A heritage-style dwelling in Napier made from salvaged and recycled materials has a lot of stories to tell in a history much shorter than appearances might suggest.
The 1900s style bungalow now up for sale in the suburb of Jervoistown was made from native totara and matai rescued following a major bushfire, along with fittings purchased from a soon-to-be-demolished historic home and excavated swamp kauri
The home was built in 2002 by husband-and-wife couple Sandy and Lynnaire Hampton using rescued, salvaged, and recycled wood from throughout New Zealand.
Former logging manager Sandy said matai and totara for the home was sourced from a Hawke's Bay farming station which suffered a sizeable fire in the mid-1990s and saw large swathes of the native trees felled and rolled down valleys in an attempt to limit the spread of the blaze.
Sandy found dozens of trunks buried beneath a layer of mud and feared they would eventually rot away.
He bought a hefty chainsaw, and, with the help of a fellow native-timber lover, began uncovering the submerged lumber treasure before splitting about 100 tonnes of near faultless trunks.
"I had no idea what I was going to do with the timber. I just knew that it had to be saved. As time went by, a plan emerged," Sandy said.
He and Lynnaire found a block of land in Jervoistown with an 1800s cottage on the front portion which they negotiated to buy from the Catholic Church as the site for their build.
Sandy said they drove around the South Island taking photos of 1800s and 1900s vintage homes for inspiration before eventually procuring windows, all the doors, all the brass fittings, and the bevelled glass windows from a building due to be demolished in Māori Hill, Dunedin.
"I spent a year scraping back all these doors and windows to get them to a natural state," Sandy said.
He bought a portable sawmill from a local farmer and began processing the timber to be used for the home's floors, weatherboards, and ceiling panels.
The house was built to hand-drawn plans crafted by renowned architect Bert Lincoln, who even dictated the cutting plans for all of the timber required for the complete build.
Some 12,500 bricks were used in the construction of the home's three fireplace chimneys and the surrounding pathways came from the demolition of the historic Sunshine Breweries building in Balmoral, Napier.
Sandy and Lynnaire gave away some of their salvaged timber offcuts to a farmer from the Coromandel whose neighbour turned out to have an ancient swamp kauri burial site in his paddocks.
Sandy travelled to dig up the valuable, rich-toned kauri to use for the kitchen.
The couple eventually sold the property in 2010.
Now the 331-square-metre, four-bedroom/two-bathroom period homestead with its 8,094sq m of flat land at 153 Meeanee Road is being sold for $2.4 million.
Vaughan Wilson, New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty Napier Sales Associate, said you would not know the home was not built more than 100 years ago unless you heard the amazing story of its construction and sourcing of materials.
"The use of native wood throughout every room, combined with the high stud exposed wooden panel ceilings, is simple awe-inspiring," Wilson said.