When they decided to move to Cambridge, Simon and Sarah Cowan certainly weren’t expecting to build. But they are so happy that they did – and couldn’t be more delighted with their Landmark.
After scouring the area for a home for more than a year and finding nothing that ticked all their boxes – the couple were nowhere near closer to realising their Cambridge dreams.
So rather than wait another year or more for the unicorn property to come onto the market, they decided to build their own dream home themselves! “It ended up being a lot more cost-effective than trying to buy and renovate – and we got exactly what we wanted from our home.”
Like many families, they had a dollar amount in mind that they wanted to spend on the build.
“I did a lot of research into the different building different companies,” says Simon. “What we liked about Landmark from the get-go was the quality. Landmark were offering the highest-quality finish from the builders we looked at – and had the biggest house plans at our price point.”
With budget top-of-mind, the Cowans chose to use a ‘Ready to Build’ plan. “Doing so offered price certainty”, says Simon. And the Tekapo plan caught their eye for its size and aesthetic.
That being said, they did want to make changes to the floor plan and design to suit their needs and tastes – and that’s exactly the type of challenge the Landmark Homes design team relishes.
“Landmark gave us freedom to alter the plan to suit us and nothing was ever a problem. As the homeowner, it made us feel that we weren’t getting something cookie-cutter. Yes, we chose their Ready to Build plan, but they allowed us to make it ours and individual.”
Some of those changes included opening up the lounge, dining and family rooms into one big open-plan space to create a fantastic flow through the house. Turning the bathroom off the kitchen into a study nook, instead. Changing the sloping ceiling heights upstairs up to a standard 2.7m to give extra headroom. (“We’re a family of tall people!” laughs Simon).
His favourite change? The 3.5m high double doorway Landmark worked with a local joinery company to install in the entrance. “It’s so striking, and really does the big entranceway justice.”
“All the modifications we made to the plan were done with the budget in mind, I was grateful for Landmark – they had a very comprehensive price list, and if you wanted to upgrade anything, it wasn’t an issue or a hassle to do so,” says Simon.
When it came time to build, Landmark took care of all the consents – which was fantastic for the couple who were living in the South Island at the start of the project. And once they had moved North, they loved going to see the tidy, well-kept site.
A big stand-out was the open communication, which was very reassuring for these first-time builders. “The beauty of Landmark is that they supply a Project Manager,” says Simon. So, if you, have any questions, see any issues onsite (like the wrong frame being delivered – which was resolved overnight), or want to make any changes, it’s just the case of a quick phone call.
“We were in constant contact with our Project Manager, and the Landmark Homes Hamilton franchise owner, Will Quigley, would stay in touch with us to see how things were going. We never felt we couldn’t ring them, or it was uncomfortable to call – the easy access to them was great.”
Having been in their home for several years now, the family couldn’t be happier. Although sometimes Simon wished he stretched even further with the budget. “Hindsight is 20-20!”
The five-bedroom home features a host of windows and wonderful indoor-outdoor flow, to let the light spill in and to soak up the countryside views – and an outside space for relaxing, entertaining, or keeping an eagle eye on the kids in the pool.
“When it’s warm and sunny you can open the big bi-fold doors, and really open the house up to the outdoors. We’ve got two covered porticos on a concrete heated patio, and we love sitting under there all through the day, whether for a morning coffee or an afternoon wine.”
Meanwhile Sarah is over the moon her dream kitchen has come to life, complete with a classic English villa butler sink.
So, would they build again with Landmark Homes?
“Absolutely! I wouldn’t hesitate to build with Landmark Homes again or recommend them. We’re very happy with the home we’ve got…and my wife is incredibly house proud,” he laughs.