Home Tours

Meet the couple who have brought a bit of Italy to their Havelock North villa

This couple have crafted their own slice of la dolce vita in Havelock North by building a country home with villa values and more than a little Italian DNA.

Meet and greet

Aaron Dodd, builder and owner of Dodd Builders, Bridget Dodd, stay-at-home mum, Maria, 8, Franco, 6, and Joseph, 4.

Meet the couple who have brought a bit of Italy to their Havelock North villa

What was the most exciting moment during the build? 
Bridget: When the bedroom carpet had been laid and we could move in. Seeing the final product come together just how we’d envisioned it was magic.

Worst experience? 
When the first coat of paint went on the exterior and it didn’t look right so we had to get the painters to repaint. It was pretty stressful having to choose another colour in a short time frame, but fortunately we chose the perfect colour second time round (Dulux ‘Ohai’) – and a lot of people now knock on our door to ask what it is!

Anything you’d do differently? 
We’d have pitched ceilings in the master bedroom and ensuite because they provide a greater sense of space.


What did your new-build cost?
Roughly $470K excluding labour and furniture etc.

How did your budget compare to your actual spend? 
The house came in on budget, but we did have some extra expenses, including the plastered front fence and electric gate which we decided to install once the build was complete. This provides security from the road for the kids when they’re playing in the front garden.

Where did you save or splurge?
Since this was our family home we wanted to splurge in every room so no expense was spared. I prefer to buy high-end, good-quality items so they don’t have to be replaced in a few years.

How did you keep track of your spending?
Costs can easily move during a build but by using a spreadsheet you can track what you’ve allocated to spend in each area.

Bridget’s house tips

  • When building, make sure the garage is as big as you can possibly make it, because you can never have enough space. Install garage carpet too, if you can.
  • Don’t always go for the cheapest option as it might cost you more in the long run. Opt for better-quality products, especially when it comes to fittings such as tapware.
  • Include good heating and cooling (if required) in the budget. Make sure you research heating systems that suit your needs.
  • Be practical when choosing items such as flooring, especially if you have children. Our concrete floors are very forgiving and easy to clean.

Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Florence Charvin.

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