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Our House At The Top of the Street

Thursday, May 30, 2013
We have our house plans.

There's a little story with the journey of this house, and even though it has taken us five months longer than we would have liked to settle on a plan, there are things that happened in between that have given us this house.

First of all, it goes back to the year 2000 when our first son was born and when we built our first house while living in Alexandra, Central Otago.

I loved the library there - the librarians in the Alexandra library are the best. I was in there every week and loved reading old house magazines for  ideas. So one day I checked this magazine out.


It's an American building magazine. And I have to say right here, that American design is our favourite. The Americans are certainly skilled at creating homes that look great and are practical. One day I will do a post on that alone.

Inside this magazine was a house that my husband (the former architectural designer) loved. But at the time he felt that the style wouldn't suit Central Otago, but he kept going back to it, so in the end, 6 years later when we moved to Canterbury, we asked the librarian if we could buy the magazine and keep it. And she said yes, because being the only ones in Alexandra who kept checking it out nobody else even knew it existed, and it was getting rather old and used, as you can see.


But, this style of house didn't really suit the flat plains of rural Canterbury either, so once again it go tucked away. But now, all these years later, and as we are about to build our 3rd house, and because we were desperate to get re-inspired after the disappointment of the last architect, this magazine gets dragged out again, because this style of house would most definitely suit the section we have bought in suburban Tauranga.

And after 5 months of frustration with the first architect, I was sitting in a crowded cafe one busy Friday morning with four girlfriends and some of us were in a deep and meaningful conversation about the virtues and delights of the ipad-mini, and I was imploring with them to join Pinterest, when Victoria told me about Houzz. An app for the ipad which showcases photographs from designers of every single room in a house that you could desire, including landscaping and exterior. I downloaded it as soon as I got home and spent the rest of the day ignoring the housework. And we found another house (American) that we loved as well, so we took it to the architect, along with the pictures of the above house and told him to merge the aspects we loved of both houses and come up with something unique to us.

Which he did. In three weeks. And this last Tuesday night we finalised them.

And here is the rough sketch of the exterior. I can't show you the complete sketch, but this is the view from the front.


And here is the view from the main road, which will be our outdoor living area.


We only had a few minor things to change - like taking out the skylights (we hate skylights), and changing a few windows and doors here and there, but otherwise it's perfect for us, and the architect is working on the working drawings now and will then send it out for tender.

While he is doing that, he is arranging for the kitchen designer to meet with us soon. That will be the first thing in our house to get designed and decided upon. So my next blog post on the house will be about the kitchen, and I will look forward to getting your feedback on ideas and colours, etc. I already have many ideas saved on my Houzz app.

Here is the initial architect's design of the kitchen. Already I will be doing away with the long bench and having a large stand-alone Island instead. It seems that everyone in New Zealand loves the kitchen bench with bar stools alone one side, but we hate that. It didn't work for us in our last house - was a wasted space, as we prefer to eat at the dining table, so no bar stools for us. The Island is much better for us. We had one in our first house in Alexandra and loved it.
The kitchen window at the sink looks out onto the Jacaranda tree (love) which we may be able to save. I'm working on that with the men who are not so attached to it as me! The pantry is the central room in the house, so good for tornadoes! Haha! The earthquakes have made us natural-disaster-conscious!

So what do you think of our little house? It's not the rambling country house with spreading wings and generous proportions that we're used to, but I think we might end up loving this the most, because we've loved it for so long and it has grown with us. So already it has history and a sense of familiarity. The best of all the three places we have lived in and loved and nurtured our family.

And of course, we will have to think of a name for it. I always name our homes.


4 comments :

vegemitevix said...

Love the house! And I'm right there with you about saving the Jacaranda tree. That is essential! So very exciting, wish we could build but will be renting for a wee while longer I think.

Mother of Pearl said...

I love the Houzz app. Since discovering that afew months ago, I have spent more time than I am willing to admit looking at photos of house after house.

We are looking to break ground on our new house in the next month or two, so I'll be looking forward to see what you are doing!

MandaBurms said...

Oh my the hozz app looks way fun! Looking forward to seeing more of your new pad.

Anonymous said...

So EXCITED that you've finally found the house plans you want. Please, lots of pictures! (Ginny E)

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