A Sensitive Translation
With a clear brief to build ‘traditional’ and ‘historic’, the team at Greenland Homes has created a beautiful home, suitable for all seasons and all ages.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for believing that the house you were seeing was a mock Georgian home in an English estate, somewhere in the northern hemisphere. But on closer inspection, it is clear that what Greenland Homes have created is a very modern, yet peaceful, resort-style retreat for homeowners Jay Yin and Kristy Cheng.
“We've been in Christchurch since 2011, but before that, we were living in Auckland, where it was busy and noisy. We found Christchurch to be peaceful and relaxed, and we wanted that feeling to continue into our home,” says homeowner Jay. He initially saw the Greenland Homes advertising materials, and after visiting one of their show homes, he knew the decision was made. “Greenland Home's houses have won lots of awards, and in fact, this house is entered for an award! So I knew we were going to get a quality home,” says Jay.
After first entering the Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards in 2014, Greenland Homes has consistently received multiple awards, year after year. This Marshlands property won the 2019 Silver award, in the category of new home $750,000 to $1 million.
Initially, section hunting had taken Jay and Kristy in the Halswell direction, where lots of their fellow Chinese community lives. But Jay was clear that he wanted a bit more space due to his growing family and visits from overseas relatives. It was his love of the outdoors that took him north to the Marshlands area of Christchurch.
“When I saw the 1260 square metre section here I was delighted that it backed onto a golf course. We can take advantage of the beautifully maintained golf gardens and also enjoy a larger section for ourselves,” says Jay.
What they have created here is a beautiful four-bedroom, four-bathroom home with exceptional open-air options. The pizza oven and fire pit with barbecue, the outdoor louvred area and separate pool house, the half basketball court and the extensive decks and patios are great for maximising the summer and winter sunshine.
The exterior aesthetic of the home could be described as ‘classic with a twist'. The Oamaru stone, cedarwood and colonial bar windows all give the home that sense of grandeur and longevity. “The four different ceiling heights of this home added to the challenge of the build,” says Sean Zhao, founder and director at Greenland Homes. “But we believe it's all about flexibility and providing cost-effective solutions when clients build with us. Building a home is about so much more than just constructing four walls and a roof.”
And there is no greater evidence of this than inside the home. It is all about warmth and style, with a moody-luxe décor. “I find the houses here in New Zealand don't have much on the walls,” comments Jay. “In China, we like to put warm colours on the walls with interesting textures.” As a result, this home is a unique fit for Jay and Kristy. They adore their new home and love how it suits their lifestyle.
The contemporary country kitchen merges traditional and modern elements. The skill, of course, is complementing the classic features, while also creating an elegant and timeless heart for the home. “The brief of 'classic luxury' was an excellent opportunity for us to go with the Castello door style in a washed ivory,” says Kate from Palazzo Kitchens. “The look of the front is 'distressed' adding that touch of country style to fit in with the striking details of the build, including the panelling in the hallway and the mouldings on the fireplace in the living room.”
The high-pressure laminate benchtop in a wood-look finish adds to the warmth of the classic country kitchen and picks up beautifully on the tones of the flooring. The splashback is the same high pressure laminate, blending with, rather than distracting from, the traditional look of the home. Palazzo's on-screen 3D imagery of the kitchen was a great attraction for the owners. Being able to see a photo-realistic view of the kitchen before building began was very reassuring for Jay and Kristy. “The kitchen is one of my favourite parts of the home,” says Jay. “I like that traditional feeling, and it's a nice size for when my parents or parents-in-law come to stay.”
So with extended family visiting throughout the year, it was important for Jay and Kristy to be able to provide that spaciousness and independence to allow everyone to work together under one roof. Hence the design, including four bedrooms and four good-sized bathrooms. This spaciousness certainly plays out stunningly in the bathrooms. Reptiles worked in consultation with the homeowners to select tiles that give the home a real 'wow' factor.
“With four ensuites to design, the brief was to make a dramatic statement in each bathroom,” says Richard Lummis, of Reptiles. “For the master ensuite Jay and Kristy selected a high impact black marble-look porcelain tile, Super Black Night, teamed with a metallic feature wall and a more subtle grey matt floor tile.”
In the family bathrooms, the owners chose to use all three formats of a semi-gloss Florence tile, and to maximise the impact, they combined the tiles with a feature mosaic. For the remaining ensuite, they opted for a white gloss marble tile, Statuario, which with its crisp white base, bold grey veins and a massive variety of faces, was the perfect choice for a luxurious bathroom.
J and C Tiling undertook all aspects of the tiling for the project. Having worked as the exclusive installer for Greenland Homes since 2013, Chris and his team of expert tilers knew what was required: meticulous workmanship, efficiency and complete attention to detail. The tilers began with the substrate preparation and waterproofing, which created the perfect base for a great job. They then installed the porcelain tiles, taking the time and care to achieve the best possible set outs and minimise the grout lines.
With a large number of bathrooms, it was important that the plumbing ran smoothly. Aquacraft Plumbing frequently partners with Greenland Homes and has built a stellar reputation of procuring the highest quality products and delivering outstanding results that customers can rely on. “It was a pleasure to be part of such a large project, with fine finishings and quality workmanship,” says Ross of Aquacraft.
Jay and Kristy were clear about wanting bamboo as their primary flooring throughout the living areas of the property. Watkins Flooring Xtra was able to supply Bamboo Strand flooring, which looks stunning and complements the look and feel of the property beautifully.
“We are well-researched about the expansion and contraction properties of bamboo, so we were able to advise the client about this and allow for extra expansion under the toe kicks and skirting boards, by using expansion junctions,” says Andrew of Watkins Flooring Xtra. “It's fabulous to see such a large scale use of this product, and we are very proud of the result.” In the bedrooms, the homeowner selected a woven polypropylene carpet, Pillius, which looks and feels magnificent.
The results in the interior of this home are stunning. With luxury electrical touches such as automated blinds and surround sound systems in the separate lounge, this home has genuinely created that sense of ‘retreat'. James at James Tacon Electrical was delighted to be involved in making the electrical fit-out a reality.
And the advantages of having a large site are the opportunities for creatively exploring landscaping options. Greenland Homes worked with Styx Property Care to create an outdoor space that works with the owner's requirements. “It's always a pleasure working with Sean and the Greenland Homes team,” says Glen from Styx Landscaping and Property Care. “We always use good quality materials for our landscaping, and the results look fantastic. The brief was to bring Jay's landscaping vision to reality, and we feel we've achieved that beautifully. It was very satisfying to complete a job like this.”
And Jay and Kristy agree, “We love the fruit trees, the sunken pit kitchen / seated area, the concrete pavers out the back of the spa room and especially the huge artificial turf area for the half basketball court; they make very cool features. The large front gardens add a huge street appeal, and we love the feature trees and planting that can be seen from the road.”
Working on a big site like this one tends to throw up curveballs. For instance, the drainage and retaining against the side fences proved to be a challenge, as the section is somewhat lower than the neighbouring properties. Thankfully Cornerstone Drainage was involved in the project. Recognised as one of the best drain layers in Canterbury, Kees of Cornerstone Drainage was able to remedy the problem quickly and build a solution that worked. Cornerstone Drainage work closely with Greenland Homes and have a great relationship with the team.
Particularly noteworthy are the concrete areas. Affordable Concrete carried out all the hard landscaping on the property with one of the highlights being the coloured concrete that looks like pavers, but are simply two-tone bordered concrete, sprayed as an overlay after the initial concrete has set, to give a beautiful texture and finish. The result is a low maintenance, interesting and unique aspect, that adds style and a point of difference to the property.
Another standout feature of the property is the louvre outdoor spa area. This functional year-round outdoor living area is made from steel and is custom-made for the home by Division Architectural Engineering. It is perfect for New Zealand's changeable weather and makes an outdoor living area enjoyable in all seasons.
Time and again, this home surprises and delights us with its unique and personalised touches. The team at Greenland Homes have created a home that on the first appearance looks classic and traditional, but on closer inspection, is very much current and up to date, catering for its multi-generational inhabitants and providing a truly luxurious year-round retreat.
Involved in this project
0800 123 678
03 365 0751
0274 325 777
J&C Tiling Specialists
022 313 2668
03 961 0500
021 340 411
Carpet and Flooring
Watkins Flooring Xtra
03 338 6870
03 354 2140
Styx Property Care
027 439 7963
03 379 3484
James Tacon Electrical LTD
021 312 424
Words Kathy Catton Photography Mick Stephenson