We did it, we built a lake house!

We’ve been fortunate to enjoy the summer we dreamed of having, since the idea of a shared holiday home at Lake Taupō with two families was formed.

- Words Holly Jean Brooker

We began building our joint family crib on Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 2020. Many, many weekends and annual leave days were spent at our two-acre block, with hubbies building in their ‘spare time’. We’ve sacrificed every spare cent, our headspace and energy (and our social lives and sleep!) to create a lake house for our families to enjoy for years to come.

Sean is a builder by trade, so got stuck in with his Falcon Build crew, and by Queen’s Birthday 2021 we had largely finished and moved furniture in. What a big year it was! I sometimes reflect on whether I would have gone ahead with this build, if I had known just how intense and taxing it would be.

My honest answer is ‘no’. Truthfully, if I fully knew, I wouldn’t have thought we had the capacity to add so much work to our already busy lives while navigating a pandemic. But ignorance is bliss, and while it’s taken its toll, good things don’t always come easily and I’m really proud of the hard work and sacrifice we have all put in to create this abode that we can enjoy for years to come. No regrets.

We’ve stuck to our values, designing a house that optimises passive energy from the sun, using as many sustainabl­e building products as we could, like macrocarpa for cladding and framing, opting for thicker, more insulated walls than required, double glazing, wool and linen fibres over synthetic and quartz benchtops. We’re reliant on rainwater, have large vegetable gardens planted and compost our scraps.

And we’ve achieved a modest, joint holiday home that can fit two families with our own family wings and privacy, while sharing living spaces in a beautiful, respectful, kind and fun way.

From New Year 2021/2022, we welcomed a stream of friends and family over the summer months. We spent almost six weeks at the lake house with the Falconers and many of our combined friends, who pitched tents on the lawn. Dozens of kids spent their days exploring, climbing trees, chasing rabbits and our family cat, paddleboar­ding and swimming at the lake and local river, hiking and enjoying the flying fox and go karts.

Bringing everyone together to create shared summer memories made my heart feel like it could explode. And even with almost 50 people, including 20-odd kids, staying for nearly a week over New Year, no one got a stomach bug (or Covid)!

We are often asked, how do we manage it and do we fight? Honestly, we don’t fight.

There are occasional tetchy moments, but we’re smart enough to know our triggers and get the space we need.

You’re probably curious about the budget. In typical Grand Designs style, we did blow out our costs, but not too badly. Marianne jokingly refers to us all as the “up-speccers”, as it’s always been hard to choose a cheaper option, yet we each live in do-ups back home. Needless to say, keep an eye out for a dreamy lakeside pad on AirBnB if you’re after a getaway!

We’ve loved sharing our progress with Good readers, and seeing your comments on our Instagram. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

There’s a period revolution underway. Eighty per cent of Kiwis who menstruate say it’s important to know what their period care products are made from, with 76 per cent feeling that sustainabi­lity is an important factor. Choosing your menstrual products may seem like a small decision, but, as more and more people are realising, it has a big impact.

TOM Organic, which stands for Time of Month, makes a full range of eco-conscious and sustainabl­e period care, from tampons and pads made from organic cotton to reusable menstrual cups.

The female-founded Australian brand has now made its way to New Zealand’s shores, o ering Kiwis an easy way to choose more consciousl­y when it comes to their period. TOM Organic products mean you can rest easy in the knowledge that your period products are gentle on the planet – and on your body.

TOM Organic Tampons are made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton, and are hypoallerg­enic, free from chlorine bleach and biodegrada­ble. They’re all natural and plastic-free, which makes them a great choice for your body.

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Rapidly gaining in popularity, menstrual cups can be reused for years – so it’s a great choice if you are worried about the impact your period has on the planet. The TOM Organic Cup can be worn for up to eight hours, day or night, and is made from medical-grade silicon. Its internal rib system and intuitive indents mean it is easy to insert and remove. This modern period cup also comes with a first-of-its-kind microwave steriliser case that kills 99.9% of bacteria.

Whatever your conscious period care needs, TOM Organic has you covered.

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 ?? ?? Find TOM Organic in Chemist Warehouse nationwide, or in New World and Pak’nSave stores in the North Island. @tomorganic
Find TOM Organic in Chemist Warehouse nationwide, or in New World and Pak’nSave stores in the North Island. @tomorganic

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