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Sean Dowling and Tracey Angelo-Jones are seasoned house builders. The Classic Builders design and build, that’s now home, is Sean’s fourth house build, and Tracey’s third. So, when the two say the creation of their together home was a seamless and wonderful experience, they know what they’re talking about.
Tracey had previously built with Classic builders and was keen to again engage in such a “good experience”. One meeting with a Classic Builders representative was all it took for Sean to immediately feel comfortable with Tracey’s choice.
Classic Builders was engaged back in March 2019 to build their large (285 square metre) Whangarei home. Tracey and Sean weren’t just building a house; they were building a life together.
“It was special for us as we got married during the build. We wanted to get married and move in so, as you can imagine, there was a bit of emotion around that,” Sean tells.
Classic Builder’s strict adherence to its build schedule meant everything went according to plan – to the day, which Tracey and Sean found extraordinary. The newly-weds moved into their completed home in October 2019 as planned. Happy days!
Looking back on the project, Sean and Tracey are indeed happy to say things went well every step of the way.
The process started with them drawing some sketches and then utilising Classic Builder’s resources.
“We had a concept and they brought that to life, adding value along the way. It really was quite a cool experience,” Sean enthused. “We got a lot of detail sorted relatively quickly and then the transition to the build stage was seamless as the people involved totally understood what we were trying to achieve. They were so engaged in our story and where we were heading with it. They were building us a home; they weren’t just dealing with bricks and mortar.”
Sean and Tracey speak highly of the “very communicative” building manager they worked with, who offered up ideas all the way through. The contract builder, engaged by Classic Builders, also came up with some small improvement ideas that they took on board. One suggestion, for example, was to have lights that come on automatically when entering the pantry and also under the floating vanity (soft floor lighting) in the en suite. Such details make their home even more user-friendly, Tracey says.
It was as if everyone involved in the project was committed to ensuring the result was a very nice house indeed, Sean adds.
Their brick and cedar home is H-shaped, housing four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a separate powder room, laundry and drying room, office, TV room, an open-plan main living zone (complete with a super-sized walk-in pantry) and garaging. The main living area opens to a spacious (13 metre by five metre) north-facing deck, part of which houses an outdoor gas fire under a portico. It’s a toasty address to hunker down at in winter too as there’s also a gas fire inside.
This build included some other special detailing and Tracey and Sean witnessed how Classic Builders had no trouble rising to the occasion. A case in point is the extended eaves on the north-facing side of the house with its masses of glass.
“The purpose was to limit the sun coming through the glass in summer, but to ensure it would pour through in winter. We didn’t want to create a hot house, but we wanted winter warmth – the lower sun does what we want it to do in winter. Classic Builders understood what I was trying to do. It was a bit of a punt, but we cracked it,” Sean tells.
An early challenge, by the way, was positioning the house on its elevated section so that it was protected from the winds yet fitted within the constraints of the site. It was tricky, but thankfully, doable.
Sean also tells of a last-minute decision to put schist around their fireplaces. Despite the fact it was very much an eleventh-hour call, the building manager sourced the schist and got it done. The result is very much a feature.
“There was a real sense that nothing was a problem,” Sean says.
Added to all of that is the fact there were no financial surprises – which was “just fantastic”.
It’s little wonder then that these happy home-owners have recommended Classic Builders to a number of friends. One couple was considering various builder options, came around, saw their house, said “wow” and that sealed it.
In hindsight, Tracey and Sean say there is absolutely nothing they would change about their house build process.
“We’ve got seven house builds between us and we’ve never cracked that feeling before,” Sean sums up. “Everything has just been hugely impressive.”