When Wanganui builder Shane Stone went to collect his award in a glitzy black tie event in Auckland on Saturday night, it was a walk he almost made wearing a hoodie and jeans.
Mr Stone and his team collected the trophy for best new home in the $350,000-$450,000 category at the Registered Master Builders Placemakers 2012 House of the Year awards at the Langham Hotel.
But he almost didn't make it to a career-defining celebration.
"When I turned up at Wanganui airport the flight had been cancelled so they bussed us through to Palmerston North. But we arrived there five minutes after the plane had taken off so we had to wait a bit longer."
He finally arrived in Auckland at 7pm but by then had missed out on receiving his gold reserve award. But he said the organisers were "dead keen for me to get to the venue".
At the hotel Mr Stone made a hurried costume change, out of his hoodie and jeans and into his flash gear, forgetting to change out of his white socks.
"Even then my tie was on crooked. I hardly had time to take my seat before they called out my name as a category winner."
He said his acceptance speech was about his eventful trip just getting to the awards evening.
He said the win was "just great" and said it represented a lot of hard work and craftsmanship by his team.
"My guys were the key to this win. It's theirs."
Mr Stone said the win meant a lot to him and his company.
"I was talking to one bloke in Auckland who had been entering the competition for years before he got to the finals so to do it at our first time is pretty special."
He said the company had a few homes on the go at the moment but expected the win would give them "a hell of a boost".
The winning house was built for Doreen and Alan Loader in Cracroft Dr in Putiki.
Mrs Loader said the "whole process had been amazing".
"We just love this house," she said.
The judges said the Loader home stood out as a "fantastic example of the simple things, done well with generosity".
They said the home featured large spacious rooms and ample living areas, as well as the three-car garage and a workshop which would be the envy of many.
"This home encompasses comfortable living with a well-appointed kitchen and pantry, three bedrooms and a study separated from the master bedroom suite.
"This is a well constructed and finished home."
For a busy Mr Stone it was back to earth yesterday getting things organised for his daughter Charlie's first birthday.
Four Wanganui builders were gold reserve finalists, all making the final shortlist of 100.
The others were Eves Construction Ltd of Ohakune, and Wanganui firms Baden Brown Builders Ltd and Able Builders Ltd.