Tips for building your holiday home

Dreaming of a holiday home at the beach or lake? We take a look at the most popular places to build your holiday retreat in New Zealand – and how to design it.

There’s something very Kiwi about a bach. The word itself is unique to us. It brings to mind a very specific type of dwelling: a modest fibrolite shack, usually within walking distance to the beach.

The true bach is functional rather than fancy; the idea is that you’re on holiday and “getting back to basics”. Not so the case now. While we Kiwis still love to spend our leisure time by the water, the classic bach has largely been replaced by a much bigger, more accommodating type of dwelling: the holiday home.

Where’s the best place to build a holiday home?

The last couple of decades has seen a huge change in the style of homes at waterfront hotspots. Pauanui, Whangamata and Mt Maunganui are crammed with million-dollar properties. Other highly-coveted areas such as Wanaka, Waiheke Island, Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Whitianga are following suit.

But you don’t have to fight with the rich and famous to build your dream home at the beach. Other areas are opening up all over New Zealand’s coastline and lakeside – and they’re just as beautiful.

Coromandel dreaming…

Landmark Homes franchisee Will Quigley says holiday homes are popping up all over the Coromandel, on both the eastern and western side. Larger centres such as Whitianga are especially popular with those who love boating and fishing.
Having built homes on both sides, Will says location will obviously depend on a client’s budget. A home in the larger centres – or close to a waterway – will also bump the price up.

However, the options are vast. The pretty beach town of Tairua is beginning to grow as homeowners look to get away from the mainstream areas. You can also skip past crowded hotpots such as Hahei and Cooks beach and head to stunning Matarangi, just up the coast.

Those who really want to get away from it all – but still have access to Whitianga – could take a look at the beautiful Opito Bay. About 3.5 hours’ drive from Auckland, Opito Bay is on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula and (currently) offers pure escapism from the madding crowds.

No matter how luxurious – or simple – your beachy dream home is, Landmark Homes can help you build it. They can also help you find somewhere a little quieter, if you prefer. Those who want a luxurious home with a superb vista in Coromandel are spoilt for choice.

Lakeside luxury…
Queenstown and Wanaka have long been jewels in the South Island’s crown, and not just for tourists. These ravishing lakeside towns offer everything we Kiwis love most: scenery, skiing, watersports, hiking, and fine dining.

Central Otago franchisee Andy Lawrence says the proportion of holiday homes in both towns is substantially higher than permanent dwellings. Property here doesn’t come cheap, and demand isn’t likely to taper off anytime soon.

However, there are alternatives, and they’re by no means a poor second. Other fine lakeside areas such as Cromwell, Alexandra and Te Anau are developing fast, and they offer much the same features (with a slightly smaller price tag!)

Further down the island, the tiny town of Riverton is a well-kept secret with its spectacular beach and peaceful river. Or, if you want a combo of bush, beach and brilliant sunshine, the Abel Tasman area has no end of options. Nelson is particularly popular with holiday makers now and the glorious West Coast is like nowhere else in the world.

Style trends in NZ holiday homes

Wander around the shoreline of most holiday hotpots and you’ll quickly see that the Kiwi holiday home has come a long way since the original bach.

Will says the style of modern holiday homes varies greatly, but there are some specific trends unique to leisure retreats.
Outdoor living is a priority at the beach or the lake – and it’s no longer limited to a sun porch or homemade deck. After all, a holiday home is built for lounging around or entertaining.

Many clients now request an outdoor entertaining area such as a portico with an outdoor fireplace, or a large covered deck. Bi-fold doors opening to the outdoors are also popular as they’re perfect for summer barbecues and lazy afternoons. Balmy summer nights can be spent around an outdoor fireplace.

Capturing that sea breeze is important, so indoor-outdoor flow is high on the list. When the sun’s shining, there’s nothing better than opening the ranch slider up on a nice big deck – especially if you’re overlooking the water.

Like any home, special consideration should be given to the kitchen design. As the central ‘hub’ of the home, the kitchen is where both family and guests tend to congregate – and most holiday homes have plenty of guests coming and going. Gone are the days when food prep was done out of the way and out of sight: anyone working in the kitchen should be able to socialize, too.
A breakfast bar or kitchen island are common features. Both add style and functionality to a home, no matter how many people are in it. They also allow for families to eat together, guests to ‘hang out’ while you’re cooking, and make it easier to keep an eye on the kids.

Low-maintenance is key in holiday home design – especially if you’re not living in it full-time. Most Landmark Homes builders prefer to use James Hardie Linea Oblique Weatherboard for cladding. Lightweight and durable, it works well for both classic and contemporary design, with the added benefit of premium fibre cement. It’s also able to withstand harsh coastal conditions and can be painted any colour. And who wants to be washing walls when they’re on holiday?

South Island holiday retreats are quite another breed. Homes must be built to cope with the extremes of hot summers and freezing winters, while also embracing the natural elements of the surroundings. Schist and cedar are the most popular materials here, along with neutral tones for a more natural feel.

Homes in these southern parts must also cater for the seasonal activities. A drying room is important for ski-lovers, along with a good outdoor area – complete with barbecue – for those lazy summer evenings. High windows and a deck are essential for keeping those epic mountains in view.

If you need a little inspiration for your holiday haven, you can start by checking out the spectacular Landmark homes built in Whitianga and in Wanaka. Both are the perfect examples of Landmark Homes’ exquisite design in a prime location!

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