Bunnings Trade

Sign in or sign up

No PowerPass account? Sign up

Job list

Sign in to your account

A large home in a remote part of New Zealand
For a South Waikato family discovering a dream section results in a supersized lifestyle home.

The South Waikato town of Tirau may be small but there is a tradition of building big. As the corrugated capital of the world there are massive dog and sheep inspired structures. Yet it is on the outskirts heading towards Cambridge, that something truly sizeable commands the landscape. It sits on a ridge next to what ordinarily would be considered substantial family or executive homes. This build, however, dwarfs the neighbours. And would make the nearby Castle Pamela seem somewhat small. In every stage, scale and sense this home is massive.

Fittingly, in an area known for its distinctive features, the original building plan was one created by Landmark Homes. Will Quigley and Nigel Watson operate the Waikato franchise of the nation-wide construction company along with the newly formed Landmark Coromandel franchise. Nigel is a Licensed Building Practitioner with over 20 years’ experience building high end homes to a top-quality standard. He has been with Landmark Homes Waikato for five years, originally in a project management role for a short period before forming a partnership with Will. It was his clients who came knocking on the office door one day with the aim of their first home build.

They had their hearts set on a Landmark Homes ready-to-build plan named after a stunning location in its own right; Te Anau. A house, in keeping with the magnificence of the surrounds, that is grand and aspirational. “We describe the plan,” says Nigel, “as the ultimate home for country-style living. It has an impressive vaulted ceiling entry that leads into spacious formal and informal living spaces. The stepped design maximizes sun exposure but also provides plenty of shelter.” This plan was to be the foundation until the client discovered their ultimate site, a location where the Te Anau would not be at home. From there the project morphed into a design and build of epic proportions.

Big Country

“The section they found is part of a lifestyle subdivision that was formerly a farm.The terrain is rolling and surrounded by big banks on two of the boundaries. The challenge was to turn this into a literal viewing platform, out over the Hinuera Valley to Lake Karapiro, tailoring the build to the views and making the best use of the light and surroundings.”

The Ignimbrite rocks that carve the valley are a visual wonder and were one of the featured landscapes in the Lord of the Rings series. Further away is Lake Karapiro created in 1947 when the river’s first hydroelectric station—the massive Horahora power station was completed. The lake today is home to the country’s world-class rowing venue. These were the visual ‘treats’ that needed capturing to best advantage. Nigel says that the required earthworks were undoubtedly the most challenging aspect of what was overall a complicated build.

“Again, we were trying to establish a huge platform right at the edge of the section to capitalise on the range of stunning views. We had to build the bank up about 5 metres with dirt we had scarped from further up the section to push the actual house as far forward as possible.” Just as the scope and scale of works was finalised and the big ‘dig’ got underway wet weather intervened.

“We reached the stage where it became too wet to get the soil to compact so we were unable to get on with the build. In the end we had to wait a few months to let it dry out and wait for better weather.” Having taken on many major builds in his career to date Nigel says this one is certainly one of (if not) the biggest projects he has undertaken. “The house overall is 534m2 with the ground floor at 347m2 and the first floor 187m2. The overall shape is very appealing. The grand entrance is a stunning aspect to this home. There is a drive-under entrance, like a hotel, that flows into the front door which opens to a sweeping view of a curved stairway. It is very dramatic.”

Big Thinking

Despite the ‘big thinking’ behind the project, this was the clients’ first build. “They found the experience somewhat daunting, so we took extra effort to guide them through the build. Making sure they knew what was happening, were comfortable and had trust that everything was coming together according to plan. The biggest challenge was visualising the different aspects at each stage and phase. We created a number of ‘landmark’ decision-making points to ensure there were as few changes as possible along the way.” Ironically the only ‘glitch’ that Nigel remembers involved the main feature of the drive through front entrance.

“At first it just didn’t look right. Once we had it up, we had to alter the framing to achieve the effect we wanted, and the house deserved. We spent a bit of time changing this to give it the right appeal as you make your way up the driveway. The 12-month build involved over 50 different parties at various stages including Bunnings.

“We’ve been working with the Bunnings team since 2014. They supplied the frame and truss along with all the building materials for the project. Their team played a massive part in this build, making sure all the finer details of the shape, and roof lines, all flowed together. The size of the house and roof made this a daunting task which was achieved with their usual skill and attention to detail.” In this project the enduring memory for Nigel is summarised in one small word with massive implications…big.

“Everything about this project was huge but in a way that is not garish or overstated.The excavations allowed us to really make a statement in creating a family home that is truly fantastic. Perhaps my biggest and most enduring memory was when we were doing the earthworks and marking out the floor area. A dark thought suddenly struck that even with the gigantic platform, we created a design that wasn’t going to fit. It was a big moment of panic to say the least. But we managed to make it all work and the location of the structure and the result worked out perfectly.”

So next time you’re motoring through South Waikato and you’re captivated by the enormous corrugated dog, keep driving and you’ll encounter something with a really BIG wow factor.

View more projects

Keen to see more projects Bunnings Trade customers have worked on? Check out our more projects here.