The very essence of our design is about trying to incorporate the natural environment as much as possible into our home. One of the most appealing aspects of our section is the native trees that envelop the rear of the site. You can sit among the bush and hear nothing but the wind through the foliage and a chorus of birdsong, making it impossible to believe that suburban Auckland is just a few hundred metres away.
We decided we were going to bring this magical utopian vibe into the house by incorporating as many windows and doors as possible. Our exterior design forms a bunker-like appearance from the drive to provide us with privacy. It's the opposite once inside, where many of the walls are virtually transparent to create the illusion of living in
To accomplish this we're proposing to install a giant set of stacking doors at the rear of the living area, allowing us to slide the entire wall away. Then in our master bedroom, which is nestled under the bush canopy, we hope to have two glass walls so we can lie in bed among the trees, along with a matching glass wall in the en suite to provide the feeling of showering outdoors.
We'd drawn these ideas into our plans, along with countless more, but weren't sure if they were feasible or even practical, so we decided we needed to chat with a manufacturer sooner than later. While doing The Block NZ I had a great experience with Fletcher Window and Door Systems. I still had the contact details of Ronnie Pocock from Fletchers who we dealt with during the show, so I gave him a call.
Ronnie was stoked to hear from us and loved the design Kylie and I had come up with. He arranged for us to meet the Rylock Auckland team at their Albany showroom, as our ambitious ideas definitely needed discussing. We were warmly greeted by owner Peter Bilcich with one of those handshakes that instantly announce you're dealing with a good bugger. And we weren't disappointed.
The discussion began with the principles of deflection as that would guide our available choices of joinery and determine whether we could achieve such open expanses of glass.
As we were to learn, deflection is related to wind and the physical size of the window or door opening. The more wind or the larger the opening, the more the joinery can twist. So if you live in a high wind zone or want large glass panels like us, you need sturdier joinery to keep deflection within the required limits.
Peter showed us an array of options and let us test them. Our favourite was the Atlantic Suite because of its great looking, rectangular forms. It is also Rylock's highest performing range, capable of reaching more than 3.2m in height even in extreme wind zones, far in excess of our 2.4m stud and low wind area.
The highlight for me was trying out the giant Eurostacker doors, as these beauties would bring to life our vision for the "disappearing" rear wall in our living area. It was amazing how effortlessly the full-height panels slid into a cavity, keeping the opening free.
Then Peter topped off our visit when he told us about its brand new innovation - the level step sill. If we used it we wouldn't need a raised step for the door to run along, meaning we could have a perfectly flush transition between inside and out. Yes, please. We'll have one of those!
Standing there using these doors was the first time we were able to tangibly feel what it would be like to live in a home that, until that point, only existed on paper and in our heads. It was awesome. Plus it was exciting to know our ideas were achievable, although Peter still had to confirm some aspects once we sent him our detailed plans.
With hands full of joinery colour swatches to match to our cedar cladding, and heads spinning with the decisions we still needed to make, we left Peter and his team in high spirits as we were confident that this aspect of our home was in the best possible hands and our dream was one step closer to reality.
• Find out more about Ben and Kylie's dream home at ourdreamhome.co.nz.
On the hunt for a home
That vision of a home is really starting to take shape for Ben & Kylie, what about yours? If you've figured out what's important to you and have a clear idea of the kind of house you want to buy, it's time to face the financials.
Kiwibank's mortgage calculators are a good place to start. You can use them to figure out how much you can afford to borrow and what your repayments will be. Knowing what you can spend will help you get to the fun part of actually finding a house!
Kiwibank's Home Hunter app for iPhone and Android has everything you need to find a home. You can search for houses, get preapproved for a loan and see Kiwibank's estimated price range and other info for the property you're interested in. You can even use the Sun Finder to see how much sun the property gets at different times of the year!
Using the right tools will help you find the house that's perfect for you.
Go to kiwibank.co.nz and searching 'mortgage calculators', or, visit homehunter.co.nz or download the app for your smartphone.
Kiwibank's mortgage calculator should be treated as a guide only. It does not take into account all of your individual circumstances and is not financial advice. Kiwibank's lending criteria, terms and conditions, interest rates, fees and charges apply to all loans.
For more information on the Kiwibank First Home Buyer's Guide visit: kiwibank.co.nz and search for "first home".