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Luxe Lyttelton build: Phil Benton Builders

Phil Benton Builders is very pleased with the end result of this three-level home that works its way up the hill, with its commanding views of Lyttleton Harbour looking down towards Governors Bay. “The work put in by the construction team was outstanding, with patience and quality of finish exceptional,” Director Dave Fraser says.



This home incorporates Herman Pacific Vertical Cedar cladding in the colour ‘Goldrush’ and blends it in with CS Roofing Eurolock 450 Vertïcal wall cladding in the colour ‘Slate’.

A pop out Nuwall cladding in ‘Matt Azure Blue’ around a couple of the windows adds a great contrast.

The extensive use of cedar batten shade screens around the house augments symmetrical lines and visual appeal.

They were also used as wind barriers and sliding door screens. Aluminium louvres by Louvretec used as wall and roof shades give privacy and shelter from prevailing winds, which enable all year round use of some of the exterior decking.

The owners intended to install a cable car up the side of the house to help with access.

However, during the building permit application process, it was decided to future proof the house: the owners instead decided to install a European lift by Vestner NZ Ltd.

The lift created an outstanding result in functionality and delivers fabulous views of the harbour as you rise to the living room level.

Heated with Central Heating NZ radiators, the owners are excited about moving in and enjoying all the new technology within their light and warm home, as well as the stunning views.

Phil Benton Builders is proud to be a member of the Master Builders Association and the company specialises in building new architecturally-designed homes, as well as renovations and additions to quality homes to enhance the existing structure.

The team’s focus is on craftmanship and making sure you enjoy the build experience.


A Dream Update: DJ Hewitt

A bespoke kitchen and bathroom makeover refreshed and updated the heart of a 1940s home.
A Canterbury couple moved from rural life to leafy Fendalton, but first handed the keys to DJ Hewitt Builders to transform the essential rooms.



Originally with a kitchen revamp in mind, they took Daryl Hewitt’s advice to simultaneously renovate the bathroom and ensuite, to save both time and cost in the long run.

The project was complete within three months – the best decision they could have made.

Both practicality and design were of equal priority, so local interior designer Davinia Sutton was commissioned for an exciting kitchen reinvention.

“The brief was for a bespoke functional custom-made design to blend with the classic architecture,” says Davinia, who had recommended the build team to her clients.

“I’ve worked with Daryl on other projects. He is hands-on and has a fantastic, high-calibre reliable team who I always collaborate well with. Craig the Project Manager was on board every day.”

“They had respect for the design and the journey to create its reality. We all worked together for the same goal, to achieve the client’s dream.”

The kitchen area, in classic warm white, was tiled to represent a textured bagged brick wall with Italian hand-cut and glazed tiling, designed not to be perfect.

Hidden handy details included in-draw knife blocks and power points in the cupboards.

A wine fridge, an extendable swan-neck tap, and a glass designer lamp melded style and practicality.

The space was not large, but monolithic tones created space to the eye.

A raised bench wall gave the cook privacy and still a full view through the lounge to the picturesque stream-boundary garden.

The upstanding bench formed both sideboard with flush cupboards and the rooms’ natural divide. The French-Oak veneer matched the stunning handmade oak table perfectly.

For the modern bathrooms in warm classic tones, the client’s daughter’s interior design skills were bought to fruition, with a washbowl feature, retro-style small tiling in the shower, and ample mirrored cabinetry for lightness and storage.

The couple were delighted the timeline was completed without a hitch, and attention to detail from the entire team was especially appreciated.


Exceptional on Jeffreys: Stanton Builders

Lockdown might have put pressure on timelines but nothing can dim the enthusiasm and experience of local home construction experts Stanton Builders.



Director Brent Stanton and his team are enjoying the challenge of bringing a current project in Jeffreys Road back on track after the enforced break.

“Every successful project is a collaboration of the designer, my staff and I, and subtrades and it’s always about quality work, no exceptions,” Brent says.

Designed by Keith Ussher Architecture, Brent’s focus on teamwork is the key to bringing the four bedroom two ensuite home to completion in time for its original handover date in November.

Clad in Rockcote Integra Panel and Vertical Cedar with tray roofing, Brent’s favourite feature of the home is the Hard As Rock feature stone wall.

“It’s massive and it looks fantastic.”

Specialising in architectural homes and restaurant fitouts (a recent favourite project is the interior of Chiwahwah Mexican Cantina Bar), the plan is to continue with more of the same type of work although Stanton Builders is very happy to work in the first-home side of the building market too.

“We love the challenge of bringing our quality work to the more cost-conscious homes as well, and we can do this because we are a small company, very flexible and the onsite team comprises of very experienced individuals


First steps for your new build: Classic Builders

Christchurch is the fortunate host of the latest show home built by Kiwi established and operated company Classic Builders. You’ll find this twin-gabled beauty at 23 Avanda Avenue in Rolleston and there you’ll discover the perfect combination of elegant design and top-quality value for money.


Established in the Bay of Plenty, Classic Builders has earned a formidable reputation throughout New Zealand as one of the leading and most trusted residential builders in the country over the course of more than 24 years.

Today, they’re the second largest builder in New Zealand, with seven privately owned branches from Northland to Otago.

Their growth and success to date are testament to the unrivalled commitment they show their clients throughout the build journey, making the clients’ needs a priority every step of the way.

We caught up with Dave Fahey, Regional Manager for Classic Builders about first steps for your new build.

How should I choose the right plot of land to build my home?

For me it is always about the sun.

Getting a section with the right orientation is key, for thermal efficiency, health of the home and outdoor enjoyment.

Your section needs to be located to enhance your lifestyle – recreation, work, family needs have to be a consideration.

Also, look at the stability of the land.

A TC1 section is far more cost efficient to build on and that frees up funds for specifications and aesthetics of the home. Lastly, the budget.

The combination of build cost and land cost determine the feasibility of a project.

There might need to be compromise with where you live in order to achieve what you want to build – or vice versa.

Can I bring my architectural plans to Classic?

Absolutely, while we have a large portfolio of plans to choose from, we are very happy to bring your dream plan to life.

Can I customise Classic Builders’ plans?

Again, absolutely. In my time with Classic I don’t believe I have ever built one of our standard plans without some form of alteration.

We are happy to adapt any plans to ensure that it 100 percent meets your needs and desires, or reorient a plan to take advantage of sun, views, or special features of the section.

The most important thing for us is that our clients get everything they desire out of the design process.

How do I compare builders?

Word of mouth is possibly the best form of advertising, and client referrals bring in most of our work. Ask friends and family that have built.

Look for companies without provisional sums in their contracts – you want the true cost of the project not the one that looks good on paper.

Ask questions about what is and is not included in the price and compare apples with apples.

Look for a company that has stood the test of time and ask to view their work.

What will I need as a deposit?

That depends on how you want to structure your build. For a house and land package we need a 10 percent deposit.

We hold this in a secure trust account. From there no further payment is required until the building is complete, the code of compliance is issued and the customer has completed a full walk through, ensuring that the house is complete and they are 100 percent happy with every aspect.

With a progress payment structure, a minimal deposit will be taken.

The remaining progress payments are made once the floor is down, when the roof is on, the building is closed in, the walls are gibbed and stopped, and the final one upon completion.

To ensure we are doing the best for the client, we only require progress payments once the work has been completed, meaning that the homeowner is only ever paying for work that has been completed and that they therefore own!

What should I look for in a warranty?

In my opinion, the most important aspect of a warranty is that it looks after you equally from day one to year 10.

It should be transparent, backed by a strong performing provider and be easy for any claims to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Who should I talk to about my ideas?

Speak to the Classic Builders team in your region. In Canterbury call me on 021 196 1480 or visit the website



Perfect Timing: DJ Hewitt Builders

It was perfect timing for a perfect home. For a thankful family in leafy Strowan, their DJ Hewitt new-build topped expectations. The big move was five months ago.


However, the ultimate test for a couple with young children was lockdown life at home in their bubble of four.

“This really feels like we were living in a holiday house,” Jing Lu says.

“It’s such a relaxing house, where the kids can play and run.”

Jing and her husband Tom Tian, a property manager, bought the 870sqm section three years ago, for their first-time build and 350sqm forever home.

“We searched for a good architect and met with Darren O’Neil, who introduced us to DJ Hewitt Builders. I found Daryl to be very honest, with a real passion for his work. He would focus on every little detail, so that everything would be perfect – just like we wanted. Our Project Manager Simon Livingstone was so hardworking and very organised through the process”.

The interior fuses dramatic black with wood and neutrals, the schist stone gas fire feature wall extending to the stunning exterior of cedar, plaster and black flashing.

Daryl’s wife Tara, an Interior Consultant, worked in solutions for a sleek modern-designed kitchen of dramatic dark tones, grey stone and natural-wood island and steel-framed pendant lighting.

“Tara had great ideas, such as recommending the best appliances.”

Jing, who owns Cheeky Sparrow Café, loves to cook, but also likes a clean and tidy kitchen when entertaining guests.

The solution: the walk-in pantry which houses the gas cooktop, bench and sink, closes off with a sliding door.

“We can look over the St Andrew College field from the upstairs master bedroom and two children’s bedrooms. We have master bedroom downstairs too, for my overseas parents to stay in the future. I’m also enjoying the automation system for lighting, blinds, audio visual, gas, security camera, and under-floor heating”.

The office is separated by single glass door – but for now it’s a playroom opening up to the lounge.

Another sliding glass and black-aluminium door between kitchen and hallway means Jing can still keep watch on three-year-old Hannah and five-year-old Roger.

Hannah proudly told her preschool teacher, “I’ve got a new sparkle house!”




True design and build

In the home building industry, offering a complete design and build service can be an attractive marketing tool, but whether a company can actually deliver is another matter. Craig Freeman, Director of David Magill Builders says you need to look behind the glossy websites and smooth commentary to discover if a company really ‘walks its talk’.



The team at David Magill Builders offers design and build in its purest form, demonstrating upfront transparency, true flexibility and an unbeatable ‘can-do’ attitude that puts the client ahead of business.

Flexibility lies at the core of a true design and build service; to earn the title it must be about making ideas into reality in the way the client wants it to happen.

“While we have strong relationships with local designers specialising in every type of home, we happily work with your chosen designer and products you like. We also have our own highly skilled, longstanding sub trades, but can work with contacts and resources that you might have, as long as their standards match ours. It’s a point of difference that we are very proud of!”

Brought to every detail of each project is Craig’s legendary attitude.

“I challenge others saying ‘it can’t be done’ – we disregard reasons not to and through lateral thinking we zero in on how we can get it done,” Craig says.

So intent is Craig that he will engineer solutions himself.

“Bespoke is more than a word; it’s being able to do it. We make it in the workshop or on-site using hand tools – and if you are not doing that you are not true design and build.”

The craftsmanship skills gained from ‘old school’ carpentry experience has bridged the gap between old and modern high-tech systems; resulting in some impressive ingenuity in design and build – often only seen in architectural homes.

For one owner, a copper front door was a heart’s desire.

Difficulty in product supply resulted in Craig and his team custom making it in-house for a fraction of the cost.

Meanwhile an existing house with a double stud height lounge room was designed to have a circular mezzanine floor added to create a library space.

The engineering plans specified an octagon with a circle inside – an ‘outside the square’ request.

An expensive continuous circular 100mm-deep beam was required, so Craig made it in-house, drawing the beam on his steel bench, calculating the dimensions, dividing the circumference into six individual pieces, making a form in the workshop to press the laminates together, cutting and fitting the pieces, before fixing the beam on site.

The end result: another very happy client. Now that’s design and build!


At the building forefront

Having been locally owned and operated since inception in 1984, Fowler Homes Christchurch has been at the forefront of designing and building quality homes and commercial buildings for countless satisfied buyers for close to four decades.



As recipients of both the Master Builders House of the Year and the Commercial Project Awards, Fowler Homes Christchurch continues to offer the best value and products to all clients.

The company’s primary point of difference is clarity.

When you choose Fowler Homes Christchurch, Ivan Stanicich or Dustin Stanley will guide you through the whole process from the first line on your plans.

They will price what you want in your home, obtain building consent, project manage your build right through to completion, before handing over of your keys or the digital code for your front door.

The suppliers and contractors used by Fowler Homes Christchurch are some of the very best in Canterbury, guaranteeing you the best quality and value.

Also, all work is backed by a 10-year Master Build Guarantee so you can be assured you’re in safe hands.

Proof of this is the fact that more than 85 percent of all business is for repeat and referred clients.

We take this all seriously, while still providing a level of fun for you the customer.

So, contact Fowler Homes Christchurch today to find out more about how the team can make your dream home a reality.


Crafting Homes

When it comes to building on the hills, only the very best in experience and expertise will do, and that’s where renowned hill builders, Steve Brown Builders comes in. Director Steve Brown has been bringing dreams to life in conjunction with leading architects for 30 years.



“We offer our clients a quality service, we are approachable and personable, with communication as our hallmark, and that has naturally led to our longevity and great reputation,” Steve says.

“We are always incredibly proud of our end product and it’s a favourite moment to hand it to its new owner.”

A stunning project – not on the hills but requiring the ingenuity, craftsmanship and planning of the toughest hill build – was the authentically faithful like-for-like rebuild of a 1913 earthquake-damaged mansion that required complete demolition, much to its owners’ sorrow.

Today the two-storey brick and half-timbered home’s extensive ornate plaster ceilings, Italian marble fireplaces, leadlights and panelling are proudly in place.

“We don’t often get to build these and were delighted that the owner opted to rebuild, to illustrate our skills,” Steve says.

Forty-five years’ experience gives Steve a rare depth of knowledge about specialised builds, giving his team a huge advantage.

“In those days we did everything without the benefit of the specialist trades that now come in. I like to think that our apprentices gain the ability to do all the work if required, and are highly skilled in most areas when they become qualified,” Steve says.

“You can see the craft in the homes we build.”


City’s first 7-star showhome: Pringle Homes

Award-winning design and build company, Pringle Homes, has built Christchurch’s first 7-star Homestar-rated showhome and you can find it at 9 Falcon Road, Falcons Landing.



Homestar is a rating tool which measures the health, warmth and efficiency of New Zealand houses, and is administered by the Green Building Council.

Pringle Homes has a qualified assessor on their team to help you design a home that meets your efficiency and sustainability goals. This house was designed and built as a response to the growing demand from clients looking for a warm, dry and healthy home, built to consider its environmental impact. An increased level of insulation, thermally broken, low E and argon-filled windows, and a ducted heat pump, creates a gorgeous living environment in all weather and water efficient tapware, and a mixture of cork wood flooring and carpet created from recycled materials considers the environment in this stylish home.

Their very experienced team can expertly guide you through a comprehensive building process, partnering with experts in interior design and architecture, and securing only the best trades for your new home. Pringle Homes are committed to providing you with high quality showhomes to demonstrate their impeccable workmanship and showcasing the latest in design flair and technology.

If you’d like to visit the team for a chat, both 9 Falcon Road and next door at 2 Amur Crescent are open Wednesday to Sunday 12pm-4pm. For a virtual tour of these houses and previous showhomes, visit



Let’s talk architectural builds: David Magill Builders

New landmarks are rising in central Christchurch on a satisfyingly regular basis and the latest building to catch our eye will break ground before Christmas.



Built by David Magill Builders, this three-story home on the corner of Cranmer Square and Chester Street West will be a milestone on your journey north across the city, planting its roots and taking its place in the 170-year history of Cranmer Square.

In fact, we can look forward to a long future association with this home – its foundation comprises piling down to 16 metres, with a raft floor laid on top of that, and a comprehensive structural steel superstructure by Blueprint Consulting Engineers. The striking silhouette created by the semi-rooved deck on the top floor is complemented by the unusual charred cedar cladding. Originally a Japanese technique, the charring is done by Christchurch-based company Chartek. Once sealed the blackened wood weathers, but does not require the maintenance that ordinary cedar does.


The owners of the home are current inner-city dwellers who are keen supporters of a thriving centre and love the CBD lifestyle. Architect Kelly Rush of Krush Architecture has designed a clever home where owners and guests can operate independently if they choose.

The top floor hosts the master bed, ensuite and wardrobe and opens out to the partly covered deck. The middle floor contains the kitchen, lounge and living area plus another deck, while the ground floor is dedicated to three bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.

Director of David Magill Craig Freeman says completing this home will take 12 months, as it’s an interesting design located in a busy area which impacts on access. “This build is right in our ball park – all of our buildings have a degree of difficulty, whether that be design, location, client, or sometimes all three, and we are very comfortable with that.”


Craig assumed ownership of the company on the retirement of David Magill in 2016. Dedicated to continuing the values that David instilled in him and the rest of the team, Craig says, “Everyone has been together for a long time, including our subcontractors. The mission has always been to be well-respected among our peers, and we are so proud that no-one ever has a bad word to say about us.”

Craig brings a unique and desirable skill set to his role. In a previous life he served the country in the New Zealand Army. Discipline in all areas is innate to his approach, while communication with people is a real strength. “I can talk with anyone, and zero in on what is important to them.”

His training brings an incredibly valuable agility to a project. “We are not stuck in any comfort zone or set routine, so we react quickly and positively to any road block.”


Craig places a lot of emphasis on being proactive, rather than reactive. “It buys us a lot of time.”

Every job is worked on by in-house carpenters. “It is vital that their trade and craftsmanship is top notch”. The company works with contactors that they have had a relationship with for several years. “I went through my apprenticeship with a lot of the people who are now leading the companies that we work with,” Craig says.

David Magill Builders happily runs a gamut of homes from $2 million to first home and retirement homes, with five house and land packages becoming available at Ravenswood for $500k, and an entry-level show home at Ravenswood open next year. “What our clients have in common is that they want well-designed, bespoke and interesting homes but with value for money. They seek top-quality products but not necessarily the designer label on them,” Craig says. “And you shouldn’t have to compromise on your quality, your tradespeople, design or the interest on a modest budget.”


Driven by a determination to do a good job and honour all promises made to clients, Craig cannot understand why anyone would take the ‘over-promise under-deliver’ approach. He ensures his team go out of their way to hit targets and do a great job. “Regardless of size or price, in 20-50 years, I want people to say ‘who built this incredibly well-constructed home?’”