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House Motivation Q&A with Bruce and Jenni Calderwood of Mt Maunganui
5 August 2015

Meet our fabulous clients
Bruce & Jenni

It Was All About the Boat!

Bruce and Jenni crossed more than one bridge when they sold their family home of 30 years in Tauranga to retire at Mt Maunganui.

Initially, Jenni wasn’t particularly fussed about living at the Mount, but she wouldn’t have it any other way now. The couple hadn’t planned to build either. Buying wasn’t their original focus, but they couldn’t find anything suitable. It was all about the boat. An aspect Bruce was eager to show when we caught up with the couple to learn about their change of heart; why they chose Harwood Homes and how they found the experience - particularly as it was a first for them.

In these Q & A, Bruce and Jenni share their journey, offer some tips they discovered and relate how much they enjoy their new home and life at the Mount.

HH:
Bruce and Jenni, if you hadn’t considered building initially, what changed your mind? 

Bruce:

I had always wanted to live at the Mount. We’d spent 30 years in the same house. It was a big site, lots of work and we had outgrown it. When we finally got a sale, we rented an apartment across from the beach and tried to buy, but couldn’t find anything suitable. It was all about the boat.   Also, looking at homes 10 to 15 years old, we finally came around.

Jenni:

With two cars and a boat, it was a case of getting the right fit of property. Living by the beach we found lots of places to walk and people were always dropping in. We realised how quiet Muricata Avenue was and after a while I thought it would be lovely to build new.

HH:
Having bought a section there then, how did you discover Harwood Homes?

Bruce:

Talking with people, Harwood’s name kept coming up, so we had a look at a showhome. A friend advised us to look at another (builder) and we went right through to two draft plans; then narrowed it down. We had bought a property with an old house that needed removing. The site also limited the size we could build. We had photos and ideas, but sitting with Dave and Robyn at Tay Street cafe was good. Dave sat and listened and sketched. Robyn furiously took notes.

Jenni:

Dave and Robyn work well together.  They complement each other.

HH:
So, having paid for a couple of draft plans, why did you prefer Harwood Homes?

Bruce:

We were in Wanaka, skiing, when the package arrived. As soon as I saw that specification book, I knew.  It had a price. Then it had optional extras like a lift, LED lighting, timers and dimmers. There were kitchen choices. It was so complete.

Jenni:

It was amazing. The book had everything in it. We knew exactly what wewere going to have, what we could have, and for how much.

Being an accountant, I appreciate detail. I still look through that book and all the notes I made. I love it.

HH:
What was your motivation to build this style of home?

Bruce:

We got advice about living upstairs and I wanted that to be as high up as possible. We managed to get three metres to the floor. The length of the garage had to be a certain size and height to fit the boat. We wanted to build to the sun as well with the garage on the southern side.

Jenni:

I wanted a casual beach style home and something easy to live in. Initially we thought about living being downstairs, but this is so much better.

HH:
In terms of building, were there any misconceptions you found not to be the case?

Bruce:

With that book, I knew exactly what I was going to pay. Trevor (project manager) was great. The best thing was that he always rang back. I was probably a nuisance turning up all the time.  But the trade guys were great, so courteous and polite. If I saw something wasn’t going to work, they’d change it.

Jenni:

Not getting it wrong. Bruce did so much. For me it was about size and fitting things in. I was able to draw templates with furniture. Robyn was great and Gael (interior design) was wonderful.  She suggested so many things. I had ideas, but Gael put it all together.

HH:
What did you enjoy most about building?

Bruce:

The book was the best part. The ‘critical path’, having everything ticked off and being involved.  I’m semi-retired, so I had the time to spend here and was made welcome. 

Jenni:

Having it completed as we wanted. It was a good experience for someone who hadn’t intended to build.

HH:
And the favourite things in your new home are?

Bruce:

I love my office (hidden behind doors in the kitchen), I still do some work and I didn’t want to be off in another room.

NB:

Bruce also loves the way their prized boat fits so precisely into a tandem section of the garage, while still taking two big cars in front. The 2.7m stud allowed his desire for a 3m height to the floor level above, as well as a 2.55m stud upstairs to enhance living space.

Jenni:

I love having a laundry chute. I love the warmth of the house and the way it sets to the sun. And while I wanted a white kitchen and all white in the bathroom, Gael advised the woodgrain features, which are perfect.  It’s an easy house to live in.

We have an apartment on our own site - no corporate fees. It’s the size. Not big, but economical use of space everywhere. There is no area we don’t use

HH:
Did you enjoy the process?

Bruce:

Definitely.  Having got advice about living upstairs and storage, we achieved everything we wanted, especially given the constraints of the site.  I got the boat in, I have my spa.

Jenni:

Yes, It was completed exactly how we wanted.  Initially the bedroom entry was different, but we changed it to come straight into the living area. Having Gael putting everything together was good too.

HH:
Any ‘words of wisdom’ or tips to others contemplating building?

Jenni:

Go see Harwood. Do your homework. Think about things like your ensuite.  Make it a decent bathroom, with a bath. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It made the difference with little things like demisters on the mirror doors of vanity cabinets. Measure things, draw templates of furniture to see how it fits. Take advice on colours too. 

Bruce:

That book!  Having all those optional extras.  You know what you are going to pay and that’s what you will pay. Enjoy being involved and make any small changes during building, the moment you see something’s not going to work for you.  And, If you can afford to put in those extras, do it. Our biggest change was the electrician. I’m glad we put LEDs throughout now, and a few more timers and dimmers.