When James and Jo McCloy set out to build their forever family home, knowing what they wanted was simple – they wanted an exact replica of their former Braebrook home, but on a bigger piece of land!

We really loved that home.” Jo laughs. “We bought it when there was just two of us. We were a bit surprised when Ryan came along, but we all fitted in OK in the beginning. Then when he was two years old, we were watching him run around in the backyard kicking a ball, and we both had the same ‘aha’ moment. We just looked at each other said, “he’s not a town boy. He needs space to run around in.”  

The couple then set about finding a new home with that important extra land, close to town. “We looked to buy an existing property in the beginning,” James says, “but in the end we realised we could build new for very close to the same price as we could buy.” They found the one-hectare property on Wakanui Road, sold their home in Braebrook, bundled their lives into a container and moved into a two-bedroom rental in Allenton.

Next step was to engage Shaun Hurley of Trident Homes for the build. “What impressed us about Shaun was that whenever he said something was happening, it happened. He was always available and always very professional, we really felt valued. Not just Shaun, but all the ‘subbies’ who worked on it went above and beyond,” they say. “We actually moved in two weeks ahead of schedule. How often does that happen?”

The family moved in to their 279sqm home in September last year, just 15 weeks after work began.  “We stuck to a pretty strict budget, but we did allow ourselves a few blowouts,” they say. The plan was to recreate their previous home, with an extra two metres added. That additional space allowed for a generous butler’s pantry, and more roominess throughout, but they also added extra internet cabling so Jo could move her business home, an instant hot water system in the kitchen and an inbuilt cabinet in the dining room.

Jo trawled Pinterest and collated a scrapbook of interior design ideas she loved, which she says made it easy to then recognise their own style.

Step inside and you’re immediately drawn to the fabulous botanical wallpaper which features in the entranceway and dining room. “One of the smartest things we did was to talk to Jo Skilling at ColourPlus. We knew she had a talent for creating special places, and she absolutely delivered. We would most likely have chosen more conservative, crowd-pleasing wallpaper that would enhance resale, but thanks to Jo, we decided that we were going to be here for a long time, and she gave us the confidence to do something a bit different – to choose what suited our tastes.”  

Unlike most homes, there is no hallway. All three bedrooms, office and family bathroom sit off a rectangular-shaped central point. 

DETAILS: BUILDER – Trident Homes EXCAVATION – MEC ELECTRICIAN – Get Wired PLUMBING – Roddick Plumbing CONCRETING – PaveCo ROOFING – Ashburton Long Run GIB STOPPING – Andrew McKnight Plastering PAINTING – Banksy Painting & Decorating HEATING – Stewart & Holland FLOORING – Skip2It FASCIA & GUTTERING – Alps Continuous FRAMING – Placemakers BRICKLAYING – Beam’s Bricklaying TILING – Essential Tiling.      

The kitchen is central to the main living area and is Jo’s favourite place in the house.  “I can look out the window and I have this glorious view of the Southern Alps. It feels so relaxing.”  James says that the main living area is where they spend most of their time. “Even when we have friends or family here, we often sit around the dining table, its so comfortable.

Choosing furniture was not a problem – they simply moved the furniture from their old home in. “It worked in that house, so it had to work in this one,” Jo laughs.

A key feature for the family is the ducted heat system. “It’s so much gentler than air conditioning. You don’t have any spot in the house that’s blasting heat out, it’s just even and consistent anytime of the day. You wake up in the morning and have no idea whether its two degrees, 10 degrees or minus 2 degrees outside, it’s so comfortable, and there’s no condensation,” says James.

For Jo, who loves gardening, she’s looking forward to working on the landscaping. “We had a professional plan drawn up and it’s given us a sense of the future and what it’s going to look like, so even though we’re still in the middle of a paddock, we’re looking forward to having that completed and so we’ll have this wonderful space of rural living on the edge of town. It feels very exciting.”

James’s sizeable shed (his favourite place), is nearly completed, and outdoor walls for windbreaks are next on the list.. “It was a great idea to move in and then to add those final things because you really discover what you need,” they say.

Things they couldn’t live without?  “The instant hot water. Just one faucet does your hot, cold and instant hot water. Mum reckons it makes the best cup of tea.”  

Best design tip?  “Look at all the colour swatches for the various elements together as a combination and after trying a few different options, you’ll soon start to see which you really like working together.

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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.