Waiheke Complete Lifestyle - Customkit Buildings | ArchiPro

Waiheke Complete Lifestyle

ONCE BRETT AND JOY MCDONALD bought their two-hectare bush block on Auckland’s Waiheke Island, their first thought was ‘we want to move onto the property NOW.’ 

Like many, they visualised a barn style house as best suited for their various needs. Living-wise, their must-have list was for a living area that their extended family could enjoy, along with a large all-weather friendly deck. 

They wanted a large open plan workshop area for storage and enough space for their honey house and produce business. 

Overall, they wanted a solution that was compatible with the natural setting and environment. 

It didn’t take them long to discover Customkit as a possible perfect partner. 

“A builder friend on the island, Tony Page, gave rave reviews of his dealings with Customkit. He built one of their houses for himself along with several others for clients,” says Joy. 

Natural appeal 

As a starting point, the McDonald’s looked at the company’s catalogues and found several ‘off the shelf’ designs that had great appeal. 

“We finally settled on one called the Hereford that we then modified to produce the result we desired. That is a real plus with Customkit – their flexibility and capability to allow clients to be involved with the project as much as they wanted really appealed.” 

The building is 190m2 with 142m2 dedicated to the living and work area. The deck is a spacious 48m2 with a very strong indoor-outdoor ‘flow’. 

One feature of the interior is the use of “big, grunty and beautiful” Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) portals with plywood gussets. These allow for extra height and space and are a beautiful, and natural, addition to the living area. 

Customkit managing director Michael Anselmi says LVL portals are a wonderful product that accentuate the whole barn house experience. 

“You can literally ‘use the portals’ or ‘lose the portals’ as a feature. The LVL can be encased so that you can’t see the portal legs or rafters. This creates the look of a large timber beam, but you’d have no idea what timber has been used. Or you can use them as a key feature in the building, along with timber or steel gussets, depending on the look you want to create.” 

“We specialise in this offering and are delighted that more and more people are asking for this wonderful natural building option,” he says. 

Project with drive 

Despite the McDonald’s sense of urgency to be living on their land, lining up contractors was a challenge due to the building boom taking place on Waiheke and throughout Auckland. 

One of the best decisions, says Joy, was to buy a digger so they could do a great deal of the excavating which fast-tracked the project. 

Having a kitset also solved what for many is a major challenge – shipping materials by sea. Getting the wide load truck and trailer on and off the ferry took a great deal of skill. Getting on site was even more memorable, says Joy. 

“The driver was a real professional. Getting down our considerable driveway, unloading and then backing out withoutdrama is one of the great memories of the whole project.” 

Their barn house, says Joy, is like the complete recipe for a lifestyle dream. 

“We love it. It is simple and sits very naturally in its place. It is very robust, warm, practical, modest, and allows us to live on our land simply and comfortably. 

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