Glossy and new replaced cold and old

A planned demolition and rebuild on a Christchurch property was seriously impacted by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Although the rebuild project took longer than anticipated, the owners are delighted with their stunning new home that is a vast improvement on the old one.

Kevin and Judy Blair raised their three children in a large home located on an eight acre lifestyle block on the outskirts of Christchurch. They loved their location, so when they had an opportunity to demolish the ‘old and cold’ home and create a brand new living environment, they chose to design a much improved home on the former site. Judy had a folder of clippings and cuttings from design and lifestyle magazines which she presented to Darren O’Neil from O’Neil Architecture. He designed a sprawling single level home well suited to the large, flat building platform. The impressive home, built by DJ Hewitt Builders, incorporates many of the favoured features, furnishings and design treatments saved in Judy’s folder.

“It’s really important to have a rapport with your building company”, Judy says”, From their initial meeting, Judy found an easy and immediate connection with Tara, Daryl’s wife, fellow director and company interior co-ordinator. Judy attributes the ease of making all subsequent interior design decisions to the wisdom, contacts and style that Tara brought to the project. “I got on really well with Tara”, Judy says. “She would lead me to places that could supply the things I wanted. She was a great help. I like simple and she always knew exactly how to find the things that appealed”.

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The magnificent home is perfectly situated for all day sun. It sits amidst a superbly manicured lawn and immaculately landscaped garden, designed by Suzanne Sullivan, The expansive home wraps around a louvered outdoor living area accessible from several rooms in the home via over height glass sliders. A full exterior kitchen lends itself to outdoor living options year round.

Kevin and Judy spent almost 12 months in the planning phase and during that time developed their vision for a home that is timeless, stylish and understated. The level of detail is amazing and the craftsmanship involved in achieving a superb finish – with numerous technically challenging angles and design features – is entirely down to the skill and exacting standards of the DJ Hewitt team.

Design features include angles and negative detailing to enhance the feeling of spaciousness, a variety of textures and finishes to create surprise and interest, and the inclusion of highly specified fittings to heighten the overall sense of luxury. Unique design elements include oversize doors, recessed glass sliders, a black ceiling in the living room and an impressive, stone-clad fireplace. Extensive glazing on exterior walls affords views of the garden and ensures the home is a sun trap.

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Despite all the pre-planning, Judy found the spontaneous and practical input of the DJ Hewitt construction team added great value to outcomes. “Daryl was always thinking ahead and making suggestions for how we might improve or enhance our home. We really appreciated that level of engagement”. Judy says. Elevating the bath and lowering it onto a plinth was one example where a minor change to the plan has had a major impact to the bathroom finish. “That was such a good idea. Now I step down into the lovely tub”, Judy says.

Judy and Kevin moved into the home in 2013. The building project took longer than anticipated, due to the impact of ongoing quakes and changes to the building code, but Daryl and his team worked tirelessly to ensure the disruptions were minimised where possible and delays to the schedule were always well communicated. “Darren, Daryl and Tara are a good team. They are passionate about what they do”, Judy says.

Three years on, Judy and Kevin are delighted with their living environment. “It’s perfect. It’s just what we wanted it to be. Everything is right”.

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Home Design: O’Neil Architecture