Designing and building their ultimate family home in Waihi Beach was the realisation of a long-held vision for this creative couple
Meet and greet
Mel Kaczon, florist and owner of Waihi’s Koru Florist & Home, John Kaczon, owner of engineering company Pinnacles Civil Group) Miller, 8, Janina, 7, and McKenna, 6, plus Brew the chocolate Labrador.
Building the dream
John and Mel Kaczon’s Waihi Beach home isn’t their first new-build, but they think it’s their best. So much so that it might well be their forever home. The couple had their hearts set on a house in Bay of Plenty’s Waihi Beach for many years but it took some time to get there.
“Waihi Beach was always where we wanted to bring our children up,” Mel says. “We searched and researched and decided on the subdivision at Maranui Estate – it was close enough to the beach, but far away enough to be safe. It was also walking distance to the shops, schools and restaurants.” Using the same architect and builder they’d used for their previous new-build in Athenree, the couple drew up plans for a fun, future-proofed family home with heaps of storage. In 2015, the foundations were finally laid on their dream site with ocean views.
The home has been designed to grow with its youngest inhabitants, with plenty of spill-over space and bedrooms that can be reconfigured to give the children more privacy. At present all three kids sleep in rooms feeding off the main upstairs passageway, with the two girls sharing a bedroom. However, the room downstairs, currently housing gym equipment, has been earmarked as son Miller’s future bedroom. The large rumpus next door, with ranch sliders opening into the carport, will be perfect for gatherings of teenagers.
Mel owns and runs Koru Florist & Home in Waihi and says she learned early in her retail career that you don’t buy everything you love and bring it home. Or at least, you try to keep the shopping under control. “It’s absolutely true that lots of pieces have made their way home!” she says. These include carved skulls, a leather butterfly chair, tin wall planters in the entranceway, and some of the artwork adorning the walls.
However, it’s not just Mel’s shop that has influenced her decor. A pencil sketch of her mother, who passed away in 2016, has pride of place in the lounge. Mel loves that her home includes many items inherited from her mum and nana. Vases, items in the china cabinet and an old lamp are some of those treasures.
Mel was keen for the main living area to have a “loft look” and feels the area is a mix of industrial and mid-century styles. Wood adds a rustic ambience, used most noticeably in the kitchen shelving, benchtop and the Mel-designed, attention-grabbing light above the kitchen island.
“I got the wood from a friend’s farm and had it water-blasted and dried,” she says, referring to the major component of her light. “That piece of wood nearly got put in the skip by the builders a few times. People thought I was crazy but I got the look I wanted, thanks to other friends who did the metalwork and the electrics.” The wooden dining table was the first piece Mel and John bought together and the mismatching metal stools at the kitchen island were sourced direct from a supplier.
White walls (Resene ‘Sea Fog’) provide a blank backdrop in this home. John and Mel’s previous home featured plenty of colour, which Mel has mixed feelings about. “I got bored with the colour quickly, but now I look at photos of the old house and think, ‘Oh, that was so yummy!’”
Prettiness rules in Janina and McKenna’s room. Mel styled the room around the pinks and peaches of a ballerina picture on the wall which was her mother’s and her nana’s before that. The girls think the history of the print is pretty special – it reminds them of their nana’s house.
An equal amount of attention has been paid to Miller’s room with its grey, white and yellow scheme. “Miller is a keen rugby player who has been sitting on the fence over whether to follow the Hurricanes (his dad is from Wellington and is a ’canes fan) or to be loyal to his district and support the Chiefs. The yellow and black fits with both. Plus, he now has his idol, Richie, in a massive painting in his room,” says Mel.
“Landscaping is absolutely worth investing in,” says John. “It’s worth every penny to get a quality result.” The couple were keen to create several different outdoor zones that felt good and wanted low-maintenance landscaping that worked for both children and dogs.
Gabion walls were used to create terraces, timber was chosen for the distinctive fencing. “The thinking behind the fence was to create an area where the kids knew their boundary, but it was still open, so we came up with the idea of posts at different levels and diameters,” says Mel. “We also left a gap big enough to future-proof for boat storage. It creates a talking point for sure and definitely adds character.”
Our piece of paradise
This home is the product of a long journey but the Kaczons feel sure it will carry them through to the next phase and beyond.
“We have been in our home for close to two years and there is nothing we have found yet that we wish we had done better,” says Mel. “We have had many happy occasions when the house has been bursting at the seams – it has been so fun having family and friends around. Even the view is more than we bargained for! We just loving coming home at night to our piece of paradise.”
Words by: Monique Balvert-O’Connor. Photography by: Rachel Dobbs.