Quality and Design

Escaping the city

From the colour scheme to the light fittings, planning your new home’s interior design can be complex. Find out how Landmark Homes simplified the process – and delivered outstanding results – for Auckland couple John and Ali Hackett.

Like many others over the recent lockdowns, Aucklanders John and Ali Hackett came to the realisation that living in the city was no longer where they wanted to be. They’re now enjoying a brand-new home with a relaxed country lifestyle in Whitford – close enough to the city for convenience, but free from the hectic pace of the city.

It was while out on a country drive that retired couple John and Ali both came to the realisation that their Auckland city apartment was no longer a good fit for the lifestyle they wanted. “Our kids are living overseas, we’re retired, and there was really no need for us to be right in the city any longer,” says John.

Having built two homes in the past, the couple decided they had one more build left in them, and set about finding the perfect site, and the perfect build team.

After visiting Landmark Home’s Whitianga and Ōmokoroa Showhomes and seeing the level of quality and design talent on offer, the Hacketts decided that Landmark was the right fit for them. “We also had a friend who used Landmark to build his home in Omaha and spoke very highly of the experience,” says John. “So we felt pretty confident about taking the next step”.

Having found the perfect 800m² section in Whitford that already had plans drawn up by Landmark for the previous owners, the Hacketts sat down with the Landmark team to personalise the plans to suit. “There were a few things we wanted to change such as the exterior cladding and making the kitchen bigger,” says Ali. “But it was a really easy process that didn’t take long at all.”

Embracing the great outdoors

Built in a pavilion style with one side as single level and the other double, the Hacketts wanted their new 290m² home to make the most of the home’s rural aspect with a fantastic indoor-outdoor flow. Three ranch sliders flow from the living areas to the outdoors which is north facing with views of Turanga Creek and the surrounding bush. “It’s just beautiful,” says John “You feel like you’re a world away from everything.”

With a louvred roof system and built-in schist barbecue and outdoor fire, the couple are well set up to entertain guests and family. “I love the outdoor area,” says Ali. “We’ve also added a private recessed spa pool with architectural screening and an outdoor shower.”

John & Ali ’s favourite features

The couple added a few ‘wow factor’ features to their home including a natural oak wine cabinet, designed by John, that stands three metres wide and ceiling high. The cabinet was built inside the ‘TV room’ which has been finished in dark blue tones to create a relaxed but sophisticated setting. “It’s the most stunning room – and very snug,” says John. “It’s where we spend a fair bit of time in the evenings – not just because of the wine cabinet though!”

Upstairs, the master suite is another favourite room for both John and Ali. “I absolutely love the colour scheme that Helen helped create – she did a fabulous job,” says Ali. The suite includes a large walk-in wardrobe and a fully tiled ensuite with a doorless shower featuring glass panelling and a twin vanity with LED halo lighting.

Upstairs, the master suite is another favourite room for both John and Ali. “I absolutely love the colour scheme that Helen helped create – she did a fabulous job,” says Ali. The suite includes a large walk-in wardrobe and a fully tiled ensuite with a doorless shower featuring glass panelling and a twin vanity with LED halo lighting.

“We originally planned to have our master suite on the lower level, but with the upper-level view being so fantastic, it soon became obvious that it was the better option,” says Ali. And for guests, a second equally beautiful suite has been provided on the lower level. It was also important for the couple to each have their own office – one upstairs, one down, along with a large double garage with a workshop.

John worked closely with the design team to create a kitchen that would cater to his love of cooking. “We have a large scullery which is great from a practical perspective,” he says. A sloping gable ceiling featuring architectural batten detailing adds to the sense of spaciousness. And in the living area floating shelves with recessed LED lights sit either side of a gas fire to create a warm and practical focal point.

Another great feature of the home that offers both a practical and aesthetic benefit, is the use of lower-level tread lighting with sensors – ideal for guiding the way during the night, without having to switch on bright lights.

Simplifying the design process

The Hacketts worked with Landmark Homes South East Auckland interior designer, Helen to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in their new home.

“Helen was just great,” says Ali. “From guiding us on the Forte timber flooring throughout the entrance and living areas to helping choose the fabric for the sofas, she took a lot of the stress out of what can be quite a complex process. By providing us with a well thought out selection of samples, it was really easy to choose exactly what we wanted without feeling overwhelmed by too much choice.”

Helen also helped the couple organise to have their handblown glass light pendants as a feature in both the entranceway and the kitchen. “We really love our light fittings, and their placement adds a beautiful focal point to those areas of the house,” says Ali.

Managing the build budget

Cost is always a key factor for anyone considering a home build. “We gave the Landmark team our budget, and the plans came in very close to that number,” says Ali.

“Everything was priced out right from the beginning. Having a fixed price contract mean that we knew we’d stay within budget and that there would be no major unexpected costs,” says John.

So, would they recommend Landmark Homes to others?

John and Ali both agree that building with Landmark Homes Auckland - South and Franklin has been an unforgettable experience. “Michael and Colleen were extremely good to work with, as were every other member of their team – from their builders and subcontractors to their kitchen people, designers… everyone,” says Ali.

“When you consider that our build took place over lockdown, it’s even more impressive,” says John. “Landmark had a great set of protocols around who could be on the site and when, and at the end of the build, it was only one month out from the original deadline.”

Having sold their Auckland apartment, the couple were living in Coromandel during the construction of their new home. And with Covid travel restrictions making it difficult to be onsite, regular weekly updates from the Landmark team kept them fully informed and ensured they remained engaged in the build process. “They always made it feel like nothing was too much trouble. If we wanted to make a change or variation, Colleen would come back to us immediately with costs and options,” says Ali.

The Hacketts were also impressed to find that Landmark’s service doesn’t stop once the keys are handed over. “Our project manager stays with us for 12 months after the build which we really appreciated,” says John. “Because of course there are always little teething issues like the technology that we’re not familiar with, or the water tanks that we haven’t used before. He’s put up with every question that we’ve asked and comes to show us whatever we need to know, so that support is there through the whole way through.”

The couple say that looking back on the build, there’s nothing they would have done differently. “If you’re after a long-term investment, then definitely go with Landmark,” says John.

Ready to build your dream home?

If the Hackett’s beautiful new country home has given you inspiration for your own rural retreat, we can help make it happen. Landmark Homes can help you create a home that fits your lifestyle – right down to the light pendants and wine cabinet. 

The team who made this dream come true
Auckland - South & Franklin

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