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Building Prospective new home owners are faced with a glut of options. Brenda Webb offers a road-map, and meets first-timers who would do it all again.



veryone dreams of building their own beautiful home – an abode that reflects their individuality; a house that really is a home because it was designed with passion and pride; a place to bring up children or to grow old in. Whether it’s a multi-room mansion on a hill with spectacular views or a modest house on a small section in a subdivision, the dream is that your house will give lasting pleasure. Building your own home does involve effort, and those contemplating such a project are faced with many decisions: Do I employ an architect or design it myself? Where do I find a good builder? What materials should I choose? A myriad of styles, designs and products are available today, which can make the process overwhelming. Generally speaking, there are three main ways to go about building; 1/ Employ an architect to design and oversee the entire project, from initial concept through to finished design. 2/ Design the house yourself and engage a draughtsperson to do the finished plans. 3/ Go to a specialist house-building company who have standard sets of plans which can be adapted. Other options are available, of course. Many skilled builders have their own plans that they will happily tweak to achieve your dream. You can even download plans from the internet. Architects are often seen as designing luxury projects, 44

but actually their workload varies and they can be tasked with something as simple as redesigning a laundry. For house builds, the advantage of employing an architect is that you end up with a bespoke home designed to suit your every need. Architects are often involved in the entire project, co-ordinating builders and engineers, suggesting materials and ensuring a far more seamless process. Anyone embarking on a building project – whichever option they choose – needs to be realistic and honest about their budget right at the start. With today’s move towards smaller houses, many people are demanding tiny houses to fit tiny budgets. David Wallace, from Arthouse Architects, firmly believes that good design results in a better building that fits the site and works for the client. “Naturally, employing an architect doesn’t suit everyone – there are people who are adamant they can design their own home,” he says. “And for others, going to a housing company offers low risk – they can go to a show home and pick a design and know exactly what they are going to get. “With an architect you are less likely to know what you are getting, but in most cases expectations are exceeded and the result is better than ever. The flexibility is far greater.” David’s advice to anyone embarking on a building project is

WildTomato January 2018  
WildTomato January 2018  

WildTomato is Nelson & Marlborough's magazine. We focus on inspiring journalism, stunning photography and beautiful design. www.wildtomato.c...