When it came time for Ross and Angela Leadley to build their new home, there was no question that experienced builder Ross would build it himself. The couple had already built three previous homes, but this home was part of their long-term plan to give their boys Brady and Lachie lots of space for adventure and to accommodate their business.

“We bought the property ten years ago, knowing we would eventually build here,” says Ross. “Once we’d decided we were ready, it was all go,” he says of the seven-month build.

With Ross’s experience and having built houses together already, the decision making was easy. “He’s built so many amazing homes we had no shortage of ideas, so it was just a matter of getting on with it and bringing them all together.”

At first sight, the black and white exterior of the home makes a strong impression, sitting as it does on a sprawling expanse of rolling lawn.

Step inside and stylish black tiles with reverse-tone wallpapers set the colour palette throughout. Hardwearing nylon carpet was chosen for its practicality and fade-resistant qualities. The atmosphere is immediately cool, calm and relaxing.

The four bedrooms are all located at one end of the house; the master bedroom with its own ensuite and walk in wardrobe. The ‘brickwork’ wallpaper features in two bedrooms and was something Ange saw at a girlfriend’s home and asked her if she would mind if I had it too!

There’s also a generous family bathroom, and walk-in storage which provides a space for everything, and everything in its place. It also houses the Sky box, DVD etc. so that there’s just a sensor in the lounge, which keeps everything tidy. “I’m a bit OCD,” says Ange. “I like things tidy, and it’s a very easy house to keep tidy.”

The kitchen, which overlooks the dining room and family lounge, and beyond out to the deck and garden, is health-worker Ange’s favourite part of the house. “I love cooking and anything to do with food. Having the scullery is just wonderful and it’s great to have a second fridge so handy.”

The four bar stools gathered around the end of the kitchen counter are another borrowed idea. “We used to be a family who always ate at the dining table, but we often sit here now. It feels nice and casual.” Two enormous skylights bathe the kitchen constant light.

In the living space there is easy flow between rooms. A generous corner door stands wide open, leading into the formal lounge and doors from the family lounge concertina onto Ross’s favourite spot – the deck, where he has cleverly built in an outdoor TV.

“We have a large family and we like to entertain. We wanted a family home with an open-plan, spacious feel to it; to never be cut off,” they say. This is a fantastic home to entertain in. We’ve already had a couple of good-sized gatherings here and it all just flowed nicely.”

LED lights have been installed throughout the home with feature lighting in the entranceway and above the kitchen counter. A ceiling-mounted ducted heat pump ensures the family’s year-round comfort.

“There’s still some work to be done,” they say. “We’d like a wall at one end of the deck and a pizza oven installed. There’s also landscaping to be completed including a watering system, but we’re really happy. We’ve achieved what we set out to – and more!”

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.