Living the Kiwi dream


Whakatane-based builder John Fretwell Builders Ltd created a dream home for its client and, in doing so, won the top prize in the New Homes $350,000-$450,000 category of the Registered Master Builders 2006 House of the Year, in association with PlaceMakers.

The award-winning two-storey home, built on the sand dunes of Coastlands Beach, embraces its coastal location and was designed to make the most of the panoramic views from East Cape to Mt Putauaki.

John Fretwell Builders Ltd and its architect designed the home so that every room in the house has a view of the sea and the coastline — even the ground-floor bathroom.
Competition judges said: “This house represents every Kiwi’s dream of a holiday house by the sea, except the clients are living the dream every day.

”Floor-to-ceiling windows and dual sliders give the home a spacious feel, while a huge deck on the northern face creates good indoor-outdoor flow and enhances the contemporary style of the property.”

The southern deck is protected from wind by a titan board wall, with cedar trellis trim providing added privacy. The house is adjacent to a popular beach access which is screened by a high wall, a first-floor boarded corral and judiciously-placed stained louvre screens.

Upper-floor bedrooms open to timber decks, draining through to protected membranes below, all with glass balustrades. All windows and doors are well-flashed, robust aluminium.
No home by the beach would be complete without a special place for the boat, and this vital detail has certainly not been overlooked at this property, which has a two-car and a boat garage.

To disguise the height of the boat garage door, the panel above the up-and-over door is secret and opens on gas lift struts, allowing a hardtop boat to be parked undercover.
“The boat garaging innovation is the pride of both contractor and owner, and is a measure of the careful thought that has gone into making a well-structured and finished house,” the judges said.
John Fretwell acknowledges the garage is one of the most distinctive and interesting features of the property.

“The design of the garage with its hinged wall above the garage doors allows a large boat to be parked in what appears to be a standard-height garage,” he said. It was the home owners who suggested to Mr Fretwell that he enter the property into the competition.

Having previously done well in local House of the Year competitions, he was aware of the standard of workmanship required by the judges, and acted on his client’s suggestion.
And, as they say, the rest is history . . .