The questions sure are piling up quickly! It’s as though as soon as one decision is made, another follows requiring immediate attention. I can now truly appreciate how overwhelmed some of our clients must feel in the beginning stages of their design and build journey, with so many details to be finalised, the initial excitement can so quickly turn to stress!

Before we can begin discussing our options, I set my family a challenge; to really think about the way they want to live in the bach and to consider what they will want in 5, 10, 50 years’ time and how that differs from what they want today. This is a challenge I have recently begun to apply in my work life. As a number of our clients lost their homes in the earthquakes, they looked to us a second time to help rebuild their dreams. In comparing that second brief to the first, taken only a few years apart, the needs of the family had rapidly changed. As their children grew into toddlers, teenagers or even began to leave the nest, the requirements of the family unit were drastically transformed. This unique insight is especially valuable in our own design and build journey, we need to consider how the space will grow with us and adapt to our transforming family dynamic if the bach is to become a family legacy as I sincerely hope that it will.

We know we need to be completely honest with ourselves and not be influenced by the way others expect us to holiday. We aren’t ‘boathanmer-image4ies’ therefore we don’t need to be tied down finding a section on the coast but we still want the option of outdoor activities close by. We also enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle and dining out so amenities must be in the immediate vicinity. And, although they are never that keen on watching a test at the oval with their old man, our girls really want space outside for a game of backyard cricket. Most importantly, we want somewhere close to home so we can holiday as a family without our girls requiring time from school. This leaves us with four viable front runners; Tekapo, Hanmer, The Peninsula and Leithfield.hanmer-image3

After some deliberation, there is a natural attraction to Hanmer, it’s the kind of place where you are never far from the township. Amenities are a short drive if not walking distance, there are a range of activities to please all tastes and it’s only a short drive from Christchurch. Now we’ve made that first decision, the project is really starting to pick up speed. We visit on numerous occasions, exploring our options and investigating several sites, eventually reducing our options to two, differing in size and location to the township. The first site is central, practically on the doorstep of the hot pool facilities and of similar size to our section in Christchurch.
We are all very taken with this site, in fact I even start to sketch some ideas.

But before officially purchasing the site, I reflect on an eye-opening experience whilst on holiday some years ago in Duvauchelles. Sitting on the couch with Angela drinking coffee one morning, we see a farmer across the bay begin to plough his fields. In watching someone else work, we became almost mesmerised and very relaxed, actively making ourselves sit there and do nothing but watch. This was what we wanted in our bach, somewhere to feel truly relaxed and content not doing anything. The site we had become so quickly attached to was essentially the Hanmer version of our Christchurch life, in the town centre surrounded by hustle and bustle, we wanted a bach to escape everyday life not to experience it in a different location! Suddenly we can see all the potential of the second site, it is much larger and flatter and in a rural setting but still walking distance to the amenities we desire. It is almost polar opposite to our home, giving us a completely different environment to escape to.

So, we take the plunge… we purchase the second site. Now what? Is it time to fetch my sketching pad!?

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Published on Friday, December 16th, 2016