McCormacks Bay

Gold award winner at the house of the year competition 2019.


Rising to three storeys, this home was an earthquake rebuild on a hillside site special to the clients with uninterrupted views of the surrounding port hills, estuary and cityscape of Christchurch. Hills sites are always challenging, and this was no different.



  • O’Neil Architecture


  • 2019 Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards
    Gold Award in the “New Home over $2 million” category
  • National House of the Year Final 2019
    Gold Reserve Finalist

Monolithic masterpiece.

From devastation to triumph, this couple has ‘come home’ to an exceptional creation by DJ Hewitt Builders.

When the Millers secured a long sought-after luxury hillside home in McCormacks Bay, the couple had every intention of remaining there well into their ‘twilight years’. However, Mother Nature had other plans.

The quake of 2011 left their new home in ruins, and, like thousands of other displaced Christchurch residents, they found themselves living in rental accommodation in the years that followed. However, when it came time to make a decision on where to finally lay their roots, the couple felt there was no better place than McCormacks Bay to call home.

‘We consider ourselves very fortunate’, says Mary. Although it has taken a long six years to finally ‘come home’, they both agree it was well worth the wait. With the benefit of knowing the site inside out, they embraced the exciting opportunity that rebuilding offered. Having enlisted an architect and the building expertise of DJ Hewitt Builders, the Millers were set to tackle the project of a lifetime.

Already familiar with Daryl Hewitt’s work around town, and his reputation for building on hilly sites such as theirs, the couple felt confident in his abilities to realise their vision.

McCormacks Bay

Daryl’s willingness to include Mary and Russell every step of the way with daily onsite meetings, and his readiness to ‘effortlessly adapt’ in response to Russell’s changing ideas, made for a ‘thoroughly satisfying and transparent process’, the couple says. ‘We were very firm in our ideas of what we wanted and how it would work’, shares Mary.

With stunning views across the city and to the Southern Alps beyond, it was vital the new design included a sheltered deck from which to enjoy the ever-changing vistas throughout the year.

Other must-have features included a doubleheight void to allow natural light to pour in, a spacious and functional kitchen with a view, and a state-of-the-art wine cellar and tasting room to cater for Russell’s passion for fine wines.

Project managing the build from inception to completion, Daryl guided his clients through the entire design, build and budgeting process. Always on site to oversee the work of his highly qualified team of builders and to keep his loyal crew of subcontractors on track, Daryl is very much a ‘hands on’ owner-operator.

Daryl refers to his ‘subbies’ as ‘family’. Many have been with him for 15 of the 22 years he’s been in business, and they all share Daryl’s passion for quality workmanship. Together with Daryl’s wife, Tara, who offers guidance on interior solutions, their company offers a comprehensive package.

McCormacks Bay

McCormacks Bay

Laying the groundwork was the team at Trevor Stevens Excavations. Trevor says excavations of this nature are their specialty. Thanks to his experienced team, operating a fleet of fully equipped excavators, dislodging hard rock such as this makes for ‘very satisfying work’.

Allowing the architectural design to shine through, Powell Fenwick was responsible for creating costeffective engineering systems, which included designing the foundations, retaining walls and various beams and bracing elements – based on ‘careful and meticulous analysis’.

Encountering rock at varying depths is a challenge which plagues many hill sites; but, by working in close collaboration with DJ Hewitt’s team, they found a practical solution to ‘support the dwelling entirely on the rock itself – a vital component of the dwelling’s structural design’.

Creating instant curb appeal, the majestic three-story home features a winning combination of cedar, black steel, schist stonework and crisp white plaster cladding. Favoured among builders as a high performance, low maintenance exterior cladding solution, Rockcote Integra from Resene Construction Systems provides a weather-tight envelope.

This lightweight and durable system also offers thermal and acoustic benefits that keep the home warm and quiet. To guarantee optimal performance with an immaculate hand applied finish, this premium concrete plaster facade can only be applied by Resene’s network of licensed professionals and registered building practitioners.

Upon entering the main foyer through a full-height glass door, an impressive steel and glass staircase is a structural engineering feat. One of Daryl’s favourite aspects of the build, he says his involvement in brainstorming sessions with designers and key contractors in order to find solutions to challenges such as this is always rewarding.

Specialising in the manufacture of unique structural frameless glass systems for architecturally designed homes, Glassforce devised the spider fittings that enabled the suspension of the glass balustrade – which, as Glassforce Director David Clephane says, achieves a truly striking result.

The industrial style staircase is complemented by the warmth of a pure oak matt, engineered timber flooring that continues through to the wine cellar off the main foyer and throughout the open-plan living areas on the first floor.

Daryl Hewitt

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