d visit once a month and more often towards the end of the build. We just communicated with Design Builders, and that worked well. When the building was happening in Hawke’s Bay and we were in Wellington, we were able to trust that the builder was doing what we wanted.

Did you make any changes at this stage?

Well, just the floor. It sounds like a big change, but it wasn’t really. Originally, it was going to be polished concrete, but we changed it to wood on concrete. Following some discussion with Scott we went back to the original idea of a polished concrete floor. The finished concrete looked absolutely amazing – and it still looks great after 10 years. It reminds us of gentle clouds, and there’s a kind of ‘salt & pepper’ colour to it. Just lovely.

When the day came and you were given the keys, what did you think of your finished home?

Immediately, it was actually better than we imagined. We love the open-plan feel, it’s great to open up in the summer, with plenty of fresh air flowing through. Lovely and light and sunny, with several locations outside to just relax and enjoy. When we were given the keys and walked inside, it felt just great. It’s like going to a dressmaker and saying ‘I want you to make this dress and coming back to the shop and realising it’s not just what you thought it would be… it’s better than you thought!’

What people reading this may not have realised right away is that you built your home 10 years ago.

How are you enjoying your home all these years later? It’s still wonderful. The only change I would make is to have a bit more storage. Mainly, storage inside for our linen. We just downsized a little when we built this house. If  wewere to build or buy another house I would also love a scullery – when I have people around for dinner, my kitchen looks like a bomb went off! We’ve got no plans to move from here, we’re happy where we are. If we were younger we’d probably love to build another place, but it would be hard to beat this process with Design Builders.

Design Builders slogan is ‘A home built around you’. What is it about your home that is particularly unique to you?

We envisioned what we wanted, and that’s what we got, only better. We had the basic approach clear in our minds, and Design Builders understood what we wanted, and built it for us. Our style, our taste, and some practical requirements. The home is also built around us in other ways. The doorways are wide, so we can get a wheelchair in if we need to one day. We’re going to be here for a while!

Award winning Wellington home exterior
Award winning grey home exterior
Award winning house back exterior
Award winning one storey house exterior during sunset

Want to know more about Design Builders?

Find out about our whole exciting process, from start to finish. Understand the architect’s role, work out your budget, look through our portfolio, pick up great tips and ideas, and ask questions. If you’re thinking about building, it’s the perfect first step.

Email if you are looking to build your dream home.