Easy, relaxed living is the order of the day at this Allenton home.

On a quiet street, in an area abundant with traditional red brick homes, the bright white and mono pitch roof of this home is completely incongruous – and totally unexpected. It stands out like a beacon of contemporary design and chic style. It’s a home that would not look out of place at Lake Hood, or any trendy city suburb.               

Looking at it now, gleaming on a crisp, early winter’s day, it’s hard to comprehend that this home was built ten years ago.

When owner Linda Petrie was moving from the farm into Ashburton, she knew she wanted John Bennett (J.R. Bennett Construction) to build her forever home. A builder’s daughter, she says she had some strong ideas on the type of home she wanted, and John’s builds seemed to fit that mould. “I knew homes that he had built, and I liked the quality of them,” she says.

John recommended Ray Knight, now of Bayleys Ashburton, to draw up plans. “He was rather perplexed about my insistence on a mono pitch roof, Linda laughs. “But I knew a few things.  I wanted my home to be flooded in light and to feel like I was on holiday every day – and this home does exactly that!”

For Linda, building was a chance to create a home to love, and with grandchildren living next door, a home that catered to all generations of family. “I wanted the grandchildren to be able to build forts in the living room, enjoy the courtyard and pool and also get that holiday feel.”

Linda credits Sarah of Sarah Bennett Design, with much of the décor and many special touches. “She listened, worked with my taste, and her suggestions were really inspired.”

Step inside, and natural light floods the entranceway. Special touches in the choice of layout, artwork, furniture and furnishings, give the impression of a uniquely personal space. An alcove in the entranceway was designed specially to house a beautiful grandfather clock which was purchased and shipped home from a holiday in Sorento, Italy. Nearby, is a bench seat from the Methodist Church in Eiffleton and an antique china cabinet inherited from her in-laws. “What makes it special for me, is the memories attached. They all bring a smile.”

A life-long art lover, the eclectic collection continues along a spacious hallway toward the three generous bedrooms, powder room, bathroom and laundry. “The laundry is one of my favourite rooms,” she laughs. “We spend a lot of time putting things in washers and dryers, so it needs to be a good space.”

The powder room, with elegant, embossed wallpaper and plush boudoir seat provides a touch of glamour for visitors, whilst a privacy wall screens the loo from the doorway.

An avid sewer – she especially loves making jackets and coats – the sewing room is Linda’s favourite room.  “I spend a lot of hours in here,” she smiles. Just like the laundry, this room was designed for Linda with sewing machines positioned for the light, and generous cupboard space.  

The kitchen was built for entertaining, although Linda’s busy calendar of appointments appears to have a permanent spot on the counter. Over coffee I learn that among other things she volunteers at the Ashburton Art Gallery two or three times a month, belongs to the Art Gallery committee, is a long-time Friend of the Gallery, a member of Zonta Ashburton, and a Book Club.  


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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.