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Rugged beauty built to order in Akatarawa

Stephanie and Campbell share their home-build story

Perched on an outcrop overlooking the Akatarawa Valley is Stephanie and Campbell’s dream home, built by the team at Sentinel Homes Wellington and Kapiti.

Their journey began after Stephanie’s mum passed away just a year after moving into her new build – it was a wake-up call to seize the day.

“She’d spent all that time wanting it. We thought, ‘Let’s just bite the bullet and do things now, while we’re young enough to enjoy it!’”

They had no intention to build, but when they started looking at homes in the area, they couldn’t find anything that suited them perfectly – and they were floored by the prices. Then they happened upon what would become their section – an extremely windy spot, but with enough beauty to make it worthwhile.

“That was it,” says Stephanie. “You look at the valley and over to Upper Hutt. You can hear the river running. It’s magic. We fell in love and had to make it happen.”

Sentinel Homes a no-brainer

After working with a draftsperson to sketch out their perfect home, they set out to find the perfect builder. Sentinel Homes was on their shortlist – and quickly made it to the top.

“We went out to tender and the difference in experience was incredible. From Sentinel we received a folder with a 30-40-page quote. We were lucky if we had three pages from the other build companies,” says Stephanie.

“Based on Sentinel’s quote, we could see that the cheaper companies just hadn’t included some items, so we’d be up for future costs.

“Sentinel was the only build company that came to our section, too. It was a no-brainer.”

Finessing the plans

With their builder on board, Stephanie and Campbell had help tweaking their plans to better fit their budget, while still keeping the integrity of their vision. For example, instead of an outdoor room with a louvred roof, Managing Director Hayden Rau suggested shifting the position of the lounge.

“And thank goodness we did! That outdoor room would have been so impractical in this environment.”

Streamlined project management

With four beloved dogs in the family, the couple needed the landscaping completed alongside the build, so it was safe for them all to move in.

That, she says, posed some challenges, but the Sentinel Homes team’s oversight kept things ticking along.

“Hayden has been fantastic throughout the journey,” says Stephanie.

Little details on how the job was managed made the process even more special. The couple was on site a lot during the build, but in the last couple of weeks, the team asked Stephanie and Campbell to stay away.

“They wanted us to get the wow factor. I can’t express how beautiful it was. We came through with it all finished and the whole team was here to celebrate. We couldn’t believe how blessed we were.”

Some sticky moments

Of course, no build is without its challenges, but 2020 threw a few more than ordinary. There were days that the work had to stop because of high winds, and of course, the COVID-19 lockdown meant everything ground to a halt for four weeks.

Perhaps even more unexpected was the very large swarm of bees that kept the team off-site for a period. With the help of a beekeeper, they cleared the buzzers out and got back to work.

No cookie-cutter home

With a new build, the couple knew they’d be able to have everything on their detailed wish list. Sentinel Homes rolled with the couple’s requests, staying flexible with changes as they went.

“It’s great knowing you don’t have that cookie-cutter home,” says Stephanie. “Sentinel worked with us and our interior designers too, and allowed us to up-spec when we wanted.”

A showstopper with phenomenal quality

The couple expected to have to keep a close eye on finishing and build quality, but quickly saw they had nothing to worry about. Every element was crafted with serious attention to detail – and it shows in the final build, says Stephanie.

“The quality of the finish is phenomenal – we’ve got a really solid home. We had built in an extreme wind zone, and it’s really holding up. It’s definitely a showstopper.”

If you’d like to speak with one of the team at Sentinel Homes Wellington/Kapiti about building your new home get in touch today.

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