Our house is so close to being finished we can taste it. So close, in fact, that our builders are aiming to be off site in 10 days. Then a swarm of sub-contractors will fit-out plumbing and electrical fixtures, lay flooring, install the kitchen and a variety of custom cabinetry.
It's an exciting and action-packed time of the project as everything comes together but the news that our builders would be leaving site has left Kylie and me a little sad, too.
It's a funny feeling. We want them to leave so we can move in, but the guys at Haven Renovations have become an integral part of our lives and they're our friends.
We'll miss them and I'm sure they'll miss us, especially Kylie's famous slice and cupcakes she regularly drops off to keep their energy levels up.
We've entrusted Ray, Garrick, Dan, John, Paul and Ra to build our dream home and they've excelled on every level. I've shared with you at various times the concept drawings for our house. It's not often the end product looks as good as a computer-generated model but, in this case, Haven Renovations has built a home that far exceeds the 3D renders and our expectations.
And it hasn't been an easy build, that's for sure. For starters, we've built on either side of the stream that runs through the middle of the property. Cue access challenges and boggy ground dilemmas. I forget how many times I've seen the guys up to their knees in mud trying to box out footings or gain access to the underside of the house.
To clear any risk of flooding, the house had to be built on stilts. Normally not that challenging, but we were determined to design away that stilt effect as much as possible with large cantilevered sections.
Cue significant volumes of steel, which isn't nearly as forgiving as timber.
Then we chose to build the house from prefabricated Formance SIP panels and in doing so, became the first home in Auckland to be built with this product.
Cue Haven Renovations having to embrace the new construction method with their trademark enthusiasm, becoming experts in SIP buildings along the way and the go-to builders in Auckland for the system.
In fact they have just begun another SIP home in Birkenhead Point, which we can't wait to check out.
But despite these challenges the guys have never once complained, although I know at times they must have been dreaming about building a timber-framed house on a flat concrete foundation.
However the new and different nature of the build has excited them. It has also reinforced to us their unrelenting desire for perfection, even in the most trying of environments.
The quality of the workmanship is outstanding and attention to detail is second to none.
For example, I've watched the team painstakingly clad the house in our beautiful cedar weatherboards, each board requiring cutting, oiling, pre-drilling then fixing off with bronze nails once aligned perfectly with the boards below and beside. It is this meticulous care that has given us the most amazing exterior finish.
And inside, the finishes are just as impeccable. Case in point last week when we were given a quote to prepare our floors before the timber laminate could be laid. The contractor said it was one of the smallest jobs he has had to do because the floors were so level and true.
I've taken thousands of photos during the build and I often look back to the before shots and compare them to how the property now looks. It's incredible to think the house standing where overgrowth once stood has been built by hand by a team of guys committed to bringing our dreams to life.
Piece by piece, day by day, they have been unrelenting in their progress, even when we wondered whether the day would ever come when we would be able to move in.
People always ask us if we would recommend our builders. Without a doubt we would and we do.
This is my second experience of working with Haven Renovations. The first time we won The Block NZ together, and this time around Kylie and I are the winners, because we will have the most incredible home to begin our family in.
Thank you, guys. You truly are dream builders. We'll miss you.
• Find out more about Ben and Kylie's dream home at ourdreamhome.co.nz
For more information on the Kiwibank First Home Buyer's Guide visit: kiwibank.co.nz and search for "first home".