The Kurigers had been living and working in London when they decided it was time for a move back home. While Andrew had been working in an engineering company, his background – and passion – is in residential building and design.
Andrew has 23 years of industry experience as a designer and project manager. He cut his teeth working for some of the best architects in New Plymouth before a season with his own design firm, and as a project manager both in London and in New Zealand. The couple also knows what it’s like to be the client, having built three houses themselves.
That’s when the idea of opening the Taranaki branch of Sentinel Homes came up. Andrew says Sentinel Home’s end-to-end service would give him the chance to add value at every stage of construction.
“The way Sentinel Homes operates felt exciting. We could take people from concept right through to seeing them move into their house,” explains Julia.
That approach has been paying off. Despite obvious challenges from COVID-19, the team has been growing both in size and reputation.
“We’re working on eight houses at the moment – we built five last year, and I feel like we’re only just hitting our stride,” says Andrew. “There’s been a shift recently – instead of convincing prospects to build with us, people are approaching us.”
Andrew credits that to both their stunning new show home and the recent win at the Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards.
Careful attention to quality and thoughtful design led to an “extremely pleasant surprise” for the couple. One of their homes, built in Stratford, won Gold in its category at the Registered Master Builders House of the Year. It was also named as one of the top 100 homes in the country – one of three homes across the Sentinel Homes NZ group that achieved this prestigious accolade.
“I love the fact that it’s not a house we were initially planning on entering into the awards — it was just well designed and beautifully executed,” says Andrew.
Andrew says it comes from thinking about the spaces and how a family will use them – and knowing where to invest.
“Everyone wants good value for money but then make the mistake of going bigger at the expense of quality. I try to help people strike that balance.”
Julia says their new show home is something she’s most proud of.
“Our goal was to give people a chance to see and touch what we were promising – they could feel it and see how it works,” says Julia.
The pavilion-style home is generous, stylish and functional. The stark black exterior is contrasted by the light-flooded interior from vaulted ceilings and skylights.
But the show home wasn’t a chance for Andrew to let his design fancy run wild.
“We wanted to stay within a reasonable market for Taranaki, so people could see what was possible within a budget, while still keeping a few little aspirational touches,” he says.
The couple wanted to create that amazing feeling people get when they walk into a beautiful home – and based on the feedback, you could say they achieved that goal.
“We're getting such positive feedback whenever people visit. People want us to build them a home just like this one; they love it so much!” says Julia.
Taranaki’s success is very much a team effort. The franchise has two crews of builders working for them, and Lew, their brand new project manager, will soon be overseeing everything. Andrew takes charge of the design, or “the creative genius” as Julia, puts it, while Julia manages accounts, staffing and marketing.
Managing the show home is the company’s New Home Consultant, Kirsty, who guides clients through the initial planning stages of their home build.
“It’s honestly an incredible team,” says Julia. “The successes we’ve had over the past year – with the award win and the show home – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
If you’re planning a new build in Taranaki, put Julia and Andrew on your consideration list – get in touch here
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