Building Diaries 2: The Coastal Farm House :


Welcome to the 2nd series of The Building Diaries. This series of articles is contributed by Victoria Breckon from Tauranga, @ourcoastalfarmhouse on Instagram. Follow the journey as her family source their section, plan their dream home and oversee the building process. The Breckon Family consists of Victoria (26) an administrator for the Wright Family Foundation, Sam (27) a Solicitor at Holland Beckett Lawyers, their 3 year old son Max, 2 Cats – Florence (and the Machine) and Harvey Spector, also a black Flemish Giant bunny with a white paw  ‘Michael Jackson’.


Part 1 - The Section & House Design

We are due to start building in the subdivision 'Mayfield' in Bethlehem, Tauranga. This will be Sam's first, and my second home, having previously owned and renovated a 1950's character home.

Victoria and Sam

Sourcing a Section

In 2015 Sam and I were renting in Mayfield subdivision when we decided we would quite like to buy.  However after a couple of months of looking around and one scary auction experience we decided that in the current market we would be best building if we wanted to have those ‘must haves’ and of course stay under budget. Cue the hunt for land, we knew from the beginning that we did not want to do a house and land package, and our preferred location was the Bethlehem area. Being an established area the sections were limited and expensive or bought up by building companies so our prospects didn’t look too good!

Until one evening trawling Trade Me we came across a piece of land for private sale, just two houses up from where we were currently living! We immediately e-mailed the vendors who advised they were listing the land with an agent the next day. We had to act fast! Sam is a Solicitor so we were lucky to have things move along quickly!

We really couldn’t believe our luck purchasing on Chater Avenue a beautiful street, with lovely amenities and my Grandparents just a short walk away, great schooling in the area, and also a big shopping complex just off the main road. Day care and our places of work are all within a 10 minute drive as well! This is fantastic!


build me nz section

Clearing the section


Our Section

Our section is Lot 127, 79 Chater Avenue. It is 685sqm and one of the last pieces of land available in the Carrus subdivision ‘Mayfield’.


Designing and Planning

Our Design Wish List

- Single Story

- Black board and batten cladding with white joinery

- Lots of north facing windows for a sunny cosy home

- Outdoor space for our son to play

- 3 bedrooms

- An office nook

- Open plan living/dining/kitchen with a separate scullery

- Open, light, relaxed vibe


Choosing a Designer

We were recommended Andrew Freed and his building/design company by family who had heard endless good things about his work and design style. After contacting Andrew and chatting over the phone and via e-mail a general idea was hashed out. Soon later we visited Andrew at his house to see the concept drawings and discuss the layout, Andrew’s house that he designed and built himself is absolutely beautiful and has many of the features that we had dreamt of for our own home. The concept drawings were perfect bar one or two window changes! Since our first visit with Andrew we have 100% faith in him.


Land lay out, building nz, build me

The building lay out

Creating a Custom Design

Our section is 685m2, down a right of way with 2 other houses. The land is gently sloping with a low retaining wall at the back which flattens out and leaves a nice private backyard separated from the main outdoor living. In order to make the most of the sun Andrew advised the living needed to be at the front of the section and the kitchen at the back, with the dining and stacking doors in between creating open plan living in and out. This layout is perfect so children can be supervised on the lower yard through the kitchen windows or from the comfort of the deck.

Because of the shape/slope of our section and the weight of the right of way, it is necessary to have a retaining wall at the front also which the house will sit below. The negative of this is that it is a significant added expense, and also changed some ideas we had for landscaping, but the positives are it will give added privacy and also works well with the lay of the house- to create some dimension Andrew suggested the living space step down off the driveway The shape of the section also meant that we were unable to have single story which we were initially set on, however after seeing the concept drawings and lay out that Andrew had designed our minds were very quickly changed!

Sam and I have a shared love for NZ architecture and homes such as the classic Kiwi bungalow (Far and few between in Tauranga!). Therefore it only seemed fitting to incorporate some of the features of one of these beautiful homes into our ‘Coastal Farmhouse’ and set our house apart from other houses on the street. Our favourite features of our home before it is even built is already the battened ceiling from the Kitchen through to the lounge, and the timber 8 lite front door.



First and Second Floor Plans - Living below, with bedrooms upstairs.



Finer Details

Now that we had a floor plan, we had to decide on exact materials to use, window and door specifications, cladding choices, insulation and floor coverings. We will be covering each of these items in more detail in further articles when we get to that stage of the build, however here is a list of final products to be used to give you an idea of decisions that need to be made early in the build process. In our case BNZ ‘Building under construction’ team requested a fixed price contract therefore we were required to make some light decisions in regards to the window furnishings, kitchen and floor coverings.


- Foundation: Concrete block and concrete slab

- Framing: Boric treated Timber H1.2 and H3.2, all timber in contact or embedded in the ground to be H5 treated

- Roofing: Coloursteel Endura. Long run corrugated profile in ‘Gull Grey’

- Lining: Garage to be lined in 10mm Ply with rafters exposed for storage, House to be lined in Gib, with kitchen/dining/living room ceiling to have battens over Gib @ 600crs, entrance/stairwell/Office nook to have 900mm high battened dado at 600 crs

- Cladding: Hardieflex, 65x19 battens @ 300crs. Paint finish in Resene ‘Black’

- Windows: Double glazed

- Insulation Ceiling/Wall: batts or Rockwool

- Insulation Underfloor:  Batts or Polystyrene

- Flooring: 20mm particle board

- Aluminium Joinery: 35mm residential, double glazed in ‘Matte Appliance White’

- Other features: White timber cantilevered sunshade

- Garage Door: Aluminium Winsor Ribline in ‘Matte Appliance White’

- Decorative details: Window and door facings.

- Front Door: Timber 8 lite door, glossy paint finish in

- Fascia’s & Spouting: Timber fascias and barges, painted ¼ round gutters 

-Wet Areas: Hardigroove in place of tiles

- Floor coverings: Karndean ‘Mid Lime Oak’ Vinyl Planking from Christie’s flooring, Godfrey Hirst Devonport Twist 48 oz Solution dyed cut pile in ‘Cayenne Stipple’ and 11mm foam underlay from Simon’s Flooring

- Window Treatments: Floor length drapes/Roman Blinds in ‘Beige Linen’ Fabric from Martha’s Fabrics, to be made by ‘Sew Hung up Tauranga’. Venetian blinds, 63mm White shutter look slats from Rods & Blinds NZ

- Kitchen/Scullery/Laundry: Shaker style with laminate bench tops, custom kitchen island with T&G casing by Wilkinson Kitchens

- Decking and Fencing: 100 x 25 Kwila

All other building materials will be sourced from our local Mitre 10 building store.

elevations, build me building nz



Applying for Building Consent

Our Designer/Builder Andrew took care of this. He submitted our plans, as well as producer statements from our Engineers. A requirement of BNZ’s ‘Building under construction team’ is that full council consent must be obtained before they will pay out anything to your builder/designer (this was news to us!). Because of this there have been a lot of upfront costs for Sam and I to pay out (on top of the deposits). This includes, the concept drawings, full plans, engineers reports for a front retaining wall, acoustics engineer report (because of the proximity to a main road) and also an engineers report for a surprise (there always is a few right!?) waste pipe that is further into our section than indicated in the covenants. This is standard procedure with most banks, and is all sorted out once full consent is given by the council.

Financing our Build

Our mortgage is through BNZ bank. We were approved to borrow up to 80% of the cost of the combined land + build cost. This is standard for new builds, so long as you can cover the debt servicing required. We are also lucky enough to receive a discounted interest rate as both of our employers are ‘partners’ of BNZ.


 Next step... Stay tuned for when the building consent is granted and the building begins. 

Follow Victoria @ourcoastalfarmhouse on Instagram as she gets inspired and plans ahead:

Costal farm house inspiration, build me nz