Megan and Glen can’t believe the difference their brand new home in Warkworth has made to their finances and to their lifestyle. Building new with Sentinel Homes was “fun”, says Megan and meant their new home perfectly suited them as a family from day one.
When Megan and her husband Glen first moved into their previous home in Howick they thought it was the perfect place to raise a family – until they had a family, that is. As Megan explains, the house’s layout made it impractical for young children.
“It didn’t have any indoor-outdoor flow. I couldn’t leave my young daughter in the backyard by herself, so we’d have to prep to make a journey! I’d pretty much have to pack everything up in the kitchen first, so at that point, you think you might has well just go to the playground.”
When baby number two was on the way, the family realised their backyard would be almost entirely cut off.
“To access the backyard you had to walk through what would be the new baby’s room.”
A sloped section made the land harder to navigate for unsteady little feet, and the location meant a very, very long commute for Glen.
“Glen was working on the Shore, so for him to travel from Howick it would sometimes take him as long as three hours, one way. A six-hour round trip – that just wasn’t working.”
Megan says she and Glen got to the point where if they were going to stay, they’d have to change the layout of the house. This would come at so high a cost, that moving seemed the smarter option.
The family started looking at existing homes they could renovate but quickly realised they could build for similar cost – and have exactly the right layout.
After they met Brent Gilchrist, franchise owner of Sentinel Homes Warkworth/Matakana, Megan and Glen knew they’d found the right builder.
“You could tell he wasn’t going to cut corners, that everything would be about quality. He wanted to do everything for you.”
Megan says she expected the build to be stressful, but was pleasantly surprised. Even though the family lived over an hour’s drive away, she says Brent kept them up to date, and made sure they were onsite for key points.
“We have friends who are building, and they’re like, ‘Oh it’s so stressful’, or complain, ‘I can’t believe they didn’t do this or that.’ Our experience wasn’t like that at all. We found it really fun.”
That, she says, was down to Brent’s proactive approach.
“He didn’t come to us with problems. He’d come to us with solutions and heaps of cool ideas we wouldn’t have thought about. It was a positive experience.”
It was Brent’s integrity that impressed Megan and Glen too.
“He wanted to build what we wanted, and he wanted the best out of the property for us. He wasn’t in it to make money on us and do the quick way round.”
Sadly Brent passed away recently, leaving behind his wife Ursula and children. Brent leaves behind a legacy of integrity, passion and good will – something Ursula and her team are committed to as they continue to manage Sentinel Homes Warkworth/Matakana.
Megan says they enjoyed the design flexibility that Sentinel offered and liked how collaborative the process felt. “We made a few changes during the design phase, and it just was not a problem. We weren’t having to compromise. It can be such a big deal for other companies to make changes. We had input in every area, and every person we dealt with had good ideas and took our ideas as well. It meant the house really felt like it was ours.”
The dynamics of the family can be hugely affected by the design and location of their home. Megan enthusiastically agrees, and points to her own experience as to spending family time together.
“It’s easier to have that family time”, says Megan
“The kids can just run in and out. They’re safe and secure and I can see them everywhere from the kitchen.”
Even the dog’s life has improved. She’s “more part of the family now” – instead of being marooned in an unused backyard, the kids are out there playing with her every day.
The shift has also been great for the couple’s financial position – they reduced their mortgage, and now live in a brand new, well-insulated home that costs very little to heat.
The family love their new home and Megan says their lifestyle has been flipped on its head because of it. She says she would – and already has – recommend that people build a new home with Sentinel.
“It’s just made a huge difference to us. The house is perfect.”
Are you ready for a home that really works for your family?
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