With generous spaces and bright Nordic-inspired interior style, this new-build in Queenstown adds style to busy family life
Meet and greet
Justine McLellan, owner of Kinsfolk online store and customs officer, Carrick McLellan, operator of Sunrise Balloons, Fletcher, 6, Carter, 4, and Milla, 9 months, plus dogs Buddy and Olly.
This beautiful Queenstown new-build proves family living can be stylish
South Islanders Justine and Carrick McLellan have always loved Queenstown’s majestic mountains and stunning natural scenery. But although they wanted their kids, Fletcher, Carter and baby Milla, to grow up in such a beautiful place, the couple weren’t sure they’d ever be able to afford a proper family home in the booming area.
The McLellans, who previously owned a house in Lake Hayes, were also keen to start from scratch and create a purpose-built home. Despite their doubts about affordability, they kept looking and heard about a new subdivision 15 minutes’ drive from central Queenstown. One visit showed them it was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they’d been waiting for.
They found an 800-square-metre section that fitted their brief perfectly and bought it in 2014. “It has amazing views that can’t be built out,” Justine says. “The daycare and primary school are a short walk away from our doorstep, and there is a high school being built nearby. Even though our home is private and feels secluded, we are part of a family-focused area where a lot of our friends and their children live.”
Getting it right
Once Justine and Carrick secured their section, they started thinking about the look of their new house and how they wanted it to sit on the land. Although the couple were buying as part of a new subdivision, they were allowed to design the house themselves rather than choosing from pre-drawn plans. “The building consultant was good to us, guiding us as we put together our ideas and vision,” Justine says.
Construction began in January 2016. The McLellans chose to locate their house at the back of the site to allow plenty of open space for the children to play out the front. The elevated section provides views of Queenstown uninterrupted by any of the surrounding homes.
A vision in place
The couple set their priorities early: practicality and views were paramount. They achieved this by designing a single living space including the kitchen, dining and living areas, which Justine calls the Long Room. A playroom also leads off this area. “We wanted to not always be walking over toys in the lounge, while also keeping the kids near us,” Justine says. “It helps keep the mess controlled. When the kids are older it will be used as more of a media room or office.”
The floor plan also includes a main bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, plus two bedrooms for the three children. Upstairs is a loft with a guest bedroom and ensuite.
The kitchen boasts a large, walk-in pantry, as well as a big cupboard that Justine designed for power points, computers, files and the vacuum cleaner. Behind its door, phones and computers can be stored and charged without cords getting in the way of daily life. The playroom has a large cabinet, too, housing all the children’s toys. “We wanted the interior to be practical and simple. Anything we have in the kitchen, such as small appliances and computers, can easily be put away,” says Justine. Upstairs, any empty cavities under the roof have been turned into cupboards with lockable doors. “This is ideal for suitcases and items that we don’t use regularly,” Justine says.
Pale and interesting
Justine prefers the natural materials of Nordic design. “In previous houses I rolled with whatever decor existed there,” she says. “But building this house encouraged me to focus on what we wanted – it’s easier to do this when you build a house yourself.” Despite embracing a simple and neutral aesthetic, she ensured it was also cosy. “We used natural materials such as sheepskin and hide, and blond wood for a lived-in feel.” Pale floorboards run throughout the home, with carpet only in the bedrooms.
The McLellans love their brand-new home, but Justine is being careful not to clutter it up with new stuff. “I’m more conscious than I used to be about buying a piece of furniture and bringing it into the house,” she says. “If I’m not sure, I’m not buying it!”
Words by: Catherine Steel. Photography by: Kate Claridge.