Taking design notes from builds in Arrowtown and Wānaka, this Ngāruawāhia home exudes Southern style
Meet & greet
Courtney (administrator and event planner) and Brad Turton (co-owner of Turton Builders), and daughters Madelyn, four, and Sienna, two, and bichon/King Charles cavalier cross Bindi.
A three-bedroom new-build clad in brick, board and batten in Ngāruawāhia’s River Terraces subdivision.
It was all go in Courtney and Brad Turton’s lives in November 2020 when they celebrated moving into their new home and greeting their newborn within days.
The house shift happened two days before their youngest daughter, Sienna, was born. Sienna’s big sister, Madelyn, celebrated her second birthday a day later with a little party in the birthing centre, rather than in their new house as planned.
Brad says there was no deliberate intention to overload an already momentous month – the plan had been to move into their house earlier. The house title came through from the council at the end of February 2020, and the dig out, which was due to begin was stymied by a nationwide Covid lockdown. And so, the project start date was delayed until May, then it was time to put in the hard yards to reap the rewards, with Brad working on the project mostly after hours and on the weekends.
The house is Brad and Courtney’s second new-build project. Their first (a celebration of light cedar with lots of white) was in Hamilton. They sold it before they started a family and rented for a few years while mulling over their next home ownership move.
Courtney says they checked out houses to renovate, houses to bowl and build again, then ventured out to Ngāruawāhia for a drive one day. That trip resulted in them acquiring one of the few remaining sections in a new subdivision development.
“We thought it was too good to be true, with its views of the Waikato River and the Hakarimata Ranges,” says Courtney.
“It’s also on the Te Awa River Ride and Te Araroa Trail, so we have trail walkers and cyclists biking past our backyard, with about 15 metres of reserve between our section and the path to also enjoy.”
Courtney praises her husband’s great eye for design and detail, which was invaluable when it came to designing their floor plan. Brad also worked out the elevations and cladding detail before sending their plans off to a draftsman, who is a family friend.
“Brad builds beautiful houses all the time, so he regularly sees new products and ways of doing things, which is lovely and helpful,” she says.
While their first home featured light colours, they were keen for a Wānaka/Queenstown vibe this time, with warmth of colouring as opposed to stark white. Hence the dark board and batten, grey brick and darker floors.
The site size restricted what they could build, so Brad and Courtney ensured they used spaces wisely and prioritised what they wanted. They made the call to forgo having a fourth bedroom or a separate office in favour of having generous living areas and a spacious garage. Madelyn and Sienna (and their unicorns, princesses and rainbows) love sharing a room – long may that last, their mother laughs – so there’s still a spare bedroom. The front door to their home leads directly into the dining room.
“It’s an idea we replicated after seeing a beautiful house in Arrowtown. Not having a foyer is no sacrifice for us. We are not super private people and enjoy welcoming people straight into the heart of our home,” says Courtney.
Many family members have been involved in getting this project completed within seven months, from assisting with babysitting to picking up the tools. There’s been help from both their fathers and Courtney’s brother, Harrison Newdick, who is also a builder. Courtney’s dad, Gary Newdick, fabricated the legs of the outdoor bar leaner and manufactured the kitchen’s rangehood cover.
A big kitchen and scullery was a must as they love entertaining. They were also keen for open-plan main living with a separate and snug living room/media room that can be closed off. This room has been carpeted and is painted a darker colour to ensure it provides that cosy ambience. Warming their hearts is this room’s photo wall, which Courtney created – special family moments captured and displayed within white frames.
A required easy access to the outdoors has been assured, with both the main living area and main bedroom feeding out to the large, covered deck facing the river.
The garage is wider than they had previously in order to accommodate bikes and tools, as well as vehicles – they deemed this a better option than having a tool shed taking up lawn space.
Courtney and Brad’s home has a separate powder room, which they’ve found to be a great decision, as there’s no need for guests to venture down the hall to the family bathroom. Having the third toilet (there’s an ensuite too) was something they found would-be-buyers of their last home seemed very keen on.
Another necessity, as far as Courtney was concerned, was the inclusion of green in her decor colours, which was used to clever effect in the kitchen and powder room.
Courtney tackled most of the interior decisions, although help was close at hand if required – her mother-in-law is Bronwyn Turton of Turton Interiors, who assisted in colour decisions and product sourcing.
Green and black are colours Courtney has embraced throughout her home and the kitchen is a good example of this with its cabinetry in Melteca in light green Possum, complemented by the fridge, shelves, handles, rangehood and benchtops all in black. Courtney deviated, however, when it came to the kitchen island, which she couldn’t resist – it’s white quartzite with speckled colours. Nearby, the powder room also celebrates Courtney’s love for green, with its dark green concrete basin offset by speckled terrazzo tiles behind.
“I think the powder room is a place to have a bit of fun – it doesn’t have to match the other bathrooms. It’s an area where I decided to splash out a little,” says Courtney.
Some of the home’s exterior details have been carried through inside. The bricks, for example, feature on the wall leading to the second lounge/media room, and the dark-stained board-and-batten features look stunning inside too. They’ve been used on the ceilings in the living areas and that’s a decision Courtney says she would definitely go with again.
Brad’s keenness to include dimmable strip lighting in the rooms with the dark ceilings is another winner. The LED strip lighting along the rooms’ edges creates a lovely touch at night.
When Brad drew up the house plans he ensured the home’s hallway was put to good use. It includes recesses – one for an office workstation, and another to house a bar. The couple’s space configuration skills are also evident when accessing the main bedroom suite, which is located off the kitchen through a walk-through wardrobe. Clothes can’t be seen at all as they’re behind cabinetry doors, which repeat the hues of the kitchen. Turn right at the end of this accessway to enter the ensuite and left to the bedroom.
The laundry incorporates a benchseat with baskets underneath for shoes, which gives the room a mudroom vibe. This works especially well as the laundry room creates the connection between the garage and house. The Turtons suggest having drawers built underneath your washing machine and drier for additional storage. An added bonus is that the extra height makes it easier to move laundry in and out of the front-loading machines.
Let’s hear it for a window seat
Courtney recommends including window seats in your house plan, if possible. The one they have in the living area is perfectly positioned for looking out on the Hakarimata Ranges and serves a practical purpose too. It has pull-out drawers providing the perfect place for storing the girls’ toys. Courtney had the padded top covered in leather, which is wipeable and easy to clean.
Waste not, want not
On the deck, in another example of ingenuity, a quartzite offcut from the kitchen breakfast bar was utilised as the top of the bar leaner. It’s a piece of outdoor furniture Brad was keen to have because the added height offers better river views when seated.
Any leftover bricks from the build were never going to go to waste and Brad put them to use in the garden by creating potager beds with pebbled paths between.
“I love being in the garden and growing vegetables and watching the girls pull out carrots and pick strawberries,” says Courtney. It’s an idyllic and happy scene that will no doubt be captured and displayed on the family’s photo wall to be treasured for many more years to come.
Words by: Monique Balvert-O’Connor. Photography by: Helen Bankers