The Block NZ 2012 winner Ben Crawford and his girlfriend Kylie are building their dream home. Share their proud moments and pitfalls here every week.

During the week I received a text from our builders: "next time you build a house, can you do it in summer?" It brought a smile to my face because you'd easily be forgiven for thinking it's still winter despite tomorrow being the first day of December.

How wet has November been in Auckland? Well, let me tell you. Very. I run most mornings before heading into the office and during winter I was caught in the rain just a handful of times. But I've returned home drenched after virtually every run these past weeks.

The wet weather hasn't stopped my morning runs but it's been delaying progress on our build as we struggle to get the living room side of the house out of the ground. Every time the guys are set to move in, dig the footings and start building our retaining walls, down comes the rain. It's incredibly frustrating.

I've never been so preoccupied with the weather. Like most Kiwi guys I usually keep
an eye on the forecast and have a decent handle on what the coming few days will be like, but building a house has taken this to a whole new level.

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For example, on Monday morning I found myself refreshing the rain radar every 10 minutes in the futile hope that the giant thunderstorms overhead would pass quickly enough to enable the contractors to get on site and do what they had to do. Alas, they didn't.

So what has happened over the past week? Apart from the stream looking glorious in full flow, absolutely nothing. The weather has been dreadful. So rather than linger on this less-than-ideal curveball Mother Nature has been throwing our way, I thought I'd share our grand ideas for our kitchen.

It's often said that the kitchen is the heart of a home and we couldn't agree more. Kylie and I want our kitchen to be a social hub for our guests and ourselves, a place where we never feel removed from the goings on in the rest of the house and one where we can have breakfast together in the mornings, cook dinner together in the evenings and host awesome dinner parties all year round.

We love Scandinavian design, in particular the fresh palette, clean lines and natural materials those dapper Scandis use so liberally. That means we're using lots of blonded timber, raw concrete, stone tiles and plenty of white to contrast against our dark aluminum joinery.

And the kitchen will be where this marriage of materials comes together in the most visible way, setting the style for the entire home.

Like the rest of the house, Kylie and I pulled out our pencils and set about designing a kitchen for ourselves. We settled on a final plan drawn perfectly to scale by Kylie, right down to the minutest detail, including the contents of each drawer.

Watch episode eight of Kylie and Ben's Brave New Build here:

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The Block NZ 2012 winner Ben Crawford and his girlfriend Kylie are building their dream home. Share their proud moments and pitfalls every week.

Apart from adhering to the golden rule of creating a "work triangle", achieving perfect and uncluttered symmetry drove the rest of our kitchen design decisions, ultimately striving to hide everything cleanly behind seamless timber cabinetry that mirrors itself perfectly between left and right.

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The end result is big and beautiful with a 5m-long workbench and adjacent 3m-long island, all made from well sealed, natural concrete. Combined with blonded timber cabinets and geometric marble splash back, the food won't be the only thing we'll find ourselves drooling over in the kitchen.

Then we started our hunt for a manufacturer. We wanted a company that could also make custom vanities, wardrobes, internal doors and other bespoke furniture to ensure a seamless flow through the house with a consistency of style and materials.

After a lot of research and poor experiences with potential suppliers, we found DL Cabinetmaking. Within minutes of submitting a query through its website owner Dean Lucas was on the phone and invited us to his East Tamaki factory.


DL Cabinetmaking owner and craftsman Dean Lucas in action making a custom kitchen. Photo / Ben Crawford

Dean Lucas owner of DL Cabinetmaking discussing options for the kitchen with Kylie in his East Tamaki factory. Photo / Ben Crawford

Kylie and I got on with Dean instantly as he immediately grasped our overall concept for the house. After 90 minutes of thrashing out our plans, validating our designs, then fine-tuning them through Dean's expert eye, we knew we'd found our guy.

Someone we can happily trust to bring our beautiful kitchen and other custom features to life. Cheers to that!


Kylie and Ben were invited to visit the DL Cabinetmaking factory in East Tamaki - 90 minutes later they knew they had found the perfect company to make their custom kitchen. Photo / Ben Crawford
• 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".