Kirsten and Sean Hickey had long held a dream to build their home. But while raising their young family in a Sandringham bungalow for over a decade was wonderful, the Auckland land prices meant that building new was not an option. So, when a new job role came up in Hamilton, the couple seized the chance to move and to build their dream home.
Choosing the right home builder
Having secured the perfect section in Tamahere, the couple began their search for a New Home Builder. Keen to do their due diligence, they ventured out to explore various showhomes” and a Landmark Homes’ showhome caught their eye.
“The quality stood out to us the most. You could just tell the fittings were high-calibre,” says Kirsten. “We also appreciated that Landmark Homes don’t churn out a dozen houses at once. We were worried about the finish if we built with someone else.”
Returning to the showhome for several conversations with the New Home Consultant helped seal the deal” but ultimately it was Landmark’s reputation for excellence that did the trick.
“You’re only building once, so you want to do it properly,” adds Kirsten laughingly. “That’s partly why I think people are scared of building their own home” you hear some nightmare stories! We wanted to avoid that, so we chose Landmark Homes.”
Making the Hawea Ready to Build plan their own
Next came the design process. The Hickey’s quickly decided to use the Hawea plan. “It was exactly what we wanted. It’s got a timeless feel” when you look at the house in 20 years’ time it won’t date. It will look like a normal and classic home,” says Kirsten.
The couple were heavily engaged in the design process” but that engagement was met by Landmark in spades. “They definitely worked hard for their money I’ll tell you that!” smiles Kirsten.
The plan needed to be modified to fit the long narrow section, and the Hickeys wanted to add another bedroom and bathroom downstairs to accommodate their parents. The modification process was easy, and one thing that Kirsten appreciated most was the advice she received from the team at Landmark Homes. For her, it really made the build.
A timeless, classic family home
So what does the finished home look like?
“We wanted a home that was classic, homely, and warm. And that’s exactly what Landmark delivered. I loved the traditional style of our home in Auckland, but it was such a draughty house. Now I’ve lived with insulation I couldn’t go back. It’s so warm in winter! And so cool in summer. It’s perfect.”
Her favourite features? The dark grey weatherboard exterior, the luxurious free-standing bath in the upstairs bathroom, the chic black oak flooring, and the ultra-efficient fireplace in the living room downstairs. “It looks amazing!”
When it came to choosing the fittings for the bathrooms and the kitchen, Landmark interior designer Ange Wynne met the Hickeys at the tile store and kitchen shop to help them choose, which Kirsten says was really helpful. “You have some ideas, but there are so many bells and whistles and features you can have nowadays, that it can be tough to know where to start!”
Oh, and the best bit? “When people come round, everyone knows it’s a Landmark. It’s instantly recognisable.”
The build and the budget
The 9-month build was drama-free, with Landmark Homes working with the pool installation team without a hitch, and the build being completed on time. No emails were left unanswered, and the couple lived up the road and often drove down regularly to see what was going on on-site.
“It wasn’t a quick build, which was exactly what we wanted. We know that Landmark don’t bang out homes, and that’s a good thing.”
When it came to budget…they admit that they didn’t stick to theirs, “but that was all on us” laughs Kirsten. “Going over budget had nothing to do with Landmark, and everything to do with Sean and I changing our minds and picking the more expensive options or adding more features to our home.”
She explains further. “Landmark give you a lot of options to choose from for everything, such as tapware, and there’s something for every budget. (Although even the lowest-cost option is still very good quality.) So, you can definitely stay within your budget. We just decided to go for it.”
Would she recommend Landmark?
In a word? Yes! “I would definitely recommend them, and I have. You don’t feel like you’re just money going in their pockets. They’re genuine. They’re honest. They care. Despite the anxiety I had about the process, our build was easy. I would build again in a heartbeat! I just need to win the Lotto first,” she laughs.