Home Tours

This family built a home for the first time with a budget of $360,000

When this family decided to turn their bach into their permanent home building new was their best option. They share the highs and lows from their journey

Meet + greet

Reuben Nicklin, 38 (videographer and photographer at Reuben James), Amy Nicklin, 36 (photographer and owner of Vanish Ink), Luca, 9, Daisy, 6, and Louie, 1, plus Blueberry the cat, Bella the Chihuahua, and Billy the Pekingese-bichon frise.

Lessons learned? Unless you have an unlimited budget, there’s going to come a time when you have to make a compromise – but it’s those decisions that might leave you pleasantly surprised. We learned that sometimes things happen for a reason and that a positive attitude and willingness to compromise can sometimes achieve a better outcome.

Best memory in your home? The night before the YH&G photographer came around, the kids were playing in the garden and we’d finished tidying and were sitting on the deck and everything felt amazing. It was the first time we’d really enjoyed our deck as it was intended to be used. We put on the outdoor speakers and outdoor lights and had a few beers and watched this epic sunset. We felt really lucky.

What was one of your best decisions regarding the build? Choosing the builder – he was a blessing. We were stoked with his meticulous workmanship. He was old-school and could do everything.

Anything you wish you’d done differently? It being our first build, you’d expect us to have lots of regrets, but we don’t. Living in it beforehand and getting a feel for the site just made our decisions faster and more solid, so we were pretty certain of what we wanted by the time we got it onto paper. Eventually we’d love to put in solar power, but that’s phase two, along with bifold windows, a wraparound deck and a bar leaner.

Any advice? Shop around. Take time to do your research and question every purchase decision to see whether you can get something of similar quality at a better price. And do as much of the work yourself as you can – it’ll save you some serious coin.


How much did the build cost? Around $360K.

Amy, who was pregnant with their third child, Louie, during the build, spent a lot of late nights looking online for the best deals possible. She snagged their statement wooden chandelier from online shop Williams Road for a fraction of what the designer version cost. She scored the white tap for the kitchen from AliExpress for $100, but the brushed gold tapware for the main bathroom was the biggest score. “I found an Aussie supplier and managed to get it all from them – even with Customs, it ended up being a quarter of the price,” she says.

See more of the Foxton family home below 



Builder Ben Hales, Enhance Builders, Palmerston North, 027 556 6043. “We were really blessed to find such a passionate, meticulous and hardworking builder. His passion for his craft was unbelievable, and of all the things about our build, we’re most grateful for finding him.”

Electrician Jason Vasta, Vortex Electrical, “We highly recommend him.”

Flooring Midway Flooring Xtra in Palmerston North, “They did all our flooring – tiles, carpet, vinyl planks and our luxurious rug – and were very helpful.”

Kitchen Mastercraft Palmerston North, “Josh Cooper at Mastercraft made our kitchen dreams come true and was really helpful.”

Plants Floral Collaborative.

Photography by: Nicola Edmonds.

This article was first published in Your Home and Garden. Follow YHG on Instagram, Facebook and sign up to the fortnightly email for inspiration between the issues.

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