Easy Living at its Finest

When retirees Pam Bagnall and her husband Jim moved from Wellington to Levin, they were looking for an easier lifestyle, with a quality, easy-to-maintain home. And that’s exactly what they got.


The funny story is, although they did have a move in mind, the couple found their stunning section completely by chance! After lunching one Sunday they took a drive and ended up on Pinot Crescent. They both agreed that the site – right next door to a vineyard, and with a view of the Tararua Ranges, was beautiful.

“By the following day, we owned it! It was the most expensive lunch we’ve ever had!”

With the section ready, it was time to choose a building company. The Bagnalls had built five times previously (“it’s a running joke in my family how often we move!”) but never with Landmark. It was the Otaki plan that initially caught their attention after Jim found it browsing the Landmark website.

Then, after reaching out the Manawatu team, they were immediately impressed. “We talked to Shane Turnbull and Monica Bright, discussed the plans, and showed them our section. We’ve both been in business, and in a position of authority, and we know when someone is doing a presentation well. Needless to say, they made an impression!”

The Otaki plan Jim had originally picked was the one they went with. “Apparently, the house plan we chose was a beach home!” said Pam. “But we’re retired, and it’s perfect for us.”

With big windows that invite in the light and capture the stunning views, one-level layout, and central open-plan area that is easy to maintain and live in, they love it for its ease of living. It only took a few quick alterations to make it their own – changing the garage from a two-car to a three-car garage and repositioning a window in one of the front bedrooms for extra privacy.

When it came to interior design, Monica Bright, Landmark Manawatu’s Designer, was fantastic, says Pam. It was her knowledge of the different products that was particularly helpful and made decision-making that much easier. 

If the couple didn’t know where to go for certain fittings, the team would make suggestions of suppliers. And Monica would explain the pricing of different options, so they could make the right decision for them. “That was such a help. To me a kitchen sink is just a sink, but if you choose one that isn’t good quality, then you’re stuck.” smiled Pam.

That attention to detail paid off, and the kitchen is one of Pam’s favourite places in the house – complete with sleek extractor unit and handle-free doors to keep speedy toddler grandkids safe from bumps and bruises!

Once the initial design phase was complete, next came the consent and build process. While the consent took longer to come through, thanks to the popularity of their area, Landmark handled everything. “We didn’t have to do a thing,” says Jim. “The team kept us informed the whole way.”

Then as soon as the build began, it was all systems go. (And markedly different to previous builds the couple had done).

“When the builders started, they didn’t do a few little things and then slack off – it was a steady flow of work from start to finish, which wasn’t what we had experienced before. We were very happy.”

The quality of Landmark is a real stand-out

It wasn’t just the work ethic that stood out to the couple, but the quality of the workmanship too.

“When they were building, we thought straight away that it looked good. We know a retired builder, and he came along to have a nosey, and he was impressed with the build. Plus, he’s very picky. That gave it the real seal of approval!”

“In fact, one of the things about Landmark we loved from the start was the quality,” reflects Pam. “We’ve used a lot of “good” builders over the years, and something we’ve seen is that you get in and you start to use the space, you begin to feel that ‘oh, that’s not right’. And you’re not 100% happy. Things don’t stand up to use.”

“That is not the case here. The quality is apparent in our home. With our other builds the quality wasn’t always there.”

But despite the drive to deliver quality, the budget didn’t balloon. The opposite, in fact. “The team actually saved us quite a bit of money.” recalls Jim. “They went to suppliers they had developed relationships with, which helped us reduce costs – like saving us at least $3,000 with our carpets!”

So, would they recommend Landmark? “We definitely would, without a second thought.”

Two and a half years in and they’re just as happy in their home as they day they moved in.