A nose for a good deal combined with DIY skills has given this couple’s New Plymouth new-build plenty of soul — without breaking the bank
Meet + greet
Jane Murray, 37 (stay-at-home mum), Marc Murray, 37 (engineer), Arlo, 6, and Herbie, 3, plus Buddy the Labrador.
If there were a crown for New Zealand’s Best Bargain Hunter, it would belong on Jane Murray’s head. Not only is this stay-at-home mum an expert at upcycling and recycling, she’s also got a knack for finding super-stylish items on sale.
It’s a skill that came in handy when Jane and husband Marc built their house in Whalers Gate, a new subdivision in New Plymouth. “When you’re on a limited budget, you have to get clever about doing things,” says Jane
Best lessons learned? Jane: Stay on top of the budget (and your building team) to make sure you’re on track with finances and the time frame.
What would you never do again? I wouldn’t install heated towel rails. They’re not something we ever use and we really only put them in for resale value. If I did it again, I’d use the towel holders from Made of Tomorrow.
Any DIY disasters? To save money we chose not to install a wire wardrobe system in our wardrobes as I’m not a huge fan. Instead, we hung IKEA rails, most of which have stayed up, but the ones in our bedroom fell down, leaving big holes in the wall which now needs re-plasterboarding. For now, I’ve ‘installed’ a floral arrangement in the wall. In hindsight, we should have gone with what we are currently using: IKEA floor racks.
Anything else you’d change about your house if you could? The kitchen splashback. Initially, we used smaller, whiter square tiles but, once they were in place, they showed up major defects and cracks so I had to quickly choose another tile. Because the new tiles were much greyer I changed the grout to a light grey, rather than the black I wanted. It’s a small thing but it always annoys me.
Most memorable experience in your home so far? Moving-in day. We feel so lucky to have been able to design and build a home for ourselves and our family.
Jane: We rented while the house was being built and, in those months, I sold most of our old furniture and started buying new items. When it came time to move in, unpacking it all felt like Christmas.
Land purchase $195,000
Build contract $378,000 including blinds and partial landscaping (we spent $14,000 on landscaping but it wasn’t enough to finish it).
See more of the New Plymouth home’s interior style below
Photography by: The Virtue.