Julie and Terry Cooney have a soft spot for Kinloch having spent many years enjoying lakeside holidays there with family. So, when two perfect sections became available a few years ago, they snapped them up and made the bold decision to build their own big, beautiful family holiday home.
Family is important to Julie and Terry. The couple have three adult sons and three young grandchildren and love spending time with them whenever possible. They also love spending time in Kinloch, a small, picturesque village on the shores of Lake Taupō, where Julie’s brother has had a holiday home for many years.
“We always said that if we were going to build, it would be there,” Julie says. “And it would have to be on a site that has views of the mountain as well as the lake.” So, when Julie and Terry happened to be in Kinloch just as two ideal sections alongside each other popped up for sale, they made the bold decision to buy both – allowing them to build on one and preserve their lakeside views by keeping the other free from potential future builds.
The Cooney’s had the original plans for their holiday home drawn up by a local architect some years ago. “We got to the stage where the plans were submitted to council,” says Julie. “But for a number of reasons, we didn’t progress, and things were put on hold for a few years.”
When the time was right, the couple decided the best course of action was to put their holiday home in the hands of a trusted building company.
“We didn’t have the experience or knowledge to manage the build ourselves,” says Julie. “I knew that Landmark Homes built premium homes so we went along to see some of their Showhomes in Cambridge and Tauranga and really liked what we saw.
“As a starting point I rang Landmark Homes Taupō for a chat, and the next day we were meeting with Steven Painter on site. Things moved pretty quickly from there! I just had complete trust and faith in them from the very beginning.”
With the plans being a few years old by this stage, the Cooney’s had some changes in mind. “Steven was amazing. He made it very simple to have the plans changed to exactly what we wanted,” says Julie.
The couple added on a fifth bedroom and a second living area and changed the layout to accommodate the addition. “Steven also suggested we increase the size of the front deck. We initially didn’t think we’d use that deck very much because the weather on that side can be a lot cooler. It was originally planned as more of a viewing platform to take in the views. But Steven pointed out that when the weather is good, we’d want to make the most of it. I’m so glad we listened because the weather is much better than we expected, and we use it a lot!
High on the list of must-haves for the Cooney’s home was a two-level floorplan that would capture those enviable views from all directions. Generous floor-to-ceiling glazing features throughout the home, and, with two decks and a beautifully landscaped section, there are plenty of options to enjoy the views from the outdoors too.
“Because this is a holiday home for our growing family, we wanted it to be comfortable and spacious so that everyone could come together with enough space without being on top of each other,” says Julie.
Fair to say that has been masterfully delivered on with a sprawling 490m² floorplan. The lower level has been designed to offer self-contained separate living with three bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and kitchenette. “That means that as our family grows, the space can be enjoyed as a private retreat, or it could even be rented out if we want to do that at some stage.”
With the lake within walking distance and a family of fishing and boating enthusiasts, another key must-have was a large garage space for housing all the water toys. “We’ve got an enormous garage with plenty of space which means room for the kayaks and boat – they tend to take priority over the cars!”
Like most builds over the past few years, one of the biggest ‘flies in the ointment’ of the Cooney’s build was the dreaded ‘C’ word.
“We started building in 2020 with an initial completion date set for October,” says Julie. “But with the lockdowns came inevitable delays. Naturally, we were hopeful we’d be able to spend Christmas with family in our holiday home – and Landmark Homes pulled out all the stops to make that happen.
“Thanks to their amazing efforts, we had our family Christmas in the new home as planned. We’re incredibly grateful for that – it was wonderful to have that first holiday together.”
Julie says that one of the things she enjoys most about the new home is the walk from her bedroom to the living area. “It’s just everything I wanted it to be,” she says. “The views capture exactly what we wanted – the essence of the lake and mountain. And the landscape is always changing, sometimes the mountain is hidden, other times it comes out to say “hi” and that’s always a magical moment.
“Physically, there are lots of things we love about it – it’s a beautiful house that fits within its environment so perfectly. But more than that is the sense of ‘home’. It has a really lovely feel about it.”
A favourite space for the grandkids when they visit is the separate lounge upstairs – or as they call it, ‘the toy room’. “It’s a cosy, carpeted room that can be closed off to create a lovely snug feel, especially in winter.”
Julie says that one of the boldest – and best – decisions they made with their build was to go big. “Making the decision to change the plans and add on extra rooms was a bold decision, but I’m really grateful we did.
“Having Steven to talk it through with was incredibly helpful. We decided that if we were going to build with a large footprint anyway, we may as well do it properly and have the best house possible. And even though it’s a very big house, it still feels homely and cosy.”
“Definitely, in fact I already have done!
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the result,” says Julie. “I’m not experienced in building homes, but I do know that our home is a quality build. You can just sense the quality and high standard of craftsmanship from the moment you enter. We’ve also had friends and family visit who are in the building trade that have remarked on the high standard of the build which is really nice to hear.
“The whole experience has been really positive, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Ready to take the first step toward building your own dream holiday home? Contact your local Landmark Homes team today and let’s make it happen!