words & images: Judy McAuliffe

Malcolm Tarbotton is looking forward to summer, when he can host social gatherings in his new Cawton Grove home.  He’s only been here two months so there are still a few finishing touches to be completed, but he was happy to share his home with Spirit Magazine.

Malcolm has a special connection to his new home – this land was once the Tarbotton family farm, established by his grandfather Thomas Tarbotton. Malcolm was born just down the road, he farmed here for a while before deciding that, with Tinwald growing ever closer and the zoning changed several years previously, the time had come to subdivide and develop Cawton Grove.

By the time the frame for Malcolm’s house went up in May last year there were already four new homes completed with families settled in. When he moved in earlier this year, another five had been completed. “I wasn’t in a rush,” he smiles.

When you first step into the very stylish entranceway, you know this home and its décor, have been well thought through.  Malcolm credits Sarah Bennett of Sarah Bennet Design with having the vision to help him create this oasis.

“Sarah was great. She really clicked into my personality and what I wanted. Carpets, wallpapers, curtains, lighting and decor – she just knew what would work and brought it all together.  I couldn’t have done it without her,” he says.

While the overall colours are soft and neutral, feature wallpapers and lighting, and pops of colour add a delightful touch of personality. A mix of hard and soft flooring is both practical and comfortable and adds texture to the overall feel of the home.

Moving through, high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows create a light, airy home with a lovely flow.

Underfloor heating in the entranceway, hallway and bathrooms, and carefully placed heat pumps ensure a constant temperature day and night, lights turn on and off automatically as you move from room to room – this is a home built for easy, relaxed living.

Down the hallway are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an office, each with its own individual features. Malcolm points out the shower door in the main bathroom which opens either in or out, so you don’t get water dripping on the bathroom floor and causing a hazard. It’s one of many small touches he’s very happy with.  

Sun streams into the spacious living-dining-kitchen. It’s one of Malcolm’s favourite places.  “Even on a cold day this is a lovely warm spot,” he says. “I can stretch out, put my feet up (on his super-sonic electronic couches) and just enjoy being here.” On a clear day, he has beautiful views of the mountains to enjoy. There’s a real sense of flow from one space to the next, out onto the deck and into the garden.

The kitchen is another favourite place with its eye-catching tile splashback, butler’s pantry, induction stovetop, steam oven, and Schwan instant hot filtered water. “Everything is easy. It’s all touch-of-a-button and easy to use.”

Built in Linear weatherboard by Dave Mulgrew Builders, Malcolm’s home sits on a 780sq metre corner plot, and is one of the ‘babies’ in Cawton Grove, with a number of neighbouring homes on 1000 squares and larger. “It’s a family neighbourhood, and families often have toys to accommodate.  This is more my size – small enough to be easy-care, but big enough to not feel cramped.”

“Even though we’re on the edge of town, it feels a bit removed, a bit rural. It’s a great community that’s developing here.”

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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.