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Why this couple removed their rundown bach to build their forever home

Knocking down the bach and building a permanent home in its place has resulted in the perfect mix of style and comfort for this Raumati couple

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Meet + Greet

Bryan Gundersen, 70 (semi-retired barrister), Jan Gundersen, 67 (part-time legal secretary)

Living at the bach permanently is a dream for many city-dwellers, but when it comes to the crunch, how many would be courageous enough to make the move? Wellington residents Bryan and Jan Gundersen had long hoped to make Raumati Beach their full-time residence, but decided to place the final decision in the hands of Mother Nature.

“We wanted to experience a winter on the Kapiti Coast before making a decision to demolish and build, and live at Raumati Beach permanently,” says Jan. Their old holiday home was a low-cost build that wasn’t fit for purpose as a permanent residence. Once the couple decided a west-coast winter was definitely tolerable, they started to look into replacing the old house.

“We decided not to renovate as all the advice we received told us it wouldn’t be worthwhile (it was a prefab build that did not have good ‘bones’) and was best to start again,” tells Jan.

The design

Upon visiting a David Reid Homes showhome at Ferndale in Waikanae, the couple felt an instant connection with both its look and its design. The pavilion-style home, clad in black Linea Oblique Weatherboard and cedar, felt like the perfect fit for what they wanted to achieve.

“We loved the general feel of the show home and decided that, with some changes in configuration, it would work on our site,” says Jan. “The one major innovation we made, inspired by our site and input from David Reid Homes, was a ‘see-through’ design feature that links the front of the section with the swimming pool at the rear.”

Good outdoor living was important to the Gundersens, who wanted to be able to comfortably host their three children and five grandchildren. Creating a light, airy and functional house which offered plenty of connection with the outdoors was their goal. This was achieved with a dual-wing pavilion design – the dining room, lounge, kitchen and scullery, and media room are in one wing, and the master suite, study, two bedrooms, main bathroom, laundry and internal double garage are in the other.

“The two wings are connected by an entrance foyer, which is of a transparent design, so as one approaches the front door and enters the house, one sees right through to the rear of the section and the swimming pool,” says Bryan. “This line of sight is complemented by a boardwalk up to the entrance foyer and out the other side.”

The pavilion design allows plenty of quality time spent with family – as well as just the right amount of privacy. “The living and entertaining pavilion is separate from the functional rooms and the master bedroom is separated from the two spare bedrooms by the study, meaning that when we have guests, they are ‘downstream’ of us!” laughs Jan.

The house

Jan and Bryan moved into a rental nearby in Paraparaumu while their old home was demolished and the site prepared for the David Reid Kapiti team. The build process was smooth, apart from one serious hiccup – the discovery of asbestos material in the old roof, both of the house and a separate garage, which had to be removed by specialists and caused “both some angst and expense”.

However, after a nine-month build, the Gundersens found themselves moving into their brand-new home. From the outset, one of the things they loved best about it was its handsome appearance and the way it interacts with the landscape.

“We love the exterior of the home, its location on the site and its see-through design,” says Jan. “These attributes in combination with each other give the home, we think, tremendous street appeal.” Upon approach to this home, the combo of cedar with alternating 300mm and 200mm Linea Oblique weatherboards create a bold contrast. The weatherboards are Dulux Blackwood Bay, the soffits are white HardieGroove Lining and the roof is Colorsteel ‘Flax Pod’.

“Linea Oblique Weatherboard was used on the David Reid show home in Waikanae, which we loved,” says Jan. “We liked the horizontal panels in black as they create a sharp and attractive contrast to the cedar cladding.”

The living

While the Gundersens love the exterior look of their home, they also particularly love its exterior spaces. “We have three outdoor areas. At the front we have an exposed aggregate patio accessed by large sliding glass doors; at the rear we have an expansive deck and louvered veranda accessed by large sliding glass doors; and along the bedroom side we have a boardwalk accessed from the rooms by glass sliding doors that lead to (among other things) the spa. All these areas, plus the see-through design, give the home a look and feel that we love,” says Jan.

On the inside, a decor described as “modern and simple – almost minimalistic” leaves plenty of room for enjoying life. A neutral colour palette is warmed by natural wood, and just a few much-loved heirlooms add character. “We have a lot of affection for our antique French ormolu cabinet which has been in Jan’s family for many years,” says Bryan.

The couple look forward to many more years in their home (yes, even the winters). “The only changes we’re contemplating are to further renovate the interior of the second garage and sleep-out and to upgrade the swimming pool surrounding area,” says Jan. “But we plan to stay in this home for a long time.”

Your new-build worksheet

To help you on your own new-build journey, the Gundersens have shared contacts, finishes and hard-won tips and advice on budgeting in this handy, downloadable worksheet. Simply click here or on the image below to download yours now.

Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Simon Wilson and Leroy James Photography.

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