I imagine this will become a sort of series. Once I had back to the beach (i.e. NZ) on August 1st, I hope to video document the building of our ‘forever home’.
A few years ago, we bought my husband’s parents’ beach place in anticipation of one day doing something crazy like tearing down the … functional family beach bach* and building a home we could live in ‘forever’. I know it’s weird to put forever in quotation marks, but we’ve called two moves previously our last move, so I am being cautious. We decided to buy it a few years ago while his parents are still healthy. They still get to come whenever they want, and they get a nice little income from our purchase in their retirement. Of course there’s nowhere for ANY one to stay at the moment!
We tore the place down about 6 weeks ago. Yes! It’s happening! It’s not a particularly speedy process to build a unique ‘architectural’ home. About 18 months ago we decided on a builder. Our criteria were pretty clear cut:
- Someone local. The Coromandel might look close to Auckland, but it very much is not. It’s remote, coastal, and has its unique challenges.
- Someone who would also project manage. I’ve seen enough Grand Designs to know that micromanaging subcontractors as the owner is ridiculous.
- Someone who didn’t mass produce. No kit set homes or subdivision homes.
- Someone who could answer an email. Email is so much better when keeping track of questions, replies, promises, and details. And I hate the phone.
We’re pretty confident we chose right when we chose Damian for our builder/project manager 18 months ago. At the time he had two projects to finish before he could even think about starting on ours, so the timing sounded like it might be right for us. And it really has felt great. Since we met him he’s been punctual – on the dot – every time we’ve met with him. His previous builds are beautiful. He replies to email. And every recommendation he’s given us since we met with him has been fantastic.
One of the recommendations was Kirsten Castle of Studio 77 who has designed our house for us. Her fees have been reasonable, she understood exactly what we wanted when I gave her our purposefully vague brief. And she’s turning out to be a friend as well.
So, 18 months later it looks like we will be breaking ground next week.
I could go on and on about stuff, but I’ll space this out. What I WILL say is that it’s not cheap!
But we’ve paid our deposit. And the invoice had this nifty pie chart showing us how insignificant that deposit is!
*Yes, it’s a word. A new New Zealand word for ‘rustic cabin’ at the beach or lake.