ASK THE BUILDER:

Paul Hawthorn of Build­ing El­e­ments

Homestyle New Zealand - - HOMES - So, Paul, what was it like hav­ing your wife as a client? What ad­vice do you have for those con­sid­er­ing a ren­o­va­tion?

Thank­fully, Re­becca and I have very sim­i­lar taste. We learned from our last ren­o­va­tion that bounc­ing ideas off each other chal­lenges us to come up with bet­ter so­lu­tions; the out­come is al­ways more com­plete than the re­sult we would have achieved alone. Re­becca has a de­gree in in­te­rior de­sign and is ex­posed to lots of de­sign ideas in her job in fash­ion, and I deal with spa­tial so­lu­tions all day as a builder. To­gether that’s a re­ally com­ple­men­tary skill set.

Take the time to find the right team. It’s re­ally im­por­tant that you have a great re­la­tion­ship with your ar­chi­tect and builder. You need to trust them com­pletely, be­cause their ad­vice will guide you through one of the most sig­nif­i­cant spends you’ll ever make.

The other great thing we did, which I’d highly rec­om­mend, is es­tab­lish our hedges and gar­dens while we pre­pared other as­pects of the project. Once we had the foot­print of the build­ing worked out, we got plant­ing ad­vice from a land­scape de­signer, so while we com­pleted the finer details of the project and worked through bud­gets and con­sents, we were able to make the rel­a­tively low-cost in­vest­ment of buy­ing plants and spend our week­ends in the gar­den. This meant the hedges were rea­son­ably well-es­tab­lished when it came time to en­joy our out­door spa­ces. Our ar­chi­tect used to laugh when he came on site be­cause it seemed as if we were work­ing from the out­side of the prop­erty in, in­stead of the more typ­i­cal method of build­ing first and land­scap­ing last.

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