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Retirees trade Christchurch for Hamilton to build dream home

Retirees trade Christchurch for Hamilton to build dream home

A desire to be close to family led Gerald and Ann Frengley to start thinking about their retirement options, but it was the 2011 Christchurch earthquake that proved to be the ultimate catalyst for change.

Gerald and Ann, who have been married for almost 60 years, built their first home in 1966 in Avonhead – a suburb in the north west of Christchurch. After the earthquake, the Frengley’s were “shaken up just as much as everyone else” and while their house wasn’t terribly damaged, it did highlight just how vulnerable they were in their older age.  

The couple’s four children, fourteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren reside throughout the country, from Otautau and Invercargill in the south to Wellington and Hamilton in the North Island. When a two-acre section became available in Tamahere, a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Hamilton just down the road from one of their sons, the decision to move north was decided.

 

Quote from Ann Frengley
It was a hassle-free build. If there was ever a problem with what we were thinking, the Generation Homes team let us know straight away and helped us adjust our plans accordingly. We were able to do it all from a great distance and without worry.

Ann Frengley

GH

You spent a great deal of time viewing different s in the Hamilton area. What made you decide to partner with Generation Homes?  

ANN

Once we had made the decision to move to Hamilton, we went up there a number of times to look at the new subdivisions in the area. We were particularly focusing on Cambridge because we were going to be living close to there and it was on one of these visits that we came across Generation’s Cambridge design that had a similar configuration to our Christchurch property.

GERALD

Our Christchurch property had a middle section with two wings sticking out and that configuration suited us extremely well. In Christchurch we slept in the north-western wing which made it very hot late in the day and therefore uncomfortable for sleeping, but the Cambridge house had the bedrooms in the wing closest to the rising sun. It was designed so the sun would progress around the house warming the central living areas, before moving further round to the formal living area. Our family home in Arrowtown also used this configuration so we knew it would suit our style of living.

GH

We understand you had a clear vision for the property and worked with the team at Generation Homes Hamilton to change the property. Tell us about the design process.

GERALD

Throughout the design and build process, we lived between our Christchurch and Arrowtown properties until we had sold the Christchurch house. During that time we drew up plans for the alterations we had in mind, and when we were in Arrowtown, used the photocopier at the library to send our ideas to Alana Savage, the Regional Director of Generation Homes Hamilton. Alana then passed our plans on to Generation’s architects in Tauranga to find out if they were practical and achievable. It was such an easy process being in Arrowtown and having a house built to the design and specifications we were after and Alana took care of that for us all the way through. We built an extremely liveable home. It has limited passageways so essentially every part of the house is a useable space.

ANN Everything was done remotely and Alana was wonderful at keeping us informed. Our building experience with Generation Homes was really, really easy.  

GH

What were the key areas of the plan you chose to upgrade?  

ANN

The first thing we did was to extend the two wings. The east wing was increased to include a morning room – it’s a very hot, glasshouse-type space and it’s wonderful in the cooler months. The west wing was extended the same distance to ensure the two wings were equal and this is where we put our formal living room. We have large glass sliding doors across the family room so that we have unobstructed views and full access to the sun. It’s a very sunny house and remarkably warm.

GERALD Then we decided the family room-which includes the kitchen and dining area- wasn’t quite big enough because we wanted to fit in a large dining table which could seat all the kids, a lounge suite, television and so on, so we extended that by 1.5 metres. That extension went right through the middle of the house and increased the size of the study as well. We also extended the double garage to include a separate laundry with plenty of storage. Behind that, I put a third garage and a workshop. It has lots of shelving and space to store the quadbike and so on – so it’s a toy box effectively.  

GH

What colour schemes did you choose for the property?  

GERALD

We had taken a chip out of the paintwork of the Christchurch house and Alana had the paint matched for us. It’s a pale colour with a very slight apricot tint. Everyone was telling us to use ‘quarter Spanish white’, but we thought we’re not going to have a hospital! We just wanted a house and it needed a touch of colour to add a bit of warmth. In fact it was my wife who worked out it had to be this chalk colour with a touch of apricot.

ANN We colour-matched the aluminium architraves on the outside of the house so there’s no clash between the architraves and the walls within the house. The bricks are creamy buff, but not quite fawn, in colour. We also chose grey carpet on the floor and continued that through all the living rooms and sleeping quarters of the house. Other areas of the house like the kitchen, bathrooms and entranceway are tiled. It works very well.

GH

How did your plans to extend the size of the living and dining area impact the kitchen?

GERALD

We increased the size of the stone island bench quite a lot. In the original Cambridge design the dividing island bench had seats along one side. We didn’t need that extra seating because we had expanded the living room to include a large dining table, so instead we made the bench a bit wider and put drawers under it on the dining side. At one end of the kitchen is the scullery and it has lots of shelving, cupboard space and another sink.  

ANN The kitchen cabinetry is very neutral except for the splashback. It’s a beautiful apricot/orange coloured glass and it covers the whole area behind the cooktop. I wanted that colour because we have two large ceramic plates of a similar colour which we were going to hang on a wall in the living area and that would tie the two areas together.  

GH

Did you make any variations in the bathrooms?

GERALD

We enter our ensuite bathroom very cunningly, by walking through our walk-in wardrobe and we tiled the ensuite shower. In between the spare bedroom and the main bathroom is a toilet off a short passage, so we added a sliding door at the end of that passageway to effectively give the spare bedroom an ensuite bathroom and toilet. It’s great for guests or when the family come to stay.

GH

How did you design your property’s outdoor areas?

ANN

The section is quite large and we did not want to have to garden all of it so we fenced off a smaller area and built the house there so we don’t have too much to look after. Once the house was built, we put in raised garden boxes and an orchard. We paved in between the garden boxes so the only bit we have to deal with regularly is the lawn at the front of the house and our grandchildren help out with that.  A neighbour has a few sheep grazing the rest of the section so it is really easy for us to care for.

GERALD The front terrace is tiled and has a table and chairs and a swing seat, but when it’s really hot we prefer to entertain guests at the back of the house. We have a big concreted area with a barbeque and table. We also put in an electric gate so the property is not accessible while we are away.

GH

What do you love most about your new home?

ANN

It’s hard to pinpoint one thing but I suppose it’s the additional space we built into the living area. The morning room has also turned out to be a spectacular success. We also added insulation everywhere, between rooms and in the ceiling, so it’s a very warm, quiet house. The increased warmth during the colder months is wonderful.

GERALD

We’ve got a gorgeous schist fireplace in the second living room, and we installed two attic ladders into the roof to create more storage space. We also chose to have a black tin roof because we both enjoy listening to the sound of rain.

GH What advice would you offer people considering the option of building a new home?
GERALD The first thing I would say is to question the reliability of the firm you’re dealing with and find out what systems they use to manage their finances. For example make sure they operate in credit, not debt, and ensure your personal finances are all sorted. The project should be financed well on both sides. The second thing is, can the firm take care of all the arrangements with the council and negotiate on your behalf? When you’re building at a distance, as we were, we had to rely on Alana and it worked out very well. Generation Homes made this a very pleasant process.
ANN Make sure you can look at representative samples of every material and or colour that you’re thinking of using because you have to make decisions about them early on and you have to get it right. When you are doing this from a distance there are no opportunities to make changes. It’s really important for everything to tie together.
GERALD Look at the design of the house and see if you can adjust it cheaply. Where we put the slice through the living room and the study all it affected was the number of trusses needed, a bit more underfloor concrete, bricks and a bit more tin on the roof. It was a simple and cost effective way to extend the house.

GH

Would you partner with Generation Homes again?

ANN

Absolutely. In a flash! It was a hassle-free build. If there was ever a problem with what we were thinking, the Generation Homes team let us know straight away and helped us adjust our plans accordingly. We were able to do it all from a great distance and without worry.

GERALD

Apart from our grandkids forgetting to mow the lawn while we were away, and wrecking it, our experience with the property has been one of great pleasure. We have to thank Alana and her team at Generation Homes for that.