Tired of living in rented apartments, Daisy and Israel Dagg approached a housing company to design and build their first home. The result is a suburban sanctuary far from any cookie-cutter mould
There is a misconception that homes designed and built by housing companies are cast from a common mould. The home that Daisy Dagg designed and decorated – built by a nationwide housing company – blows that theory clean out of the water. Daisy and her husband, renowned rugby union player Israel Dagg (Izzy), are both originally from the North Island. Daisy’s family home is near the beach in Gisborne and Israel is from the Hawke’s Bay. Rugby commitments brought them south, first to Dunedin, where Israel played for the Highlanders, and then to Christchurch in early 2011 when he was recruited to the Crusaders.
Renting fully furnished apartments was an easy option initially, but eventually the transience of moving into and out of new places lost its appeal. Israel was usually training in the lead-up to the scheduled move so that was an added complication. “We always go home for summer so packing up our possessions, two cars and a boat became quite a big deal, especially as it always ended up with me doing it by myself,” Daisy laughs.
When a friend called to say there was a section for sale next door to his home in a subdivision that was “safe and lovely”, Daisy leapt at the chance of creating a home base. She visited a few show homes before choosing Golden Homes to tackle their project. Building started in January 2013 and the couple were given the keys just six months later. “The timing was terrible as Izzy was away on a training camp with the All Black squad,” says Daisy.
But at least this time, moving single-handedly was a one-off effort. Daisy loved the challenge of designing and decorating her own suburban retreat, and worked closely alongside the team at Golden Homes, tweaking plans to create the couple’s ideal first home. “I had a very hands-on approach,” says Daisy. “I think the project manager got a little sick of me.” She was so inspired by the project that she embarked on a Diploma in Interior Design, completing the course, which normally takes a year, in just six months. “I used our home for many of the assignments,” says Daisy.
Living rooms are positioned on one side of the house, separated from three bedrooms, a study, bathrooms and a laundry by a hallway that runs from the double garage on the road frontage down to the master bedroom at the opposite end of the sun-drenched home.
The spacious north-facing living room and kitchen open to a huge deck where cane loungers, a dining suite, barbecue and gas heater define a superb outdoor living room. Stacker doors slide back to create an indoor/outdoor entertaining area that can be used year-round. “We love entertaining and wanted a big deck,” says Daisy, although the resulting 90-square-metre kwila deck area is “probably a bit bigger than we expected,” she concedes. “We love getting the barbecue out so this works really well for cooking and serving. We are both North Islanders at heart.”
When the couple started building, they had no furniture, having always lived in ready-furnished apartments. “It was quite daunting at the time, but I went out and bought the essential things and now I keep collecting as I go,” says Daisy. She made most of the design decisions with the exception of the large leather and suede ‘big boys’ corner couch’ in the front lounge. “Izzy is not into interiors. It’s just not his thing. But he did choose the corner lounge suite.” During summer they love to be outside, but in winter Israel and Daisy’s ideal night-in is spent relaxing in the cosy lounge on the soft settee.
Daisy favours a rustic style and calm, soothing colours. She has chosen decor and furniture to minimise the contemporary feel of the new home. The matching dining table, buffet and coffee table combine steel and wood to look aged and industrial. “I was stoked to find those pieces. They really suit my style,” says Daisy. Assorted photographic images of memorable and loved North Island beach spots feature on walls and in frames on shelves. Many of the pictures were taken by Daisy.
Daisy is an avid cook and with friend and fellow rugby wife Amber Vito, she started The Rugby Pantry food blog. “Amber and I share a huge passion for food. We share easy, simple and nutritious recipes, as well as tips and advice and regular posts about what the boys are eating,” says Daisy. The blog is attracting increasing attention from foodies and rugby fanatics alike.
Her passion for food is evident in the garden, jointly designed by Daisy, her grandmother and landscape designer Ollie Newman of Onlandscapes. A generous vegetable patch is abundant with lush green produce. “I flew Grandma down when we moved in and she helped me plant the vegetable garden,” says Daisy.
As far as creating their own slice of paradise, Daisy is delighted with the outcome. “Gisborne will always be home but this is our home away from home. We love this place. It’s calming, comfortable and so open it feels like summer even on a winter’s day.”
Words by: Ady Shannon
Photography by: Guy Frederick