Ben & Jordie's new home in Rangitahi

We caught up with Ben and Jordie, who recently completed their new home in Rangitahi. Ben, an architectural designer for Urban Homes, was born and bred in Hamilton. Jordie, an interior designer also for Urban Homes, is originally from Auckland but has been living in Hamilton for six years.

They both loved spending time in Raglan and found themselves taking every opportunity to come and stay with Ben's Dad, who lives in our coastal paradise. So when the opportunity came up to purchase a section to design and build their own home, moving to Rangitahi just made sense.

Read on below to learn more about Ben & Joride's recent build journey in Rangitahi.

What made you decide to move to Raglan?

We love water sports like surfing, paddle boarding and swimming over the summer. Even during the winter months, a walk through the bush or on the beach is so calming after a stressful day. Ben’s dad has a place out here, and in the past few years, we have found ourselves coming out to Ragan any chance we got to get that ‘Raglan fix’.

When the opportunity arose, it just made sense to create a home out here.

What drew you to purchase a section in Rangitahi, can you tell us a little about your new spot?

Firstly we love Raglan, and the way Rangitahi is designed around the community was so exciting to potentially be a part of. Also, being budget conscious, we found Rangitahi a more affordable option compared to the rising costs in the city, giving us a pathway to our first home together.
We loved the section itself, being on a corner meant we have fewer neighbours right next to us, and we didn't mind that it meant our yard is more open to the community; hopefully lots of over-the-fence chats in years to come!

Do you need to commute to Hamilton for work?

We do commute into Hamilton every day. At first, we were a little bit worried about the toll that might take. But in reality, it's not a problem at all (apart from rising fuel costs!!), it's the perfect amount of time in the morning to prep for the day ahead. Likewise, for the trip home, a stressful day at work can quickly be forgotten about as soon as you come over the hill and see a glimpse of the ocean!

What is it about living in Raglan that you love the most?

We're big outdoors people, so Raglan feels like a big playground to us. After a stressful day, coming home from work and walking on the beach is the best feeling. We also can't wait for summer and being able to walk our paddle-boards down to the water from our house. How cool is that!?

What’s your vision for Rangitahi?
What are you looking forward to the most about being a part of this new community?

We love the community-centric approach Rangitahi has; it feels like it will be a very friendly neighbourhood where everyone looks out for each other. With lower fences and more yards open to the community, I can imagine a lot of conversations over the fence with friendly passers-by.

We think there will be some fun street parties once everyone gets to know each other!The shared community fruit trees are amazing! It gives the feeling of living the "1/4 acre dream" on a smaller section. The idea of communal fruit trees makes so much sense; why not pool resources so everyone can enjoy freshly grown produce if there's the space to do it? We're looking forward to the restaurant opening and being able to stroll down there on the weekend for a coffee or meal.

Tell us about your home! You built with Urban, who you also work with – it must have been a fun project working with your own team?

When we started planning what sort of house we wanted to build, we decided to keep it simple and small with everything we needed but nothing we didn't.

This meant we could have a decent yard for gardens, pets and outdoor living. We designed the house with the idea of two 'pods' of cladding to separate the communal family spaces from the bedrooms and more private spaces. The larch timber-clad pod is our kitchen, dining, and living and everything else is the painted brick pod which isn't very visible from the road for more privacy.

The main living space opens out onto a deck that faces north/east, so is tucked in away from the wild westerly winds that Raglan is famous for.Working with Urban was great; it was fantastic to walk through a building journey like the clients we work with every day and understand what it's like from the other side. Also, working alongside workmates with the end goal being our own home was so much fun. Everyone took ownership of our build and put in a lot of effort.

Do you have to overcome any challenges during the build process?

There really wasn't any, we are pretty fortunate to be in the industry, and we felt like we were well prepared and had realistic expectations, which made our journey as smooth as we would've hoped. We sourced a lot of quotes and did a lot of research before undertaking the build, so we knew we were able to stick to our budget. We also made a conscious decision not to change our minds on ideas and products during the build; once we made our mind up we would stick to it.

We see a lot of delays happen in the industry because of a last-minute change that has had a flow-on effect through the rest of the build.

Now that you have settled into your new home, what is your favourite part of the house - was there anything that was a must-have? And have there been any surprise wins?

We are a little biased, but we really love the claddings we have chosen (Siberian Larch – vertical timber and the rustic bagged style painted brick). The positioning on the site is great, really taking advantage of the 180 degree views, from the slither of the ocean to the west to the pockets of the harbour and surrounding hills to the east. The way the house flows from the kitchen, dining, and lounge opening out to our northeastern deck will be awesome come summertime.

A must-have for us on a smaller build would be high ceilings, but, given our tight budget, we weren't able to go crazy. We instead went with scissor trusses through the kitchen, dining, and lounge wing, which gave the home the look and feel we were after without breaking the bank. A surprise win for us has been the a master bedroom doesn't get any western afternoon sun. It's going to be so nice in the summer not to have a hot bedroom when we're trying to sleep!

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