The Block builder Josh Shanley’s stunning Oakura home
A man who built his own home while simultaneously working on The Block knows a thing or two about new-builds. Josh Shanley invites us into his beautiful Oakura home and shares some hard-won advice
You might recognise Josh Shanley from last year’s The Block NZ. Josh joined
Cat Glass and Jeremy Hill’s team in week five of the series. What was meant to be one week turned into six.
“It was a bit foreign at first, to be working with cameras all around, but once I got stuck in and knew how much there was to achieve, I soon forgot about them,” he says.
Josh got the call-up to The Block when he was halfway through building his own home in the coastal community of Oakura, 12km out of New Plymouth. Josh would spend the weekdays on set in Auckland, then return home to his family at weekends to work on his own project. That’s an awful lot of time behind a nail gun, but Josh says he’s always enjoyed a challenge and operating to tight deadlines, so the unique pressures of working both on and off The Block suited his focused work style.
“When Josh and the boys from Taranaki turned up on The Block it was as if a burst of fresh energy hit the site,” recalls Jeremy. “Cat and I genuinely had a great time on the show, but having Josh join us was a massive part of why our experience was so enjoyable. We came away from it really motivated and realised that with a bit of hard effort and creating a good team around you, great things are possible.”
Josh and his wife, Emily, had sold their previous home and had a particular Oakura section in mind to build their new home on. They had concept drawings done for the site, but nothing seemed to be going to plan, and the neighbours weren’t playing ball, either. Eventually the pair decided to shelve the idea (luckily, the purchase hadn’t yet gone through).
“At the time, this felt like a big deal, but now we look back and see it was the best thing that could have happened,” says Josh. A local agent told the couple about another section and in mid 2014 they put in an offer before the listing went to market, and the plot became theirs. “Now we are here, we sometimes have to pinch ourselves,” explains Emily. “With the beach so close, the beautiful mountain and bush views, it truly does help us to de-stress and relax after a busy day at work.”
The bare section was mostly flat, but the tail end sloped towards the neighbouring reserve. It wasn’t immediately obvious to the couple how they would configure the room layout, but the site had a beautiful bush outlook which also helped shelter it from offshore winds.
As with most builds, unexpected situations arose. “Once the earthworks got under way, it revealed there was more sand than we’d expected, so it made sense to dig it all out,” says Josh.
This worked in their favour as it meant they could then locate the double garage below the living area, thereby decreasing the building’s footprint on the land.
Josh and Emily designed most of the layout themselves, with the help of architectural designer Paul Russell. “Paul was very obliging when it came to changing things around and did all the hard work to get everything submitted to council. We had numerous floor plans before the final one was confirmed,” says Josh. “We also had to make changes to satisfy council requirements for daylight angles next to a reserve. At the time, it felt like a real setback, but in hindsight it meant our design ended up being a much better fit for the section.”
KITCHEN/LIVING Large windows were deliberately chosen in the open plan living/ dining/kitchen to frame the beautiful lush green outlook. Timber accents complement the outdoor greenery creating a tranquil, fresh and uncluttered interior.
MEET + GREET Josh Shanley, 34, (builder & event manager), Emily Shanley, 31, (accountant & event manager), Olive, 6, Lote, 5, and Duke, 2, plus Tahi the Lowchen-poodle.