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Growing an English Rose: DJ Hewitt Builders

The family of a Strowan home describe her as a beautiful English Rose – an ode to iconic Christchurch history.

Angee and Chris Robertson fell in love with the spaciousness and strong bones of their character villa two years ago, now renovated with robust modern comforts by DJ Hewitt Builders.

“I kept hearing Daryl’s name come up when parents chatted about their home-build experiences,” says Angee, a former English teacher at Shirley Boys and St Margaret’s College.

“We had endured the highs and lows of building before, and as busy professionals with two young children we wanted a team of reliability, high quality and integrity.

“They guided us through every step of the project. Everything was on time and pre-calculated, with no surprises. The workmanship was faultless! It shows they love what they do, and Daryl did some of the work himself.”

Utilising the sunny 800sqm section was the next plan, but the Robertson’s since chose an adventure in Auckland. Elmwood is now for sale, after having only three owners in 110 years.

Transformed with personality from a house to a home, clean lines and clean colours created a classic palette.

“It’s so light and bright. To me a home is synesthetic, to involve all your senses.

“With the styling from Lume Design, the massive, beautiful kitchen was modernised and a long island bench created our home’s hub and heart. Bathrooms tend to be a quiet space of luxury, so we chose art deco-style Italian tiles and double showers with deluxe rain heads.

“Everything was completely rewired and well insulated, with new windows, and there is a heat pump, gas fire and log burner.”

The old garage on the north-facing section, was completely rebuilt to look like it has always been there, and includes a guestroom or fourth double bedroom, with its own elegant bathroom.

“Both Daryl and Tara treated us like family, making the process simple and pain-free. They were knowledgeable, genuine and warm. We never felt like a number, and through DJ Hewitt we created not just a point of difference, but a point of excellence. Any family would feel at home here.”

Visit to view the home.


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.


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!”




The house with everything: DJ Hewitt Builders

Celebrating 25 years in business building outstanding houses, DJ Hewitt is thrilled to enter a superlative home in the 2019 Master Builders House of the Year regional competition in the category: House over $2 million. Having taking a sabbatical from House of the Year entries for almost a decade, this stunning entry brings DJ Hewitt to the forefront of competition once again.



Anchored into the hill high above McCormacks Bay, this is a house with everything: views for inspiration, volcanic rock for grounding, steel for strength, glass for insight and cladding in cedar wood for dreams. Its impeccable dimensions by O’Neil Architecture draw the gaze and hold it: the flat roof combined with the deep-set eaves, the geometric pattern of the black window framing, the snappy white surround to the second and third stories, volcanic rock cladding the ground floor and warm cedar above. It makes for a pleasing and harmonious whole: looking at this house could become addictive.

The stunning home was a 20-month build that saw the tight-knit team overcome all the challenges associated with the hill site, as well as everything that mother nature had to throw at them. For Director Daryl Hewitt, the whole project is a stand out, “for its placement on the site, its architectural merit, its design and flow, the materials used – all the boxes are ticked”.



At three stories it is an impressive home as you look up from the causeway and, once on site, the commanding 220-degree view takes you to another world. The panorama of the Kaikoura ranges around to the Heathcote Valley constantly feeds the soul with a palette of changing light and seasons. DJ Hewitt has been working with Fox Surveyors for years. “We always get them to set out our homes, they are professional and helpful,” Daryl says.

There are four forms of cladding on the house – cedar planking, adjustable steel louvres by LouvreTec, Rockcote, and the local volcanic stone which is continued into landscaping and retaining walls, specially laid to resemble the dry stonewalling technique of interlocking stones, any mortar used barely visible.



The double glazed and laminated aluminium framed windows from the Vantage Metro Series were manufactured and installed by Hagley Windows and Doors, while the spacious deck in Innowood, a sustainable alternative to timber, is protected from prevailing winds by Glassforce structural frameless balustrading held with spider brackets, which is also used for the full height of two levels up the stairway, to stunning effect.

The sleek interior feels band-box fresh in a neutral palette, with a luxurious range of textures chosen by the owners in conjunction with interior co-ordinator Tara Hewitt. A hotel-style lift to accommodate six is paired with the steel and glass staircase, an art installation in its own right. Systems within the house are all fully automated and can be controlled from a smart phone.



The wine cellar occupies the bottom level of the house along with a spacious storage area, accessed through a secret door. Engineered by Powell Fenwick, the house is set into the hillside and sits on a complex foundation of steel and concrete approaching commercial levels. “It is a very strong home,” Daryl says.

Happy owners of the house Russell and Mary love the whole thing. “We love the wine cellar, the stair well, the orientation and layout that takes full advantage of the view.” Russell was hands-on in the wine cellar design. “It is the ideal spot for a wine cellar – it is naturally cool down there but actually it is mainly a whisky display,” Russell says, “not because I am a particular whisky aficionado, it is more in homage to Scottish ancestry”.



Mary and Russell chose Daryl and his team to bring their vision to life because they had visited a DJ Hewitt show home “which stood out to us as so well designed and immaculately finished”. They had also got to know Daryl on the local dog-walking circuit, and of course were aware of DJ Hewitt’s unrivalled reputation as a specialist hill builder.

“It was wonderful to have the help of Tara Hewitt’s interior design skills as a part of the wrap-around, start to finish service we received,” Russell says. “It was Tara and Daryl’s idea to paint the ceiling black above the full-height void which contains our kitchen, living, dining and gallery. We are thrilled with how it looks, it’s just fantastic and Tara’s help with things like the wallpaper selections was invaluable.”



Mary and Russell lived on this site in a previous home so were well aware of its challenges and advantages, as well as where best to capture the views. “Both designer and builders’ attention to detail has been amazing, and we’ve become friends with the team; they are really great people.”

“Every house we build sticks in my mind – any house you have great clients, working closely to fulfil a dream,” Daryl says. However, this house is very special. Daryl particularly loves the lift – they are becoming more popular in private homes – as well as the full-height void with its signature black ceiling and the automated louvres on the walls and roof.



Specialist hill and architectural builders, new projects come to DJ Hewitt through word of mouth and architects’ request. “The truth is that houses don’t have to be large to be good. Often these days we are building more compact homes which follow the movement to being very thermally efficient, although all our homes have been insulated to above the code, ever since I’ve been in business.”

Constantly busy building dream homes with several architectural projects on the go at any given moment, DJ Hewitt found time to celebrate their 25 years of business with an awards night held at Hagley Windows and Doors with All Blacks motivational speaker Gilbert Enoka addressing attendees. Highly valued subtrades that have worked for DJ Hewitt for 25, 20, 15 or 10 years received appreciation awards.



“We are like a big family,” Daryl says. “Everyone knows what to do and we turn out fabulous homes for great clients.”



DJ Hewitt

Behind the construction scenes: DJ Hewitt

“We are happy to hold their hand every step of the way,” says Daryl Hewitt. The whole package can be provided from working with engineers, designers, and the council, through to interior design – Tara Hewitt’s professional expertise.


DJ Hewitt


After nearly a quarter of a century building residential homes, the Christchurch-based company is synonymous not only with exceptional quality on every single project, but for making the build stress free and enjoyable. “Strong, tough, reliable and good looking – and that’s just the builders!” says Daryl, the hands-on director who combines a sense of humour and passion for the job, with a perfectionist’s work ethic. Transparent honesty is both Daryl’s weakness and his strength – which also takes stress out of the equation, as does the fact that he helps you make the decisions. “You get what to you pay for,” he says. Described as “a human calculator” Daryl makes the right decisions to ensure every job stays to budget. He will work through the advantages and cost-effective and future-proofed outcomes for each scenario, for the client’s benefit in the long run.


DJ Hewitt

“Most people say they’ll never build again before they start – but we’ve had people say this, only to build three more homes with us!”
The company’s forte is architectural builds, including bespoke smaller homes – which have gained popularity with couples and singles – and also extensions and renovations. The team of 20 works anywhere within 40 minutes of Christchurch. They can help choose a site, or assess the best way to utilise an existing section. Smart homes, energy efficient and stronger, safer, affordable builds is the specialty.
“We build to suit the client’s needs, and their wish list. I’ve always been very fussy, so our clients get the same quality of workmanship and service, whatever their budget. Each package is tailor-made to suit.”


DJ Hewitt

“One client went away for three months, assured a better job would be done without his presence!” The proficient office team ensures regular updates on every project, no matter where in the world the client is based. DJ Hewitt is about relationship building. “We get many comments from neighbours, on our work ethics, how tidy we leave the site, and how courteous our guys and subcontractors are,” he says. “Kevin, our builder, has been with us 23 years and Noel 19 years, and we’ve trained many an apprentice. Some of our subcontractors have been with us over two decades. Loyalty goes a long way. They know exactly what I expect with each job.”

Trust is key. “I want the clients to be happy, no matter what – that’s my goal.” DJ Hewitt’s in-house magazine, Home 2, has 140-pages of inspiration.


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