In the tree­tops

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When John and Fiona bought their plot, the bot­tom sec­tion was ex­tremely over­grown. “When we first started clear­ing the area, we dis­cov­ered a wealth of trees and plants and de­cided to sub­di­vide,” Fiona ex­plains.

“But we were wor­ried that if we sold the bot­tom half of the plot, the new owner might spoil the view from the ex­ist­ing house at the top, so we de­cided to re­lo­cate there our­selves and sell the house!”

The lower sec­tion of the prop­erty, al­though beau­ti­ful, was ex­tremely un­even with a steep gra­di­ent. Most peo­ple would shy away from build­ing on such chal­leng­ing ter­rain, but not the Whit­fields.

“We showed the plot to our ar­chi­tect Dal Ven­ables who was then still a stu­dent; he was very ex­cited about its po­ten­tial and so were we!” says Fiona.

In 2015, when the time came to start build­ing, the Whit­fields went back to Dal who now had his own firm, DMV Ar­chi­tec­ture, with part­ner Neal Fisher; they agreed to take on the chal­lenge and build­ing com­menced three months later.

Build­ing the steel-frame house took just one year – one of the ben­e­fits of this method – and in May 2016 the cou­ple could move in. “We love be­ing at one with na­ture in the tree­tops; it’s a calm and re­lax­ing en­vi­ron­ment in which to live,” says Fiona.

The lounge has an un­re­stricted view of the Baak­ens Val­ley. Leather­head from Mi­das En­vi­ro­lite

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