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A Dunedin new-build tackles a steep sloping site with ease

A tricky Dunedin site was no match for this determined family, who have rebuilt their lives after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake damaged their beloved home


A Dunedin new-build tackles a steep sloping site with ease

Best lessons learned?
Sarah: Work with people you can trust, who are good communicators, creative thinkers and on the same wavelength as you.

What would you never do again?
Let the broom and gorse grow. It’s really hard to pull out!

DIY disasters?
None yet, but we did have a dishwasher flood just before Christmas last year which meant the entire floor had to be replaced.

What’s one thing you would change about your home if you could?
Make the entranceway bigger. Plus I’d love a small studio out the back.

Most memorable experience you’ve had in your home?
Leaping around on the bank among the native grasses in our PJs with our neighbours, chasing after a rabbit (whom we later adopted).

How did your budget forecast compare to your actual spend?
We were pretty much bang on budget. We were very conscious of sticking to the amount we had available.

What areas of your home did you save or splurge on?
We splurged on the kitchen which we had made at Alpine Joinery. We also splurged on the fire – a Pyroclassic – and on having a Marimekko blind made at Bolt of Cloth in Auckland. We saved on Iris’ curtains by having a local curtain-maker create them from a double pack of Spotlight curtains.

Best advice when it comes to spending money on a home?
Spend your money on the stuff that’ll be hard to retrofit – like insulation and heating. And be brave: we were so glad we made some bold decisions regarding materials and colours.

TOTAL: $400,000

New-build tips 

  • Plan your house to suit the way you and your family like to live.
  • If you love a piece of furniture, design your room to suit it.
  • If you have a special view, pop a window frame around it!
  • Look at using different materials such as concrete fibreboard which avoids the cost of using multiple materials and trades.
  • Make a time capsule and hide it in a wall cavity before it’s gibbed.
  • Cavity sliders are great space savers and make it easy to close off areas to keep in heat and reduce noise.
  • If you’re thinking about saving things to do later, don’t. Push the boat out and do them now. Building only gets more expensive the longer you wait.
  • Buy appliances on sale; the best sales are often on Boxing Day.

Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Guy Frederick.

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