Plot for perfection
Built by Gregg Builders, this resplendent home opens up new possibilities for living and entertaining, and represents a new chapter in the lives of the Ecroyd family.
The home also represents a new chapter in the development of a piece of land the family has owned for over 20 years. Some ten years ago, Melanie and Stuart Ecroyd built their family home on one of the paddocks of their Avonhead property. With four boys, the opportunity presented itself to take what they loved of the original home; and, in subdividing the land, refine and expand on the plans to create the ultimate space for their family.
They set out with the desire to ‘add an extra guest room, as well as separate living space for the adults’, but, as Melanie explains, as the project gained momentum and they gained greater clarity, the plans underwent further revisions.
In Gregg Builders they found a building company that appreciates the importance of working with clients to refine the details so that each build encapsulates the unique priorities and predilections of those who will call it home. Over the last 70 years, the family company has been building iconic and award-winning homes across the region, consistently satisfying their clients, and validating their reputation for excellence.
Craig Wilson of Gregg Builders took the reins as project manager, and worked alongside Stuart and Melanie, ‘as we went through every milestone of the build’. Fortnightly onsite meetings ensured a transparent, smooth process – one that, Melanie reflects, was refreshingly different from their experience of building a decade ago.
Working with the two-year-old plans, Craig was able to look at the big picture and then hone in on the details – coordinating all elements, from the position of trees, to the lighting, to the hardscaping. With prescience and prowess, founded on experience, he was able to offer suggestions as to how these aspects might be further refined to enhance the way the family would live in the space. ‘Wherever something didn’t quite work, Craig was able to suggest a change – and all his suggestions worked!’ enthuses Melanie. ‘The whole team was awesome to deal with.
‘Craig strongly recommended that we put in a straight driveway, rather than a curved one’ – a suggestion, Melanie says, ‘we are so glad we went with’. Putting in the 250-metre driveway, and sorting out the power and services, required the demolition of an existing home; yet the tree-lined approach bears no trace of the layers of planning and problem-solving behind its creation.
Arriving at the house, the extensive seven-car garaging is striking, yet unobtrusive – elegantly integrated with the forms of the home. Priding themselves on their ability to make doors up to 7.5 metres wide, without compromising on the quality flat finish, Custom Made Garage Doors supplied four Phoenix Flat Panel Insulated Sectional Doors.
Founder Mal Hurrell explains that the Phoenix Doors are their own custom-made design – and the best flat-panel doors on the market. And, for the ultimate convenience, Merlin WhisperDrive Automatic Openers come with all the bells and whistles to ensure entering and leaving the garage is smooth, efficient and quiet.
Complementing the home’s crisp lines, the combination of Linea weatherboard, clean white joinery, distinctive cedar shingles and beams, and stacked stone chimneys and pillars achieves softness and distinction.
‘It is important to make the right decision when it comes to cladding materials’, says Laurae Ross-Smith of Village Stone Christchurch, adding that ‘stone has never been out of style and is more popular now than ever.’ Having loved the stone elements of their previous home, which were also installed by Village Stone Christchurch, the Ecroyds were eager to enlist their services again. This time Alpine Schist veneer was used: robust and earthy, it also lends an air of romance and elegance to the exterior.
Responsible for installing the external aluminium for the home’s windows and doors, and supporting the couple through the selection process, was the team at GA Aluminium. With its distinctive flat profile and contemporary clean lines, Fairview Architectural suites 35 and 40 were selected and finished in Warm White Pearl.
Effectively conducting the home’s incredible indoor-outdoor flow, bi-fold doors open out onto the deck and out to the pool. And, when all the splashing and socialising is done, and it’s time to keep the outside out, Glass Relate Solace Low E glass with argon gas helps to keep the home warm and dry.
The team at GA Aluminium worked closely with Gregg Builders before and throughout construction to ‘work out all the details’, an arrangement that GA Aluminium owner Gareth Lewis says is ‘crucial’ for a smooth process.
Talking with any one of the subcontractors involved on the project, this message comes across loud and clear: careful planning and sound communication processes are paramount. The unequivocal success of this project comes down to the strong working relationships Gregg Builders has with their team of subcontractors, who all share the building company’s exacting standards and ethos of integrity.
Rising to the challenge of working with the three-metre high ceiling throughout the home, and the high raking ceiling in the outdoor living area, Lance Ash Interiors supplied and fitted the ceiling battens and insulation, and fixed and stopped the plasterboard walls. The experienced plasterers provide a complete drywall service, and take pride in the meticulous care they take to achieve a flawless result.
Their work paved the way for the team from Newman Decorators who were responsible for hanging wallpaper and painting throughout. Like the plasterers from Lance Ash Interiors, the decorators have impeccable standards – something Gregg Builders has been able to rely on since the companies started working together 25 years ago.
With a vast knowledge of products and top-notch craftsmanship, Newman Decorators picked up four awards at the Registered Master Painter Awards in 2017 – and are passionate about the key role they play in beautifying, personalising and energising spaces.
Behind the pristine walls, Mainland Electrical installed the lighting, heating, data and audiovisual systems throughout the home – a multipronged assignment that called for careful planning and thorough communication with the couple, to ensure that the outcomes matched family members’ individual visions for living in the home. With architectural lighting installed above, Devi in-slab and undertile heating systems ensure complete comfort – emanating heat from beneath the floor.
Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors was called on to maximise the space the family had, to optimise functionality and flow, and to offer clever storage solutions throughout. Although intending to replicate the layout of the original home, as the project unfolded Angelique seized opportunities to tweak the layout of the kitchen scullery, master en suite and walk-in robe and laundry to satisfy these objectives.
The nexus of family life, the striking kitchen is also highly practical, featuring Melteca for the cupboards, subway tiles for the splashbacks and a sleek granite benchtop. The combination of the subway tiles, which provide a clean backdrop for the large stainless steel Schweigen extractor fan, and the detailed floating shelving, exemplifies the boldness and exquisiteness of this space.
When it came to some of the finishing touches, as Angelique notes, Melanie had a strong vision. ‘I wanted each space to feel unique’, says Melanie, who made all the wallpaper selections herself, and is delighted with the outcome.
As the sun streams in, the wooden flooring flows out onto the expansive deck, which folds around the home – creating a stage for family life to play out. With outdoor living and dining spaces mirroring those inside, the EF5000 outdoor fireplace from Escea provides quick, convenient heat – ideal for unwinding after a long day at work or for entertaining into the small hours. Punctuating this covered outdoor space, a playful cluster of lights injects a sense of fun and sophistication.
Ensuring the interior and exterior living spaces deliver on the promise of carefree, cosy and convivial experiences all summer, and beyond, the fastidious crew from Craftsman Gas Services installed the powerful Escea EF5000 outdoor fireplace, as well as two Escea DL1100 gas fireplaces for inside – this fireplace chosen for its high heat output and impressive 5 Star Energy Rating. Additionally, Craftsman Gas Services supplied a gas cylinder station, and installed a Gameco bayonet point for the barbecue – so that everything is set to go for a season of entertaining.
Sitting back and reflecting on this build, and their previous one, Melanie says that their experiences were different in several respects. ‘There was such incredible attention to detail with this build, and strong communication processes. Gregg Builders was completely onto it – we were always kept in the loop and nothing was ever a problem.’
For project manager, Craig Wilson, the highlight was ‘guiding the couple through every step of the build and giving advice and options where necessary’. Building needn’t be a stressful and protracted process – it can be immensely stimulating and rewarding when handled with such personal care and professionalism. And, as Craig remarks, ‘a bit of humour along the way doesn’t hurt’.
‘Handing over the keys at the end is an experience that is hard to beat’, says Craig. Those keys represent the culmination of the whole team’s efforts – on behalf of clients they care for – and the start of a new chapter in people’s lives.
For two decades, the Ecroyd family has owned the plot of land; and, in that time while bringing up their boys, they have dreamed of their ultimate family home – one that would tick all the boxes and then some. The proof of the success of any build is in the living it delivers, and for the Ecroyds, and their friends, the arrangement of spaces inside and out, makes this home a triumph.
Words: Kate Barber Photography: Jamie Armstrong