The 'Falcon's Nest' home sits at the top of Falconer Rise in Jacks Point. Perched in the window seat, you can relax and enjoy panoramic views to the surrounding mountains and lakes, oblivious to the hard work that has gone in to creating this bespoke Queenstown home. Motivated by family members in the building industry, this young executive couple left their nest in Auckland to establish a new lifestyle and home in the Southern Lakes.
Rory (33) and Mary (29). Financial Accountant and Occupational Therapist by trade, Rory and Mary now run a boutique property management company; Stella & Ledman.
Because we were both completely new to building and design we didn't really have an idea in our mind of what we wanted to create. I guess it wasn't until we moved to Queenstown and saw for ourselves the unique landscape and high end buildings in the Jack's Point area that we really started to develop some ideas for the home. One thing we knew though is that we wanted to build a large open plan home that took advantage of the 360 degree panoramic views.
A 264m2 Home, including 4 bedrooms (2 masters), 3 bathrooms, 2 living areas, separate laundry, scullery and double garage. 50m2 Kwila deck.
Build cost was approx $3500-$4000/m2
Rory and I were traveling Europe at the end of 2015 to represent NZ at the Minigolf World Championship when Rory's sister sent us a link with details of the section at Jack's Point. With us being out of NZ there was no way we could view the land but we knew it was an opportunity not to miss. So within the next few weeks whilst travelling around Portugal, we organised financing, paid our deposit and signed the papers with the vendors. By the time we got back to NZ, and before the final sale went through, we got an offer from the current owner of $15,000 to walk away from the deal. We knew we were on to something good so we declined the offer and went through with purchasing the land. Soon enough it come out on the grapevine that an investor had snapped up most available sections in Jacks point.
The section is at the top of the street and has 360 degrees views to the mountains, Lake Wakatipu, and up to The Remarkables behind. It has a slight slope which we didn't think was much at first, but ended up being quite expensive when it came to excavating the site and building the foundations.
The house had to be designed to meet strict guidelines imposed by the Jacks Point Design Review Board. So the look of the house, including cladding and roof, was designed to be very much a 'Jacks Point Style Home' - gables, cedar etc. The final layout came about by considering:
- The shape of the section: We went with a two storey at one end in order to minimise earthworks and maximise the section's potential
- The prevailing wind: We wanted a sheltered outside area to escape the strong southerly wind
- The views: The design had to maximise the views to the lake and mountains on all 4 sides.
- The specs of the house: We wanted to have a self contained flat so that the house could generate income and help pay the mortgage, however we found out mid design process that this was not allowed on our section. Instead we opted for a 2nd Master bedroom so that the house could still host family, friends, flatmates or short term guests with plenty of space and privacy for everybody.
Architect Jeremy Kingan drew up the working drawings. We engaged Heidi & Me to do the interior design of the kitchen and living area/window seat.
We definitely think as the build went on we became more confident in what styles we liked. And because of this we made a lot of changes along the way...more pricey but for the better.
For the bones of the house we relied on ideas and prior work of our trusted professionals, including the architect, interior designer and builders. Pinterest was definitely a big inspiration, second to home magazines. We also went to open homes and I would say almost daily we would peruse around the neighbourhood looking at the other homes for ideas. We also went to Bali in the middle of the build. There is real beauty and ingenuity in Bali decor and this is what inspired our whitewashed cedar look in the second master room, and also where some of our light shades, upholstery for the window seat and furniture came from.
The build was completed by Deavoll Construction. We chose them because A) we know Sam is a talented builder and extremely hard worker. He has a creative, artistic eye which comes through in the finishing touches of his building projects and B) he is Rory's brother in law so obviously well trusted. We knew absolutely nothing at the start of the build and Sam and Hana were great mentors throughout the whole process.
At the time we were living in Auckland and weren't actually planning on moving down to Queenstown until the build was finished. However early on we decided why the heck not quit our jobs and move down earlier so we could be a part of the experience and make the hard decisions on the ground rather than through emails and phone calls from afar. So in March we up lifted our lives and drove down to Queenstown. Rory decided to pick up the tools and build alongside Sam and his crew. And Mary helped with the finer details such as choosing fixtures and fittings.
All up it has taken 10 months to build when originally we were planning on a 6 month timeframe. Reasons for this was the challenge of the sloped section which took more time with the foundations. Our trip to Bali also delayed the build and the fact that we decided to up spec the home and do a lot of the labouring ourselves, which meant for the last few months Rory, Sam and myself were left to finish the build and landscaping.
The advantage of using Deavoll construction was they did all the behind the scene project management. Inevitably there were delays, mostly due to the foundations taking a bit longer, and us doing most of the finishing/landscaping.
We also made lots of changes along the way. Once we saw the land and the other houses in the neighbourhood, we realised we needed to increase the spec of the house to keep it inline with other houses in the area, to protect future selling potential of the house.
Sometimes it felt like we were on The Block. We can laugh about it now but there has definitely been some tense times, especially when we had a tight timeframe to complete a particular area of the house or even when choosing what to do for the feature walls in the master bedrooms. Fatigue probably played a part in this also. There has been many late nights; sawing, hammering and painting to the early hours of the morning. We were surprised to never see the neighbours knocking on our door telling us to shut up.
Other challenges... We should have done more research before trying to achieve a certain look with products we hadn't used before. Rory initially made concrete vanity tops for the bathroom but the final product ended up with a pink tone instead of white. This clashed with the wooden tile look in the bathrooms so we had to make the decision to go with engineered stone similar to our kitchen.
The final finish of the whitewashed cedar in the second master bedroom came out better than expected and was definitely an experiment. But it was also extremely time consuming and took almost a week of full time work with 5 or 6 coats of stain.
The kitchen! We think it is very on trend with the brass tapware, brass vertical handles and marble bench tops. We are very happy we got Rory's sister in law from Heidi & Me to design this for us. The window seat is definitely a highlight as well. Another favourite is the two master bedrooms. Both similar with their cedar feature walls, but with completely different ensuite and wardrobe layouts.
- Spend the extra money to get your plans Quantity Surveyed. This is pretty crucial to help with setting an accurate budget. We spent more than originally planned, but this is probably also because we weren't initially planning on building a house to such high spec.
Designer / Architect: Jeremy Kingan
Builder: Deavoll Construction
Building Supply: Placemakers
Electrician: RLS Electrical
Plumber: Well Connected
Kitchen: Cut It Kitchens
Carpet: Hub Design
Window & Door Joinery: Design Windows
Landscaping: Katie Deans
Kitchen /Interior Designer: Heidi & Me
Curtains & Blinds: Hub Design
Taps: Kitchen Hub
Finance: Roost Mortgage Brokers
Real Estate: Harcourts