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Dream team for the dream home

In 2012 Rob and Hayley Larman built their new home in Omokoroa.



“That build went really well,” says Rob. “Although a couple of years on we realised some things didn’t fit our lifestyle or family. Friends told us about the Minden subdivision. We came down and were sold on it as soon as we saw the section.”

Taking in the stunning view, they decided it needed a house designed specifically for the site. They started a search for an architectural designer but along the way found their builder.

“A friend told us to go and check out JBH Building.” The owner, Justin Horler, had his show home at The Lakes so the couple met him there.

JBH Building uses Ambionse ICF building blocks, also known in New Zealand as polyblocks, which provide the framework for concrete walls, as well as providing all the wall insulation.

“Rob was dead-keen on the ICF system, so that was it,” says Hayley. “We chose Justin as our builder and from there we chose our architectural designer. We saw four – two of them Justin recommended.”

They heard about Davista’s Kane DeRaat through their local day-care centre as he also had a child attending. Based at Davista since 2004, Kane, a licenced building practitioner who completed his training in the Bay of Plenty, focuses on bespoke residential work.

Kane met them at the site and took photos. The section is north-facing with a view of Mauao, a total of 3700sq metres, with a building line in place.

“We had a quick meeting there and then they came in to discuss their ideas,” says Kane. “Straight away I tuned in and picked up on what style they were looking at.” Hayley and Rob had prepared a brief which they gave to each of their architectural designers.

“We wanted something modernistic that captures the view, not a brick and tile house,” says Rob. “Not that we don’t like that, but our last house was that so we wanted something different. Hayley wanted a ‘wow ‘entrance way. I wanted some decent garage space. We had height restrictions and I quite like the square box low-pitch roof.”

Rob and Hayley took along a list of items they wanted in their new house. Included were about 10 photos showing decks, windows and flat, modern-style houses, and a home they’d found they liked, but knew wouldn’t work on their site.

They asked that their house be about 250-260 square metres, excluding the alfresco area, and designed to catch plenty of sun and natural light. They also wanted four bedrooms, with the master bedroom and main living area sited away from the children’s bedrooms and living area. Decks, a separate laundry, scullery, large walk-in wardrobe off the master bedroom, and polished concrete floors through a large area of the house were also on the list. They wanted to remain open to being creative with materials and ideas.

Rob and Hayley gave Kane their budget range, which excluded septic, driveway and architectural design costs. They felt that as the site is flat with a clay base, it wouldn’t require too much in terms of site work. They also informed him they had selected Justin Horler from JBH Building as their builder and they planned to use ICF Construction.

“The first meeting with the architectural designers was to gauge whether they would understand what we were trying to do,” says Hayley. “The one that stood out for us was Kane.”

Dream team for the dream home MidPic3 Dream team for the dream home MidPic4

Kane says Rob and Hayley’s brief was quite unique, not conventional construction, and he basically designed to that brief. “His very first off-the-block concept drawing fitted the bill,” says Hayley. “He’d listened, talked with us, looked through the things we gave him and understood the features that attracted us. He did an amazing job of doing exactly what we wanted.”

All four architectural designers quoted for the job. “We felt like we gelled with Kane. We got such a good feeling from him when we were talking with him. Also we had four estimates and his was the best.”

Kane says “They had a really good brief and knew exactly what they wanted”. “They weren’t unrealistic with their budget. We put the ‘wow’ factors in where required. Rob got his giant garage. Originally the plan was slightly larger, so we lowered the ceiling height in places to bring it back into their budget. I don’t think the design lost any of its magic and we made sure that the initial complete dream was provided.

“From there we went to the develop-design phase, bringing all the sketch plans into our CAD system and presented them with the virtual building.” “This is the first time we’ve used the ICF block with Justin. We involved him from early on, checking on pricing. He indicated that it was slightly dearer, but using a few smart design techniques we kept things simple and used the product where it was required.” Hayley says as soon as Kane had done up the plans, Justin could look at pricing. “So early on we had an idea of how much it was going to cost.” Once the designs were finalised, a full set of documents were sent to council to apply for building consent.

The Larman house was well underway when we went to print. MySpace Magazine will follow the build through to the finished product and we will showcase in the next issue.