Building a house is not an easy selection, especially when you have a big family with varieties of ages, from kids to toddlers, teens, and you, parents. A house design for such a family should meet demand and appropriate for each member. The story below is valuable to read to gain experience of Brett McHardie family in building their house.
BRETT McHARDIE HAS returned to his roots. The land he and his wife Karen built their family home on six years ago originally belonged to his parents. Brett’s family had first moved onto the block of land in Tamahere – situated on New Zealand’s North Island – when he was just 11. “When Brett and I met, we rented a small cottage from his parents, who still lived in the main house on this land,” Karen explains. Brett’s parents eventually sold their house and subdivided the block – and Brett and Karen were able to buy a section, which has the advantage of overlooking a gully so their view of nature will never be built out.
When deciding on an architect to build their family home, Brett’s architect brother Glenn was the obvious choice. “Glenn knew how we lived and what we needed from our home, so he was able to design a house that really suited us,” Karen says. “Our close relationship also meant we could be really involved in the design process. We had never built before and we knew this would be our one dream home, so it was important to get it right.”
The overall aesthetic of the home is simple, clean and no-fuss. Stack-bonded, clearfinished concrete blockwork was chosen – for its raw and unadorned nature – to feature throughout the property. “I took some convincing about using the bare block as when we were designing our home six years ago it was quite radical to have exposed concrete block in a residential building,” Karen explains. She was concerned it may look too industrial or commercial, but the result is a feeling of robustness and permanence, and links the interior to the exterior. “Looking back now I would not have it any other way,” she admits.
Brett, an engineer by profession, built the steelwork in the home, which gave him a great understanding of the home’s design and structure. “He is very pedantic, so it meant he was able to keep a close eye on building progress to ensure plans were being followed correctly.” The house was also “future proofed” so that part of the existing structure can support a second level, which will be a master suite. “I was up a ladder the other day cleaning some high windows and realised the view we are missing out on,” Karen says. “It has really motivated us to make these plans a reality.” In the meantime, the family are loving their home.
Sea changes will never go out of fashion, even for a design and trend expert. David Carlson, with his wife Madeleine and their two young children, recently left the chaos of the city for a simpler, although no less comfortable, life in a seaside town less than an hour’s drive away. Although new to living in the town as permanent residents, the couple had discovered it while on holidays many years ago, well before children were on the scene. Originally a fishing village, the town had become a popular summer holiday destination for many, renowned as it was for its lovely white sandy beach, golf courses and birdwatching.
And during one of their visits 12 years ago, David and Madeleine fell in love with this painted, pearly grey, two-storey timber house, which had been built in the early 1900s. They were particularly attracted to its laidback summery vibe – and bought it. For many years it was their holiday home, but now, years later, they have chosen to live in it full time.
Renowed House with recliner chairs, sofas, and space for relax
Although David and Madeleine didn’t make many significant changes to the four-bedroom home – they were keen to retain its original charm – they did, however, enlarge the kitchen to allow for easier entertaining of family and friends who visit in the summer holidays. The original milled timber floorboards were rubbed with a sand-coated soap, giving them a bleached look, and the interior was painted predominantly white, a colour that makes David feel like he’s permanently on holiday. In the dining room, original cornices were lowered and attached as picture rails. Children’s artwork and family photos are layered along the railing to eye-catching effect. In keeping with the neutral colour scheme and uncluttered feel, the home is furnished simply with just a few pieces – many of them market and auction-house finds. A couple of vintage posters and maps, and the odd painting, adorn the walls, but many walls are left bare. David says he prefers the “art of living” to stylish effects, and his attitude is reflected in the simplicity of the interior decorating.
The art of living with reasonable home decor; example of convenient chairs and recliner chairs
The “art of living” appears to have also extended to the lack of home office. Although David does much of his work from home, he didn’t think it necessary to incorporate an office in the scheme of things. “I walk from room to room with my computer – this is a very cool and pleasant way to work!” he says. Working from home also provides the added advantage of being able to take time off during the day and head to the beach with the children. David also spends time meditating in the library, or pottering in the garden – the house is set on 1200 sq m, much of it planted with hundreds of varieties of roses, a passion of David’s. A simple home, a simple life. What more do you need?