When self-described ‘town boy’ David Grigor decided it was time to move to the country to be closer to his business, he and his wife Donna knew exactly what they wanted out of a new home.
While many people move away from the city to retreat from work and city life, for David commuting between his Drury based business and his home in Kohimarama had become too time consuming. When he found a stunning five acre site in Ramarama, set on rolling hills with commanding views across Ramarama and Bombay, he knew he had found the perfect spot to build his new home.
“My daily commute was anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, each way, each day,” says David. “Having worked in Drury for many years, I knew the area well. The tremendous views and great privacy offered by the section were very appealing. We decided it was time to do it.” As the Golden Homes franchise owner for Drury for the past 15 years, David of course chose to build a Golden Home on his new site. All his experience and knowledge from building hundreds of homes in the area was brought to the new property.
“The site deserved an impressive house and we wanted to build a family home that was spacious, but felt connected and comfortable inside,” says David. “Like many Golden Homes customers, we developed our own plans and we then took them to the in-house Golden Homes design team. What was eventually built reflected our own thinking about what makes a great family home.”
Before building could begin, the first challenge was to put in a driveway. To enable contractor access to the top of the site where the house was to be built, a 270m metal driveway was built up the steep hill to the house. The driveway tested many contractors through the building process, not least the crane that was required to bring in the trusses for the home.
At 541m2 David and Donna’s home is large and impressive but well integrated within the five acre site it sits on. It has a striking 35 degree pitch on the roof, an over height stud throughout and is finished in plaster.
The house is comprised of five bedrooms including a master bedroom complete with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, a guest room with ensuite, three further bedrooms, a study, family bathroom and an additional guest toilet. It has a substantial connected living space that flows from kitchen, through family living and dining into a further large lounge. All living areas are flanked by external patios which lead directly onto external paths and decking which in turn, lead onto the pool and surrounding gardens. Visitors are welcomed into the house through an imposing 5.5m stud that is classically styled and which draws guests straight into the heart of the expansive living and entertaining area.
“Many people are surprised when we tell them this is a Golden Home,” says David, “but I wonder why people build any other way. The pricing, quality and construction of Golden Homes are hard to beat. And while I know you would expect me to say that, our own experience of building the Golden Homes way reaffirms my very strong belief in the model.”
David and Donna’s choice to build their house with steel framing rather than traditional timber framing also gets a reaction from people. “About four years ago, Golden Homes started to explore alternatives to timber framing for residential building,” explains David. “We now recommend ZOG® Steel Framing on all new homes. The great advantage of using steel framing over timber framing in a home is that steel doesn’t shrink, twist, warp,rust, or rot and it doesn’t require any chemical treatment.“
“Initially people are resistant to he concept of steel framing, and I understand that. It is not something New Zealanders are used to as a method for residential construction. But when they start to look at the facts and understand the benefits, they quickly come around to the idea and we have seen a significant uptake in steel framing in the past couple of years.”
“The very strong performance of steel framing in homes in Christchurch through the earthquakes has further endorsed the benefits of using steel. I wish we had started building in steel frames 15 years ago. You get no recall on cracked ceilings with steel framing! ”
Some of the other great advantages of using steel framing is it is lightweight and doesn’t require low moisture levels for building so construction can continue in all kinds of weather. The use of steel framing meant that David and Donna had no concerns with using external plaster cladding on the house, a look they both really liked. The steel framing removed any potential issues from either moisture caused by timber in the wall cavities or cracking due movement in timber framing. They feel they have total peace of mind.
Within their home, David and Donna have included various elements to maximise the heating efficiency. They use solar power for all water heating and used floor tiles extensively throughout which retain heat and help keep the house warm. For David there are many satisfying aspects to the finished property.
“We love the location. We really appreciate the tranquil views and the great privacy we enjoy. The way the house has been designed means we are fortunate to have all the space we need as a family with two growing children, but we are never feeling separated by that space. It doesn’t feel like living in a big house.”
FRAMING: ZOG® Steel Framing
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Golden Homes