THE ADVENTURES OF A BACH BUILD: PART 21 – The End of the Journey


Wow! How time flies!

I can’t believe it has been six months since the first official holiday weekend at our bach!

In the lead up to the Christmas break, we spent many weekends in Hanmer chipping away at the lengthy to -do list, finishing all the little bits and pieces, until finally it was complete! 100% finished! And ready for the first big test!

Not only were the four of us staying in the bach for three weeks over the Christmas break, but we had invited many friends and family to spend time there too! In fact, as it turned out, there were only 5 nights over the break that it was just the four of us!

Although we had already spent a lot of time in the bach, we were still a little anxious about hosting Christmas Day and all the other entertaining to be done from then on. There were still some teething issues and it didn’t yet feel like home. We still found ourselves searching for things that we didn’t actually have at the bach, or consistently opening the wrong drawers in the kitchen. But Christmas Day was upon us whether we felt ready or not!

And what a surprise! The bach worked a treat! The way we had hoped it would. It was encouraging to see how multiple different groups of people used the spaces and interacted with one another. Showcasing the bach as the intergenerational asset we hope it will become. We noticed that when visitors (or Ange, the girls or myself for that matter!) wanted some of their own time, they would retreat to one of the four corners of the bach, but by the time lunch, dinner or beer o’clock rolled around, everyone would once again congregate in the deck area. That communal space performed better than I could ever imagine, truly being the space that draws everyone back together.

Although we are overjoyed with how the bach performed, there are still some challenges to overcome when we are living there. But we are finding the more we use it, the more we are becoming used to the particular quirks that come with living in such a unique space. We are also finding that those challenging aspects are impacting positively on the way we think and feel at the bach. For example, at home in Christchurch, we very rarely use our dining table and hardly ever eat the evening meal together as a family, but at the bach, every meal is eaten together the table. The architecture is making us interact differently as a family. And I couldn’t be prouder!

Over the break, we had several of our architect and designer friends visit, and it is fair to say I was nervous! I was concerned that I would have to convince them, like I did with many others, that although the bach is almost the antithesis of our Merivale home, it is a true reflection of our values and base principals. But luckily, as they watched how our family interacted with the spaces, they were easily convinced that our bach fulfilled our dreams and aspirations and is ideal for our family.

After three weeks spent at the bach, it truly does feel like home. And the process of leaving one house to go to another has become increasingly easier. It is just like going home, but a longer trip! The bach no longer feels like just a piece of architecture, but an environment. Our place. The perfect expression of who we are.

Relaxing on the deck, cold Corona in hand, I reflect on the long, stressful, exciting and insightful journey we took to get here. Looking around at what we have achieved, I can’t help but be filled with pride, all of the sleepless nights, silly arguments and anxiety have been worth it. We have built our dream bach that will act as a lasting legacy for our family.

I can’t deny that I have learnt many lessons throughout this process, designing for yourself is vastly different to following a client brief. However, these experiences have made me question what more we can do to prepare our clients for what is to come, different methods to taking a brief and what advice we give. I believe my own design and build journey has helped me to add even more value to our clients’ projects.

As the sun sets, I feel a little sad to be returning to Christchurch so soon but am looking forward to a future of long weekends, celebrations and Summer holidays in The Family Bach.

This adventure, as predicted has been full of highs and lows, indecision and surprises, and now all there is left to do is enjoy it.

Thank you for joining us, I  sincerely hope you have liked following our journey from dream to reality.



Published on Friday, January 26th, 2018