Kylie Harcourt wanted to buy a house in central Hamilton, but when browsing realestate.co.nz accidently used the search term ‘Waikato’. The search results produced what was to become Kylie’s rural retreat: a little dot on the edge of the water on Aotea Harbour, 55 minutes from Hamilton, surrounded by 23 acres of wild bush. “We went and looked at the land, loved it and bought it,” says Kylie. “Then we had to figure out what to put on it.”
Kylie met Nathan Alley, managing director of Sentinel Homes, through her strategic marketing business, HGB and they started discussing plans.
“I’m creative and I’m a designer so I didn’t want something from a plan,” says Kylie. “Nathan understood where I was coming from and worked with that from the start.
“We explored Trade Me for relocatable shipping containers and looked at the cheapest option. Then we found one for $80,000 and it got me wondering what we could do a relocatable house for."
To accommodate Kylie’s vision for the property, a relocatable house was going to come at a cost of around $250,000, but there were other factors to be taken into consideration too. The 23 acres of wild bush had no sewage or power connections.
“I asked Nathan if we could build instead. He came back with a cost-effective plan for an 86-square metre house, which was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.”
Kylie and Nathan began discussions in October 2016 and the house was completed in July this year, despite being held up by council consent issues through Christmas.
There were challenges in the build, like dealing with the west coast’s horrendous rain, and building a cottage on top of a hill, but Kylie said Sentinel Homes made the process effortless.
“Scotty Duggan was the project manager for Sentinel Homes Hamilton and he was a man on a mission. I’ve never seen anyone coordinate tradies like he did, he was exceptional. Their communication was very good and when there were incurred costs, they were upfront about them."
Kylie enjoyed the whole process of creating her dream rural hideaway; designing, building and choosing all internal and external features.
“We didn’t really know what we wanted at the beginning and were working with the smallest budget imaginable. I didn’t even know the end result was possible, but Nathan made it possible. We call it a bach, but it’s a five-star bach; all 86-square metres of it are just beautiful.”
The build cost was $180k and for that, Kylie got a three-bedroom house, which exceeded her expectations. With the addition of solar power and sewage, the total cost came to $250k.
“Even though we were working with a budget, we have a non-standard house,” says Kylie. “I would definitely use Sentinel Homes’ services again, I’m already thinking about building my next house.”
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