A new home signaled a fresh start for this positive Christchurch couple.
Like many Christchurch residents, Brent and Sue Smith were left blindsided when their family home was destroyed in the February earthquake. Losing their house and almost all their contents was devastating, but the positive couple are now excited about the brand new home they’ve built. “To be honest we’d never wanted to build before, but after the earthquake we weren’t able to spend another night in our old house,” explains Brent. “As soon as our land was zoned red, we negotiated with our insurance company and started planning what to do next.”
Unlike many families, Sue and Brent had a section they were able to build on, which was originally going to be the development site for two investment properties. They quickly changed their plans and set about finding a building company to work with, pleased that they were at least able to get started as soon as their insurance company gave them the go ahead.
After looking around at different building companies, and gathering ideas for the type of design that would suit their section, they settled on Benchmark Homes. “We actually heard about them through a friend of a friend who’d built, and she was very happy with the finish of her new home and the follow up care from Benchmark,” says Sue. “She’s a very fussy person, so we thought that if she was happy, we would be too!”.While they were open-minded about the design of their new home, there were a few non-negotiable features they wanted to include. Their previous home was built from Oamaru stone, which they sought to replicate for their new residence, and they wanted to position the house to face north. Brent and Sue “really like the large living spaces and the way they connect” on the floor plan they chose, as well as the great indoor outdoor aspect.
The large stacker doors open back to create an easy flow between the interior and external spaces, and the house was designed to ensure clever protection from the east wind. Because building a new house wasn’t something that Brent and Sue had ever really thought about before, it took some time for them to get excited about building. But once their floor plan started to take shape and they began to look at fixtures and fittings, they became very positive about the entire experience. “For me, it was when I started working with Kate at Trends Kitchens that I really got excited about the whole thing,” confesses Sue. “I decided that I wanted a red splashback, and that set the tone for the entire home.”
Sue also enjoyed bouncing around ideas for the interior with Anna at McKenzie & Willis, who assisted her with selecting colours and other fittings throughout the home. Another highlight of the overall process was the landscaping, which was installed just after construction finished. It made the property look established beyond its years, with magnolias and buxus hedging creating a formal style to match the traditional look of the Oamaru stone exterior. As a couple, Brent and Sue love to entertain, and it was leaving those types of memories behind in their old house that they found most difficult.
But less than a year after moving into their new residence, they have already created new memories, in a home that has been perfectly designed for entertaining their friends and family.